While Malcolm Turnbull equivocates on a Clean Energy Target, he has called the electricity retailers to Canberra once again to jawbone them about electricity prices. Yet the industry keeps telling him the single factor most needed to bring electricity prices down is more investment in renewable energy, which would be facilitated by a Clean Energy Target (CET).
Whether the CET is central or not, it is what the industry believes. But Turnbull will not move until he has a report from AEMO on what the future need for ‘baseload’ power will be, which in the minds of hardcore recalcitrants within his own party, means coal-fired power, throbbing away.
The Turnbull government is expected to take its revised energy policy to the Coalition partyroom early next month with a plan to make a significant investment in cleaner coal-fired power as a counterbalance to also adopting a clean energy target.
The Australian has learned that Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are working on a compromise deal on coal that would allow them to quell internal resistance to a CET.
The conventional wisdom that gas will play an increasingly significant role in electricity supply as the market switches more towards renewables to back up that intermittent supply source, has largely gone out the window.
Now it’s a discussion of how much an opportunity gas has before it gets squeezed out of the mainstream generation market by solar/wind and storage – not on carbon emissions grounds, but on costs.
The initial stimulus for this post was an article in the AFR entitled We are at an energy crossroad (paper version) by Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute, based on a new report Powering through: how to restore confidence in the National Electricity Market and a series of articles mainly at RenewEconomy. I’ll summarise them Climate clippings style, so the story should emerge and you can follow the links for elaboration if you choose. Continue reading Energy crossroads→
Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg have now added a second myth to the earlier one that South Australia had rushed madly and blindly into renewables without thought for the consequences. They say that South Australia is now “going it alone”. Unfortunately this meme was picked up in the media, so that Philip Clark on ABC Nightlife recently had SA “going it alone” as his topic of the day (most of the comment supported SA, but no-one, not a single one, had their facts right).
The fact is that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) runs the market, calls bids for supply on a 30-minute basis, and balances supply and consumption. That is what it has done every day for years, since 1 July 2009, and will continue to do so into the future. Except that 30-minute time-slots are bound to be reviewed in the Finkel report and may end up at five. The Australian Energy Market Commission is currently considering a request for such a change. Continue reading SA power plan: intervention, not going alone→
Craig Emerson says we can get the gas we need, but is it necessary?
Craig Emerson has an article in the AFR, also on his site, suggesting that politicians need to urgently turn their minds to gas supply in east Australia. Emerson had warned them back in 2014, but they took no notice, and AEMO assured everyone there was no problem.
Frank Jotzo recently pointed out that if we are to meet our Paris commitments of keeping global temperature rise below 2C we will need to close about one coal-fired power station every year. I believe we have 24.
On Monday this week energy and climate minister Josh Frydenberg suggested that an emissions intensity trading scheme for the electricity industry to help manage the transition to lower-emissions energy sources might be considered in the context of the Coalition’s reconsideration of climate change policy. A mere 33 hours later Turnbull killed off the option. It looked too much like a carbon tax, and the extreme right of the coalition gave it the thumbs down.
And so Turnbull is left looking like a coward. Frydenberg floated looking at something – not actually doing it, just considering it. The right said no thank you. Turnbull ruled it out. We’ve seen this show so many times now.
are detailed, professionally modelled and far more forward looking and sophisticated than anything so far produced by traditional Australian electricity consultants such as Jacobs, Frontier, IES, Ernst & Young or ACIL Allen.
Leitch, the principal of ITK says in their view:
Australia is being held back, in part, because consultants in Australia provide advice to federal and state governments based on expensive models that are basically out of date. The models don’t, and in fact can’t, take an integrated (whole of system) view.
Greg Hunt, a man clearly in a muddle, went in hard, as reported by Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy:
In an opinion piece written for the Australian Financial Review, and reported as the front page lead “SA blackout could have been avoided” – Hunt claimed that a coal-fired generator could have kept the lights on in Olympic Dam and Whyalla and avoided much of the damage, and he also chastised the states for chasing unrealistic targets.