RET carbon spending reaches crescendo

Whenever a businessman, and in many cases an environmentalist, recommends the on-going subsidy for renewables it almost always means someone with a vested interest in forcing consumers or taxpayers to pay for something that is not in their interest.

So it is with the Renewable Energy Target.  Today The Australian has a piece by Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group which calls, on behalf of its members,  for even longer contracts to provide the 60% plus subsidy that renewables need. He laments that “uncertainty could strangle investments” without pondering the fact that these investments are of negative value.  Mr Willox tries to flavour his rentseeking by also seeking to have the bans on unconventional gas overturned. 

A far more edifying Australian piece is by Senator Leyonhjelm, headed Ditch the RET to set economy free.   The Lib Dem Senator cites evidence that the scheme  costs the economy $29 billion and adds

The net effect of this subsidy is to hand an additional $17bn of our money to these companies over 15 years for no measurable environmental benefit.

It is undisputed that despite being a mature technology the wind generation industry is not viable anywhere in the world without government or customer subsidies. It is just government- mandated corporate welfare.

Grant King, chief executive of Origin Energy, one of Australia’s largest electricity retailers with extensive interests in gas and wind energy generation, has said that the RET would be the main driver of electricity price rises by 2020 and that renewable energy costs now accounted for 14 per cent of electricity bills, up from 2 per cent five years ago; for larger users it is 30 per cent of their bills.

If Labor, the Greens and Clive Palmer really care for social justice they will not allow working families, pensioners and the disadvantaged to be ripped off by wealthy wind generators and will back the abolition of the RET.

I have a few pieces in the past weeks (here, here and here) addressing the renewable scam. 

Meanwhile Dick Warburton’s RET review has submitted its report.  According to the AFR’s Mark Ludlow its options offered are “keeping the target in its current state; move to a 30 per cent target by 2030, move to a “real” 20 per cent target, wind back with a grandfather clause or abolish the scheme altogether.”

Sid Maher in The Australian sees a way out as being a freeze on new subsidised facilities.  There is provision for the Industry Minister to take such a course without the Parliament being able to disallow.  But it would amount to a grandfathering of existing facilities and no new ones being built.  Although it would stop the cancer spreading it would impose a cost to consumers and benefit to the rentseekers of between $6 and $13 billion.  It would still contribute to Australia having among the highest electricity costs instead of the lowest before the climate change madness took shape. 

The appropriate policy option is to abolish the scheme and all payments accruing to the spivs and conmen who lobbied for it. and who have been richly rewarded at the expense of the consumer and industry competitiveness.

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43 Responses to RET carbon spending reaches crescendo

  1. JohnA

    He laments that “uncertainty could strangle investments” without pondering the fact that these investments are of negative value.

    The poor man can’t think straight. He contradicts himself from one sentence to the next.

    There is NO uncertainty regarding these investments: they are simply loss-makers without government subsidy.

    And the very fact that he is writing to preserve the subsidies, establishes that there is no uncertainty about these investments even now; they are not worth a red cent, a brass razoo or a bent penny.

    Shut. Them. Down.

  2. Blogstrop

    The damage done to our economy by climate alarmism and all that has arisen from it is immense, and still happening. It could, not have happened without the constant trumpeting of false information by the bulk of the media, and by Rudd, Garnaut, Greens, then other assorted Labor luminaries.
    When will this thing be put to rest?

  3. ar

    forcing consumers or taxpayers to pay for something that is not in their interest

    That’s probably tautologous…

  4. Alfonso

    “uncertainty could strangle investments”
    Excellent, excellent. Bring on the uncertainty.
    Business looks at a subsidy as revenue from suckers.
    Business has no more honour or integrity than Unions.

  5. Blogstrop

    I should have added to that list various academics, alleged climate scientists, and even elements of our formerly trusted CSIRO and BOM.

  6. manalive

    If Labor, the Greens and Clive Palmer really care for social justice they will not allow working families, pensioners and the disadvantaged to be ripped off by wealthy wind generators and will back the abolition of the RET …

    As a lefty of sorts from way back, nothing exemplifies the transposition of the Left-Right dichotomy more clearly than the CAGW nonsense and its lucrative spinoffs.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    The net effect of this subsidy is to hand an additional $17bn of our money to these companies over 15 years for no measurable environmental benefit.

    Especially wind operators. They commit significant environmental damage.

    They should be very wary investing, since all that would be required for them to be wiped out is for the same penalties to be levied on them as for other industries. Indeed the only reason they exist is because of the hypocrisy of the environmentalists – who could have prevented them from ever starting by opposing the dreadful environmental damage they cause to wildlife.

    All it would take is a small change in political will and they’d be bankrupted by fines. No contract can stand against illegal behaviour.

  8. john constantine

    Avoiding contract difficulties by simply enforcing existing laws?

    No new wind turbine shall be immune from paying the fines for bird murder?. [for a start] The fines to go towards ‘habitat sustainability projects’.

    how could the swampies object?.

  9. Bob

    As atmospheric CO2 content is rising but temperatures are not, why on earth is the RET scheme allowed to exist beyond COB today?

    The RET scheme is not the only result of Green insanity. Queensland’s Wivenhoe dam began filling when global warming/no more rain hysteria was at its height. The engineers delayed releasing the excess until very late in the piece and extensive and costly flooding occurred.

    In part, were they motivated to husband the water until it reached a dangerous level because of the no more rain hysteria? I suspect the answer is yes.

  10. Watching It Unfold

    Wow – the AIG wants certainty for investments…..spare me. Didn’t the AIG champion the CPRS? ‘Certainty’, that’s what Gillard wanted, wonder if she got it.

  11. Rabz

    There is no logical argument for retaining the RET. But then, there was no logical argument for introducing it in the first place (thanks, Howard).

    That the new government is refusing to remove the RET is yet more evidence (as if any more is needed) of how unfit they are to govern.

    P.S. Hi Alan – great to see you haven’t been exiled from the Cat.

  12. Rabz

    ‘Certainty’, that’s what Gillard wanted

    Pronounced (in that excruciating fingernails down a blackboard nasal monodrone) “cerdaindy”.

  13. Some good news:

    We have centuries of good black Permian coal from the Sydney-Gunnedah basin to help dismantle and cart away the alternative trash.

    It’s the same superb resource which was squandered (in aging facilities in the case of Oz) to manufacture and supplement those medieval piles of junk.

    Are there any adults left? Hello? Adults?

  14. As I intimated last Sunday—too subtly, perhaps—Alan Moran’s assuete description of things reaching a crescendo is catachrestic, and really ought to be diminuendo.

  15. Bruce of Newcastle

    Are there any adults left? Hello? Adults?

    No.

    Sydney University creates waves with investment ban on coal

    My old uni too. I’m embarrassed.

  16. cohenite

    Another good article by Alan; is anyone in government listening? I rather think not; the meme of AGW still has currency and that being the case any remedy such as offered by the grotesque RET will also have its gangrenous foot in the door.

    It is interesting to suppose if AGW is accepted as being a wretched and wrong idea whether the renewables can find another perch to gather Vulture-like on. What would they argue without AGW: energy diversity, energy security, economy and thrift, saving future generations, other environmental factors such as horse studs threatened by coal mines?

    These are desperate people; their business plan is a pile of shit and they’re furiously throwing garlands at the pile to disguise that fact.

  17. Stan

    Well, let’s put the freeze on now, and then gather the votes for the abolition!!!! Aaargh. Why is this so f*cking hard?!?!?! We are pouring billions down the drain for no measurable enviro benefit, even if you “believe” in global warming! It’s a f*cking no-brainer.

  18. James of the Glen

    “The appropriate policy option is to abolish the scheme and all payments accruing to the spivs and conmen who lobbied for it”.

    A most accurate and responsible conclusion, and a wonderful description of wind “farm” project staff who must rank among the most repulsive creeps ever to slither and seek out those on the same moral plane as themselves.

  19. Gab

    Sydney University creates waves with investment ban on coal

    If only there was a way to stop fossil-fueled electricity supply to Sydney Uni right now and let them have electricity supplied via sun and wind only. I’m sure they’d be well pleased.

    All emotion, no thought, that’s Syd Uni for you.

  20. Tom

    I maintain the only rational explanation for the envirofascist propaganda being parroted by Innes Willox (apart from the fact that, as an ex-Fauxfacts luvvee, he is genetically pre-disposed to mental illness on all matters pertaining to climate) is that he has RET investments that he has not declared. Always follow the money.

  21. Dr Faustus

    Mr Willox tries to flavour his rentseeking by also seeking to have the bans on unconventional gas overturned.

    Mr Willox knows that unconventional gas in Australia is a) very expensive to produce and b) commercially linked to the LNG price. The average wellhead price for CSG in Queensland will be about $7 or $8/GJ – the delivered price to industrial users would be $8 or $9/GJ on this basis. By comparison, thermal coal goes into coal fired power stations at the equivalent of about $2.50/GJ.

    Gas-fired electricity generation at unconventional gas prices would make the RET subsidised electricity price look quite reasonable. Mr Willox is flavouring his rentseeking with rentseeking.

  22. Bear Necessities

    Isn’t Bandana Boy on the Sydney Uni Council?

    Explains alot.

  23. cohenite

    Isn’t Bandana Boy on the Sydney Uni Council?

    Explains alot.

    It sure does.

  24. Elwood

    Even if the RET survives with the help of the Litter in the Senate, Renewballs industry has been seriously wounded in Oz. Few will want to invest in a business where a change of government policy would wipe you out. (Until very recently Renewballs just didn’t understand that any government might ever want to cut their subsidies).

  25. Giorgio

    Increasing the cost of power will make it cheaper? Something that cost $1 before the krudster ,jooliar and brownie stuffed things up ,niw costs $ 10.50 ,with increased efficiency we will reduce the cost to $10.49! We should all be gratefull to socialism,for all tge benefits they have given us,Huge Debt,High Power prices,Higher Taxes,muslim dominance,the great kev and jooliar the shrew.just looking at the useless Bastards makes me sick.

  26. .

    The appropriate policy option is to abolish the scheme and all payments accruing to the spivs and conmen who lobbied for it. and who have been richly rewarded at the expense of the consumer and industry competitiveness.

    Absolutely correct.

    Not only should have we abolished the carbon tax and MRRT too, we should have abolished the PRRT as well, along with excise taxes.

    If planning regs. on nuke and hydro were to go as well, energy costs would tumble and the economy would boom, taxpayers would receive savings and carbon emissions…would fall anyway.

  27. Ant

    I have another option:

    Throw all the thieving, carpetbagging, rentseeking, robber-baron, lying scamsters in jail after charging, trying and convicting them and seizing all the assets they gained from criminal deception and defrauding the country.

    This kind of thing is known to discourage racketeering.

  28. Diogenes

    Gab #1430887, posted on August 27, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Sadly this can’t work …I rang my electricty provider to see if I could prevent of any of that expensive renewable energy reaching my property (and so reduce my bills) , I stated I only wanted good old fashioned coal power. They said alack and alas they could not do so (electricity is electricity).

    What is particularly galling is that when energy providers were “selling” green power via an extra impost there was a miniscule take up (much like paying for offsets when flying) indicating the real public support for renewables (its amazing what people will say when surveyed with a Likert scale – and how they would answer if the question was put with a modified Likert that had $$$s as the scale – would you support a 20% target -if this cost you an extra $100 a year , $200 etc etc)

  29. Ed Snack

    Actually Wind generation can be cost effective in selected places in specific circumstances. One of the best examples is next door in NZ where some wind farms (unsubsidized) can pay there way. The key is to have a significant Hydro component in the power supply equation; hydro can be managed to conserve water on the same variability scale as wind generation. Add in specific locations with a relatively high and consistent wind flow (gaps in ranges are often good for this) and some wind generation can make sense.

    Haven’t seen any reporting though on bird “collateral damage”, there’s effectively no bats to be affected (native species are very rare and very localized)

    That’s not to imply that any old windfarm is worth the effort, but that in carefully defined circumstances the industry isn’t totally worthless.

  30. .

    Yes that’s true. But in that case, the private sector would be willing to foot the bill.

  31. Ed Snack

    ., in NZ they do, although majority of generation is majority government owned, uses the SOE (State Owned Enterprise) model. So in theory the government can instruct companies to invest in a pattern otherwise uneconomic. And no doubt the carbon levy (small) has an impact.

    I think the key is the hydro dominated generation, hydro can be throttled and controlled on the same time scales as wind generation varies, so grid stability is less of an issue; and the relatively high utilization from the good site selection means that the economic return is there.

    Yet to be really tested is the longevity and long-term maintenance costs; but the idea is that absent subsidies, there are conditions under which wind generation can be deployed successfully. I can (sometimes) see the point for introductory subsidies for a technology, proving trials and the like, but long term subsidies are absolutely a sign of ideological or crony capture.

  32. JohnA

    Gab #1430887, posted on August 27, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Sydney University creates waves with investment ban on coal

    If only there was a way to stop fossil-fueled electricity supply to Sydney Uni right now and let them have electricity supplied via sun and wind only. I’m sure they’d be well pleased.

    All emotion, no thought, that’s Syd Uni for you.

    Couldn’t they also use their self-generated wave power? :-)

  33. AP

    Is that what they call “science” nowadays?

  34. OldOzzie

    Vote in this poll

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/powering-australia/poll

    The numbers so far frighten me that there are so many idiots in Australia

  35. .

    We ought to agitate to abolish the PRRT. Who doesn’t want a well paying job in gas and mining!?

  36. Yeah, and whilst were at it, let’s get rid of the diesel fuel rebate and at the same time the spivs and conmen who lobbied for it and who have been richly rewarded at the expense of the consumer and industry competitiveness.

    The fuel tax credit scheme is a subsidy that will shortly pass A$6 billion per year. Fuel excise has nothing to do with road construction and there are very good economic reasons for taxing diesel use. It’s time that this privileged group of businesses be taxed the same as everyone else.

  37. Aristogeiton

    1735099
    #1431108, posted on August 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm
    Yeah, and whilst were at it, let’s get rid of the diesel fuel rebate

    How about we get rid of the fuel tax?

  38. .

    1735099
    #1431108, posted on August 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm
    Yeah, and whilst were at it, let’s get rid of the diesel fuel rebate and at the same time the spivs and conmen who lobbied for it and who have been richly rewarded at the expense of the consumer and industry competitiveness.

    Aristo is right.

    No fuel tax, no need for the rebate.

    We should get rid of the PRRT. We’re literally throwing away jobs and stopping ourselves from becoming newly prosperous on a new export boom.

  39. the most repulsive creeps ever to slither and seek out those on the same moral plane as themselves.

    That would be James of the Glen slithering on that particular “moral plane”.

    It takes a very special kind of repulsive creep to claim that an ex-serviceman is an imposter, and then fail to apologize when the lie is exposed.

  40. Andrew

    If only there was a way to stop fossil-fueled electricity supply to Sydney Uni right now and let them have electricity supplied via sun and wind only. I’m sure they’d be well pleased.

    They’re working on it. Owning their own wind farms, for example.

    The most “progressive” (sic) warmie alarmist Gillard-worshipping captive of every ecoloon-Marxist thought bubble ever inflicted in the last 6 years used to work at SydU.

    This rabid nutjob, way left of Sarah Sea-Patrol got bullied out of his job at SydU by the local Greenfilth for not being Green / progressive ENOUGH to fit in with the culture there!

  41. Yohan

    A few days ago Fairfax or maybe the ABC ran a big piece (with all the usual suspects like Milne and SHY) claiming that those who oppose the RET only do it because they are looking after big coal, and more interestingly they are convinced consumers will pay higher energy prices.

    You got that? By forcing your power utility to purchase more expensive renewable energy, means your power bill will be lower than otherwise it would be without the RET. This is how the progressive left does their economics, in a fantasy land.

  42. Crossie

    the meme of AGW still has currency

    Only in the business world, academia, media and government. Ordinary people have had a gutful of it, ridiculing it every chance they get. That poll in the Australian proves it as that newspaper is read mostly by the listed groups.

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