Thomas Barlow in The Australian
The industrial revolution replaced wind power with coal power, it led to a dramatic increase in energy consumption and it enabled industry to produce manufactured goods at massively higher volumes and at drastically lower prices than was previously the case.
Contrast this with the outcomes from Australia’s proposed clean energy future. Our little revolution here seeks to replace coal power with wind power, its overt intention is to decrease energy consumption and it can only increase the cost of manufactured goods. The debate today is entirely about who should pay for it.
There is another important difference too. The industrial revolution was a commercial phenomenon. Practical people in private employment made the great inventions of the 18th and 19th centuries, and their ideas were implemented by businessmen who realised the potential for providing human wants on a mass scale.
By comparison, Australia’s new clean energy future is a political phenomenon. The transformation promoted in the government’s advertisements is entirely a creation of policy-makers and intellectuals: in other words, of impractical people for the most part working in pubic employment.