Renewable Energy and the Carbon Tax: Government and Coalition Both Half Wrong

Carbon issues are seeing some anomalous policy statements on the part of the Government and the Opposition.

The Government is endorsing its carbon tax while expressing misgivings about the Renewable Energy Target which requires 20 per cent (perhaps as much as 28 per cent) of electricity to be sourced from renewables at over twice the cost of electricity from fossil fueled plants.

The Opposition, appears to be moving in the opposite direction in praising the appalling renewables policy while condemning the carbon tax.

The government’s remodeled Euro-linked carbon tax received an endorsement on party lines in the Senate this week. This offers economic aid to the EU while halving the “price on carbon” three years hence.  The Opposition minority report was however adamantly against the scheme and expressed similar views to the IPA recommendation, that the Senate “reject the current proposals and seek a non-political examination of the present policies, their costs, and any useful benefits they might entail. Illuminating these costs would be a meaningful step in allowing the Parliament to conclude that the harm they cause is considerable.”

Fissures in the other arm of the policy have come most notably from Labor’s chief whip and former energy minister and Hunter Valley MP, Joel Fitzgibbon.   He has called on his colleagues to cut the renewables target “to give households relief from rising electricity prices”. In a statement that must surely have been more than just a thought bubble he said he was even tempted, “ to call for completely doing away with the RET to make up 20 per cent of electricity production by 2020 but didn’t want to create uncertainty for business”.

In a couple of sentences that could have come straight out of the IPA library he says, “Fossil-fuel-rich Australia is now seeking to source one-quarter at least of its energy consumption from renewable sources. Of course, it is our abundance of fossil fuels which in part makes us economically competitive.”

This comes as the “independent” Climate Change Authority (membership including Bernie Fraser, John Quiggin, Heather Ridout, Clive Hamilton and David Karoly – say no more!) has recommended the continuation of the money wasting and competitiveness crushing RET scam.  Even this mob, using very conservative assumptions, recognises that the RET adds $65 a year to the average household’s bill and does nothing to reduce the satanic greenhouse gases.   And this month the Labor Party’s taxpayer financed “think tank” the Grattan Institute, which previously was calling for long-term contracts for renewable energy, argued that the measure has no place given the carbon tax, and should be repealed.

Furthermore, leveraging off a report by financial regulators on instability that could result from Over the Counter trading generally, Australian Energy Market Commission chairman John Pierce, has warned that renewable energy requirements can destabilize the energy market.  Mr Pierce, who is a well regarded apolitical professional but with strong ALP links, says because inherently unreliable renewable energy earns most of its revenue from a subsidy and is bid into the market at zero it depresses the wholesale price, which, “can result in deferral of new investment which may be necessary to maintain reliability of supply,”

Unfortunately the Coalition spokesmen have not got the message.  A joint statement by Greg Hunt and Ian MacFarlane last week supported the continuation of the RET scam with the absurdly false statement, “The Carbon Tax’s contribution to increased power bills is 30 times the cost of the RET”.

Energy policy, which as Joel Fitzgibbon now says, is crucial to Australian industry competitiveness, remains a plaything of the dirigistes socialistic activists on both sides of the Parliamentary divide.

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20 Responses to Renewable Energy and the Carbon Tax: Government and Coalition Both Half Wrong

  1. brc

    Seriously, when are the parties going to actually go out into voter land and poll people on whether they want any of this crap at all?

    I honestly believe the first party to dump all ‘carbon’ policies will be winner takes all. It’s one of those things that nobody believes in but everyone pretends they do, because its’ a social taboo to say otherwise.

    Outside of a tiny group of irretrievably stupid individuals who believe in this stuff on a religious level, everyone else are rational people who, presented with the facts, would choose to have cheaper energy and more prosperity over futile gestures.

  2. cohenite

    The RET relies on the science of AGW; that science is fucked, dead in the water, revealed to be the absolute fraud that it is; given that there is only one criteria for RET; and that is whether it works and at what cost.

    And that is that because the renewables DO NOT WORK.

    They do not work because they are intermittent, not energy dense and have inherent limitations such as Betz law and Quantum efficiency.

    All power sources have an installed capacity [IC] which is the electricity they produce if capable of working 24/7; fossils and nuclear can do this, only stopping for maintainence and even then the replacement turbines can step in.

    Then there is the capacity factor [CF] which is the actual electricity produced as a % of the IC; with fossils the CF is effectively 100%; with wind and solar it is between 20-30%, world wide.

    But the problem is not that the CF is such a low % of the IC; the problem is that the CF is an AVERAGE of a period such as a quarter or a year.

    From moment to moment there is no ability of wind or solar to provide electricity. This is revealed in Quirk’s analysis of wind power.

    Table 1 and the 90% reliability point from the Quirk paper shows that the capacity factor output only has a very low chance of occuring at any one time; for instance, Cullerin Range has an installed capacity factor of 30MW, a capacity factor of 34% or 10.2MW; but the probability of that 10.2MW occuring at any one time to a 90% certainty is 3%.

    In other words it is fucking useless.

    It is beyond belief that the coalition persist with this RET bullshit given that renewables do not work and the basic reason for even considering renewables, AGW, has been disproved.

  3. jupes

    Greg Hunt should be replaced by Cory Bernardi.

  4. Sinclair Davidson

    Forester – the devil would be in the ‘Full Cost Accounting’ requirement. If government doesn’t have the competence to address climate change it isn’t clear how government could then set an accounting standard to do the same thing.

  5. cohenite

    The LDP acknowledges that there is some evidence to suggest a trend towards global warming and the possibility that humans may be partly responsible.

    What evidence?

  6. Bruce

    THE Australian Greens say federal Labor’s chief whip Joel Fitzgibbon needs to “back off” from his attacks on the renewable energy target (RET).

    Yay! Thanks to Adam Bandt the ALP will now repeal the RET. We know this is true as the ALP has resolved not to be led by the Greens in policy.

    The ALP has seen the light on the hill and it is gangrenous green.

  7. .

    some…maybe…don’t worry, we are pro nuke. If you cost “some” and “maybe” you’d end up cutting fuel excise, that’s all.

  8. Sleetmute

    Too true Alan. Arguably the RET does more harm than the carbon tax. The latter is basically a wealth redistributor, which harms incentives and efficiency a bit on the way. The former is forcing a complete waste of our resources into a totally uneconomic form of power generation.

  9. Alan Moran

    Too true. And because the RET means income funelled straight back to unworthy beneficiaries, it creates a far more potent lobbying base, one that is seriously distorting political platforms. Unfortunatley at least one coalition backbencher appears to have got into the trenches today and promoted the RET.

  10. Pingback: Errors in IPCC climate science » Blog Archive » Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon not enthusiastic about sacred cow green energy targets

  11. Sleetmute

    Yeah, Alan Tudge. Student Union president during my uni days. Perhaps not a bad strategy (if deliberate) to get a backbencher to defend a bad policy, because it’s easier to go back on the word of a backbencher than, say, perhaps, a Prime Minister… or maybe it’s not…

  12. Dr Faustus

    Not sure why it now seems remarkable that the Coalition is supporting the RET. John Howard introduced the RET’s precursor, the lyrically named MRET, in 2001 – and the current Liberal Direct Action Plan proudly boasts:

    Building on MRET, the Coalition committed to a national Clean Energy Target set at 30,000 gigawatthours a year of low-emissions electricity by 2020 production. More recently the Coalition led the push for an increase in this target to 20 per cent, resisting Labor’s attempt to hold this increased target hostage to the implementation of their emissions trading scheme.

    The Coalition is a broad church on climate change. Unfortunately the Direct Action Plan is exactly the sort of unrealistic bullshit policy that emerges when you try to satisfy diametrically opposed parishioners.

    brc hit the political target with the first post of the day.

  13. johanna

    The $10bn renewables slush fund should be top of the list of savings for the incoming Coalition government, when they will have to fix up the mess left by Labor.

    Abolishing the RET should be done in the first session of Parliament.

    Two micro-economic reforms as well as one fiscal reform, right there. Cutting off the money supply to parasitic industries counts as a micro-economic reform, in my book.

  14. SteveC

    Sydney’s driest three months in a decade

    After the wettest start to a year in two decades, Sydney has now endured its driest three months in a decade, according to

    There have only been 10 drier three-month spells in more than 150 years of records.

    Read more:

  15. cohenite

    There have only been 10 drier three-month spells in more than 150 years of records.

    Shock horror; and look at the trend in the BOM Australia wide exceptional rainfall events.

    AGW is Münchausen syndrome by climate proxy; in other words it’s advocates are sick little fucks with nothing wrong with them.

  16. The stupidest thing Abbott ever did on gaining leadership of the Opposition was to retain Greg Hunt in the position of environment spokesman.

    Hunt is a Turnbull ‘Warmist’ and all he has done is slightly modify his pronouncements to fit Abbott’s Opposition policy, when really what was needed was root and branch cutting of the Opposition policy.

    Abbott should have dumped Hunt and put Dennis Jensen into the job, and then dumped the entire policy.

    Its still not too late, but I can’t see it happening unfortunately.

  17. hzhousewife

    How much energy did all the NY and NJ wind turbines produce during Storm Sandy, and are any of them left standing ? I hear a lotta people can’t recharge their mobile phones……..

  18. The $10bn renewables slush fund should be top of the list of savings for the incoming Coalition government, when they will have to fix up the mess left by Labor.

    Should get nuclear power off the ground, that.

  19. Steve of Ferny Hills

    Outside of a tiny group of irretrievably stupid individuals who believe in this stuff on a religious level

    Plus the hundreds of thousands who have ‘invested’ in roof top solar panels.

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