The Finkel inquiry into the energy future got off to a bad start with its preliminary report erroneously claiming all this wind and solar we are seeing is being driven by technology and consumer demand when it is clearly a function of government regulations requiring consumers to buy exotic renewable energy at three to four times the cost of the coal fuelled supply it is replacing.
There are now scores of submissions to the inquiry that with few exceptions including that from the Australian Environment Foundation advocate even more subsidies while often claiming, as they have for thirty years, that renewables will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels. None of these advocates put their money where their mouths are and call for a dismantling of the subsidies that constitute the on-going foundation of their business viability.
The subsidy-seekers’ mouthpiece, Reneweconomy, constantly searches for Alice in Wonderland stories about how their clients are prevailing and finding new converts for the cause. The latest is the former head of Hazelwood who now says that batteries and solar are cheaper, but again not calling for the elimination of the ‘now unnecessary’ subsidies. And, of course, the aforementioned former head of Hazelwood now speaks for a renewable business he heads.
Some new insights into the costs of all this are offered by a new study undertaken by the renewable urgers at the International Energy Agency. While promoting its favoured renewable solution the IEA tells us that to meet the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emission reductions the carbon price that the developed world will have to impose is US$190 per tonne. In addition the IEA goals require regulatory measures, which it describes as, “broader and deeper global efforts on technology collaboration to facilitate low-carbon technology development and deployment”. The IEA says this “may” increase economic growth, presumably by reducing living standards to fund the higher capital requirements.
Fantasies aside, the IEA blueprint means 3-6 fold increase in the wholesale electricity cost as well as all those reliability problems that Elon Musk and other regulatory tax gatherers can’t seem to fix.
Australia has committed to the Paris Agreement in spite of Trump torpedoing it and we are persisting with the increase in renewable requirements that are driving up our prices and driving down reliability. We may have to see a catastrophe before we see genuine reform. This is especially the case as the propaganda has convinced so many people of the merits of renewable energy. Indeed this week’s Essential Report has a claim that the majority of respondents seemingly supporting the South Australian government approaches.