AGL’s proposed power station closure would ensure continued excessive electricity prices

Yesterday AGL confirmed its plans to close the Liddell coal powered electricity generator in 2022.  It did so in the face of calls from the government – even by notorious green aficionado Malcolm Turnbull – for its life to be extended.

AGL epitomises the sort of firm that Warren Buffett invests in – that is a “business any fool can run, because someday a fool will”. It has previously been managed by a fellow fresh from running a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Paul Anthony, who wiped out much of its value leaving it to now retired CEO Michael Fraser to rebuild value.  Fraser did so largely by some astute purchases of coal generators including the planned-to-be-closed Liddell.  AGL is now Australia’s largest energy supplier and on top of the 2,000 MW in Liddell it has over 6,000 MW in major fossil plant capacity (Loy Yang A, Bayswater and Torrens Island) plus other smaller fossil fuel plant and, of course, some wind generation.

Under its present management, led by American Andrew Vesey, the firm has taken the opposite tack to that adopted by his predecessor, firmly embracing the notion of wind and solar energy and lobbying for increased and longer-lived subsidies, without which that form of electricity could not be viable.  Renewable policies have been responsible for Australia losing its pole position in electricity competitiveness transforming the industry into, on some measures, one of the most expensive in the world.

At the heart of this is the boosting of the wholesale price for electricity from around $40 per MWh to north of $80 today (in addition to which wind/solar receive a subsidy from the consumer of $85 per MWh)  That price rise results from the subsidised renewables displacing cheaper coal and, in an outcome the green rent-seekers and their modelling auxiliaries assured us would not happen, bringing about the premature closure of the coal power station – most notably the Victorian Hazelwood facility.  It also has brought additional costs to compensate for the intrinsically less reliable wind/solar facilities, costs that the government recognises with its requirement for renewables to have “firming” insurance.

AGL, in its statement to the stock exchange justifying its decision to close Liddell plant showed the costs of different options.  With Liddell remaining open it maintained its “levelised cost of energy” would be $106 per MWh;  with the plant closing and its output replaced by additional generation from its remaining fossil fuels stations the cost would be $83 per MWh.  Not shown is the cost of the subsidies AGL receives for its renewables – these are $85 per MWh at present and $50 in 2022 according to the forward price curve.  In other words, the renewable power which is partly to replace the lost generation from Liddell receives between $150 and $165 per MWh.  According to work commissioned by the Minerals Council a new power station in Australia would be profitable at an energy price of under $50 per MWh.

AGL claims that it is only closing Liddell because the plant is too costly to maintain.  This is untrue – if AGL were to offer to give the plant away, there would be numerous takers but the firm’ s profit depends on the plant’s closure boosting prices throughout the market.  With 30 per cent of the nation’s generation and a strong retail position, AGL is well placed to ensure that its activities maintain the current excessive price of electricity.  Closing a key and expensive power station is essential to this and the loss of revenue from Liddell is easily recouped by the higher prices received by other power plant the firm owns or has contracted.

In using its strong market position to manipulate supply and boost its profits, AGL is exploiting and magnifying the damaging effects of renewable subsidies.  It supports its actions in a most sanctimonious manner starting with the ads where an actor impersonating a bearded lefty introduces the future of renewables with, “let’s face it! Things are changing.”

However, calling AGL a rogue firm for this role may be unfair.  Its management is, after all, only seeking to maximise shareholders’ wealth.

The upshot of AGL increased income at the expense of the nation as a whole is the clear derivative of years of subsidies to accelerate the onset of the ever receding future of low cost renewable energy.  It stems from government policies, and the Turnbull government is only maintaining a policy set by John Howard, 17 years ago (a policy Howard now says he deeply regrets).  The policy was not curtailed by Abbott, who with Australia’s accession to the 2015 Paris Agreement set the stage for its continuations but now appears to be saying he’d terminate all subsidies forthwith.  That approach is also favoured by the Lib Dems, One Nation, and the Australian Conservatives, (but not Bob Katter who’ll take any subsidy he can get).

It is five years before the scheduled Liddell closure which offers windows for policy change but if the nation is not to face almost irreparable harm to industry competitiveness early policy corrections are essential.

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78 Responses to AGL’s proposed power station closure would ensure continued excessive electricity prices

  1. John Constantine

    Our deindustrialisation is our strength.

    Try it and see if you like it.

    Comrades.

  2. John Constantine

    The services economy is our future, welfare from windmills is wealth.

  3. MPH

    Just like monopolies, market manipulation is only illegal in the private sector. The government does as they damn well please.

    AGL should be careful getting into bed with government though, it might seem like a good idea now but they will get burned in the long run – either the subsidies will evaporate or the government will insist on some sort of quid pro quo in exchange for the ‘excess profits’ earned due to playing the rules.

  4. egg_

    Teh Gummint’s made it more profitable for AGL to invest in alternate forms of Energy to coal.
    Own goal yet again, Martin Trumble.
    Leaning on AGL didn’t work?

  5. Bruce

    You mean, like:

    “Arbeit Macht Frei”?

  6. Malcolm’s legacy will be much like Obama’s.

  7. Robbo

    I have been an AGL customer for about 4 years. Not for much longer. They may appeal to the loony lefties but certainly not to me and the many thousands of others who want a reliable power source and not a lot of PC bullshit that you have to read by torchlight during an AGL inspired blackout.

  8. entropy

    AGL should be careful getting into bed with government though, it might seem like a good idea now but they will get burned in the long run – either the subsidies will evaporate or the government will insist on some sort of quid pro quo in exchange for the ‘excess profits’ earned due to playing the rules.

    The end result will be nationalisation.

    AGL shareholders won’t like that.

  9. The end result will be kerosene heaters, kerosene fridges etc
    If we are allowed to use them.
    The electricity schmozzle has no good outcomes.

  10. rickw

    So AGL reduces the assets they operate and their unit rate goes up.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  11. rickw

    Does all this mean that ultimately the price of electricity is becoming linked to the important price of diesel?

    Doesn’t imported diesel cost plus operating cost of a genset represent the upper limit of what these arseholes could extract from the market?

  12. André M.

    Just like monopolies, market manipulation is only illegal in the private sector.

    Indeed.

    What about market share caps? If competition is one of the assumptions of market capitalism, shouldn’t there be a law ensuring no company can directly or indirectly control more than 25% of the production in any market, except where niche products are covered by time-limited patent?
    Wouldn’t that type of market manipulation be beneficial to the consumer?

  13. BoyfromTottenham

    Alan, maybe AGL is closing Liddell BECAUSE it will cause electricity prices to rise, so they can reap more profit from selling more gas-powered and heavily subsidised junk solar and wind powered electricity, via the LRET that subsidises them and the NEM that allows windfall profits to be generated by them. I think of it this way: imagine for a moment that there was a 160% subsidy (as per the LRET) on the wholesale price of ‘free range’ eggs vs cage eggs, in the form of a subsidy for the lucky ‘free range’ egg producers and a ‘market’ for ‘free range egg’ certificates paid for by the egg retailers and passed on to all egg consumers. How would ‘free range’ egg producers react? By massively expending their production of course, driving down the wholesale price of all eggs. But they don’t care, because the retailers have to buy their ‘free range’ eggs, and the subsidy they get is far more than the wholesale price anyway. How would the cage egg growers react? By getting out of cage egg production and into the ‘free range’ egg business asap to avoid bankruptcy, of course! I could take this mental exercise further Alan, but I expect that you get the idea – its Econ 101. It amazes me that the mug consumer doesn’t know that they are paying for this $2+ billion a year LRET subsidy racket. But why the hell does the Trumbull government not appear to understand it?

  14. min

    Remember the background of those Involved with AGL, Greenies and ex GetUp . A few hot days in Vic and SA and the blackouts Frydenberg has warned both sides about will occur and voters will wake up. Josh was also given a wake up call in 2GB interview when caller rang up about his bill. He thought the caller ran a business and was taken aback to find no it was a household bill. He is hamstrung by States .y

  15. BoyfromTottenham

    min – I think there is an easy way for the federal govt to address this – simply set the LRET shortfall charge for non-renewable (coal, gas) generators at $0.00, rather than the $65.00 per megawatt hour at present. Then these baseload generators would not be fined $65.00 per MWH for not buying the so-called ‘clean energy’ certificates, instantly returning their profitability to where it was before the LRET became law. Unfortunately then the government (oops, Taxpayer) would be on the hook for the $2+ billion annual subsidy to ‘renewables’ generators, which might raise a few eyebrows.

  16. Alan Moran

    Boy from Tot.
    You are right of course. AGL would not be getting rid of Liddell’s 2,000 MW unless it was more profitable by dint of subsidies received on renewables and the price boost to its remaining 7000+ MW of coal, gas and wind.

  17. Snoopy

    I’m over it all. I wish for every coal-fired power station to cease operating immediately. I don’t care how.

  18. min

    Turnbull will not allow the RET to be fiddled with , so how does Josh manage this?

  19. Dr Fred Lenin

    Nationalise power and gas it’s too important to leave in the hands of green communists who infiltrated boardrooms . Legistlation that governments are not allowed to loot the profits power and gas make. Let them pay dividend like a private company .

  20. BoyfromTottenham

    Easy, min – he holds his breath and stamps his feet until Malcolm says OK! 😉 OTOH, if the LRET doesn’t get ‘fiddled with’ in some way soon, we are almost guaranteed to see more base load power closed down until …blackouts. Then TSHTF. Then something gets done, like asking a rational engineer or economist how to fix it, who will say ‘End the LRET’. Then the ‘Renewables’ generators will scream because they will lose their $2+ billion annual subsidy, which will cause them to go bankrupt. IIRC, the main lesson I learnt in Econ 101 was that subsidies were a hell of a lot easier to start than to stop. QED.

  21. Up The Workers!

    Contrary to what money-gouging shysters like A.G.L. say to the contrary, coal power is NOT too expensive; wind, solar and Carpet-Bagging Battery-power is far too OVER-SUBSIDISED.

    Have a look at the multi-million dollar salaries paid to the C.E.O.’s of all these thieving, grossly incompetent privatised utilities.

    For all the precious religious dogma about how private ALWAYS does it better and cheaper than public, I am yet to hear from anybody whose electricity, gas or water bills are less than what they were when rapacious wallet-stuffing and unconscionable money-gouging became the prime motivating factor in service provision.

    If we taxed these thieving rogues anywhere near as vigorously as they overcharge us for provision of essential services, you’d never hear the end of their squealing.

    They do it because our corrupt and rotten politicians allow them to get away with it.

  22. Dr Fred Lenin

    Cut out all subsidies for “fake energy” and see how the gangrene commos go then,soros and gore also the union mafia will be pissed pff and that’s a good thing ,love upsetting the aparat . ]][[

  23. Jonesy

    The Turnbull government must be ground to dust and bombed to hell! Bald faced enactors against the common wealth of this country.

  24. Rabz

    Yesterday AGL confirmed its plans to close the Liddell coal powered electricity generator in 2022.

    Excellent. I’ll construct some gallows next to it and then commence doing some real “business”.

    Consider yourselves warned, subsidy hoovers.

  25. Neil

    For all the precious religious dogma about how private ALWAYS does it better and cheaper than public, I am yet to hear from anybody whose electricity, gas or water bills are less than what they were when rapacious wallet-stuffing and unconscionable money-gouging became the prime motivating factor in service provision.

    Be interesting to see what the salaries were before renewables became subsidised. The auto industry received subsidies and all they did with the money was pay themselves higher wages. Subsidising renewables just distorts the market. Strange that AGL supports renewables. Must be easier to make money from renewables than produce electricity from coal

  26. BoyfromTottenham

    Up – I agree with you that the ‘renewables’ subsidies are the root cause of our whole power system problem, but I can’t understand why you are angry with the Utilities, which as far as I know have been stuck with the both the small and large RET, and worst of all the network stability problems that having to connect to intermittent, widely distributed ‘renewables’ sources cause. I believe that a lot of the utilities’ so-called ‘network gold plating’ cost are related to ameliorating the bad effects of these ‘renewables’ on their networks, rather than gouging the consumers. Sure, they are passing on the cost of all this mess, but so would any enterprise that wants to stay in business when arbitrary costs are imposed on them by government fiat. I will make one exception though – the state-owned utilities!

  27. There is a nuclear power station in Finland that over 30 years of operation has gradually been upgraded in small steps (eg in increasing pressure on turbines, better control etc) to double the original capacity of 500MW to 1000MW. It has been rerated from the official Finland government agency for energy to have an additional life of 60 years.
    Liddell not only could have an extended life but could be upgraded. One of the restraints on output is the coal coal mills which are underdesigned for the present coal and through excessive wear on the grinding parts are a major cause of downtime. I do not know about the steam turbines or the generators but these can be overhauled to as new or even replaced. A new turbine could have a life of thirty years minimum.
    However, AGL wants to make money for its investment in Wind using the safe income garanteed by the government. I would not be an investor in the company. If there was a government of sense that changed the legislation AGL will be trouble. The CEO is an incompetent businessman you has no consideration for the long term investors or the public who are customers. He is only interested in the short term profits so he can maximise his payout when he leaves for another company to fleece.

  28. herodotus

    It’s one thing to privatise, but quite another to overlay a bunch of stupid rules about renewables.
    AGL has marked itself as decidedly Enron-ish and working against the common good.
    But it’s those stupid politicians that have made the rules that make it all happen.

  29. min

    Alan ,have you spoken with Josh? He has stated that he supports Coal and Nuclear energy . My late father-in-law was Associate Commissioner for the Snowy and altho’ we have improved technology I am not sure the new hydro pumped power will be economically viable ,not that would stop Turnbull. I think the report is due soon. It is a lot of money for not much outcome.

  30. egg_

    But it’s those stupid politicians that have made the rules that make it all happen.

    Yup.
    Bad Govt is the root cause, AGL is the symptom.

  31. Boambee John

    Neil at 1702

    Be interesting to see what the salaries were before renewables became subsidised. The auto industry received subsidies and all they did with the money was pay themselves higher wages.

    Bit like increases in education spending.

    The salaries of education administrators/bureaucrats and teachers go up, the results at best remain static, but often decline.

  32. Garry

    And the self destruction of our nation continues unabated. Destruction wrought on us by both major parties and the greens. How long do you think the general population will allow this to happen? Do we sleep walk to oblivion?

  33. W Hogg

    Doesn’t imported diesel cost plus operating cost of a genset represent the upper limit of what these arseholes could extract from the market?

    For now, diesel becomes viable when they fuck it up so badly that wholesale power approaches $300/MW (about double the typical level today). BUT eventually sourcing the generators becomes the limiting factor, plus they will still bill us for grid access unless you really want to take your chances (even if allowed to by building codes).

    Then consider noise, particulates etc – councils will use enviro rules to prevent people doing this.

    Imagine how bad it’s going to be once we subsidise EVs into the mainstream, and consume double the power we do today!

  34. W Hogg

    Is that true that AGL would get takers at $0 if they gave away Liddell?

  35. min

    Turnbull and Frydenberg have both disagreed with AGL’s proposal on cost and not enough dispatch able power . Craig Kelly has also debunked it.

  36. stackja

    Mortlake is now forgotten. Naturally Moomba now just making whatever the climate provides.

  37. herodotus

    The climate scam and power system disintegration is the biggest public policy failure of our times. It’s scandalous, but has support from the largely left media and largely scientifically illiterate politicians.

  38. herodotus

    Is that true that AGL would get takers at $0 if they gave away Liddell?
    Yes, but it doesn’t fit their plan.

  39. BoyfromTottenham

    min [email protected] – the pollies can disagree all they like – AGL is a public company and has by law to make its business decisions based on what is best for its shareholders, not what the govt. would ‘like’. However, the latest crapshoot bit of govt policy ( the ‘NEG’) may allow it to interfere even more in this market and screw things up even more, so the govt ‘disagreeing’ with AGL’s proposal may be like Hungary or Poland ‘disagreeing’ with the EU over immigration policy! Wake me up when this madness has ended…

  40. Roger

    The climate scam and power system disintegration is the biggest public policy failure of our times.

    Second to mass immigration from the developing world, I’d suggest.

    Theoretically, the power system could be rebuilt, but we can never undo the social incohesion wrought by mass immigration – too many, too quickly, too few willing or able to assimilate – in just two decades.

  41. RobK

    Scrap the subsidies. AGL is responding to price signals derived directly from government policy. Government is to blame no else.

  42. RobK

    Thanks for the update Alan.

  43. Roger

    Scrap the subsidies.

    How many politicians, do you imagine, have their eye on a sinecure in the renewables “industry” post-parliament?

  44. Mr Black

    Turnbull is on board with this, regardless of his public lies.

  45. Crossie

    Charlie Brown, the tech guru on 2GB, was crowing on the radio this morning how much he was saving on electricity only a week after having his solar panels installed. I tuned in too late to hear wether he said how much he first had to shell out for the panels. I thought his monitoring system may be telling him one thing but the power company may have other ideas. He can get back to his listeners when he gets his next electricity bill.

    He didn’t mention any brand of solar panels so I suppose it does not count as an endorsement.

  46. Crossie

    The end result will be nationalisation.

    AGL shareholders won’t like that.

    Yes and when it happens I will not have any sympathy though courtesy of my super fund I may lose too.

  47. Crossie

    Turnbull will not allow the RET to be fiddled with , so how does Josh manage this?

    There are only two possibilities, Frydenberg agrees with Mal and we are being snowed. The other option is he may disagree but has been neutered and has no other option but to keep quiet. I don’t see Josh as the gutsy guy who would fight for a principle.

  48. Wake up. It is indefensible if not part of the plan. For all the huff n puff, the decisions at a strategic level are made.

  49. This is the tail of the dogma of privatisation of essential services. There is no governmental management plan

  50. min

    Well he had enough guts to dob Turnbull in for trying to bring on another ETS. This happened last December after it was brought up at Cabinet meeting and Turnbull had to come out and deny it was going to happen . Josh took himself off to the Antarctic ,it was unplanned and he had to cancel some very important long standing engagements.

  51. As it was described to me in the early 90’s in an office with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour regarding something different, ‘Fuck all that shit (when as callow punters we tried to sell the idea that there would be a benefit for consumers), if we like you and you like us we’ll make it and sell it to them’.

  52. Patents in place/ haven’t made a buck but aspects that evaded the prior art catch are out there. You are probably using something with such an element as we speak.

  53. Paul

    Presumably the Liddel property is literally worthless, the cost of removal of the power station makes it worth very little to any prospective buyer.
    You would think the right thing to do by any government would be to compulsorily acquire a useless property at market value, considering the impact of govt policy on a once formerly viable enterprise.
    That would greatly help AGL in its delimma on what to do with the plant and land.
    Oh and help govt to keep the lights on.

  54. Steve trickler.

    Something similar might happen in Australia.

    Good insights here into how a power grid works. And when things go wrong.



  55. mareeS

    We have a solid bunch of shares in AGL from way back before they spun off APT, so we have the downstream from that too. Plus banks and other nasties. AGL has always been about profit, just like the banks and big utilities.

    We always figured, if we were customers we also should be owners.

  56. NB

    All this is why I keep a close eye on my second citizenship, nurturing it lovingly.
    Pity the poor federal pollies who are giving up their chance to escape the messes they create.

  57. EvilElvis

    Keep up the fight Alan. Two things to be done,

    1. Scrap all renewable subsidies,
    2. Put a rare hardwood stick through the front spokes of that pompous, hipster fuckers AGL scooter.

    Job tidy.

  58. metro70

    AGL
    Stock price: AGL (ASX) $25.57 0.00 (0.00%)
    13 Nov., 4:10 pm AEDT – Disclaimer
    Headquarters: Sydney
    CEO: Andy Vesey
    Number of employees: 3,358 (2016)
    Revenue: 11.15 billion USD (2016)
    Subsidiaries: ActewAGL, Australian Power And Gas, MORE
    Parent organizations: State Grid Corporation of China, SP Group, SGSP (Australia) Assets Pty Ltd.

    Those parent orgs are the Chinese Communist Government & the Singapore Government future fund.

  59. Combine Dave

    The solution when dealing with superficial lefties rotting the system is to go full leftard and punish them.

    In this case cutting all subsidies and nationalising the national energy market.

    (Later the numerous coal stations built by the state to ensure cheap supply can be privatised and sold to Chinese management companies to avoid any further cases of green madness).

  60. Combine Dave

    Paul
    #2581188, posted on December 10, 2017 at 8:51 pm
    Presumably the Liddel property is literally worthless, the cost of removal of the power station makes it worth very little to any prospective buyer.
    You would think the right thing to do by any government would be to compulsorily acquire a useless property at market value, considering the impact of govt policy on a once formerly viable enterprise.
    That would greatly help AGL in its delimma on what to do with the plant and land.
    Oh and help govt to keep the lights on.

    The government should compulsory acquire the plant charging AGL a huge fee to decommission* it.

    * Retrofit it and sell to a Chinese company to manage directly.

  61. Kim Howard

    This is an Economics / Political blog unless I am mistaken ,
    plenty of Kats from what I have read over the years are cashed up and looking for investment .

    AGL has declared the Liddell Coal Power station redundant with its announcement .

    This little coal fired power station is hidden in the Hunter Valley .

    Given the rural property values are lets say $1 million dollars an acre and Liddell can only be on 100 or 200 acres , why can`t Jonovian`s and other like bloggers crowd fund a buy out .
    The land value is the land value , the infrastructure is apparently toxic dirty and needs to go ,so its just land value and their greenie toxic waste spin ,lets use that against them and do this crowd funding thing , buy the place update it and smash the greenies .

    I posted this on other websites and had feedback that china would buy it , what then turn it back to pasture restore the area back to farming , were talking Chinese money not US dollars .

    The leverage is there to make AGL basically hand over Liddell to a Conservative Australian Independent Australian loving new dawn no UN interruption no EU interruption no Australian Government Interruption .
    Just watching to see how you Kat`s respond 1

  62. metro70

    Boy from Tottenham…
    ….your eggs analogy describes the favored status of the intermittents in the merit order process for dispatch.

    The intermittents always win in the Merit Order because their next marginal unit of electricity is close to zero since they don’t have to buy fuel….so their very low bids always push the synchronous energy into less favored..less certain order in the stack for dispatch.
    It doesn’t bother the RE generators if there’s no sun or wind and nothing to dispatch when the time comes…because they still make their money from the RECS…subsidies …and are not penalized as FF generators would be if THEY failed to deliver as scheduled.
    RE generators get the RECS for free and coal/gas generators have to buy them from the RE GENERATORS or be deregistered…the price the gentailers pay for the RECS plus a margin for the gentailers…is the passed on to us..the consumers .

    The process marginalizes the Coal & GAS plants and damages them because they’re not suited to stop-start operations and idling most of the time.

    As the intermittents penetrate further into the NEM the FF plants become more prone to being out of service due to the intermittent support role they’re forced to fill.

    The RE CULT is trying now to con politicians…MSM and consumers into thinking that those FF plants are inherently less reliable than the intermittents that are undispatchable without firming and frequency services provided by those same synchronous FF plants.

    The RE Cult NEVER admits that its penetration into the NEM is to blame for any unreliability of the Coal plants.

    AEMO is about to begin the change to the 5 minute settlement rule which will favour batteries and disadvantage coal and gas.

    My guess is that then the subsidies that will no longer be paid to the carpetbaggers for generation will go instead to subsidise their support batteries and the huge pumped hydro build that the CULT requires.

    Either way WE”LL PAY.

    All bets might be off anyway if AEMO loses its grip on grid control as …in their words…’unfettered quantities of rooftop photovoltaics…[produce] excess energy that can’t be controlled’.

    Riesz [AEMO] notes that ‘…utility-scale storage could be fighting a losing battle against distributed generation’.
    There’s ‘no ability turn down that rooftop PV’.Riesz says.

    The reason for the frantic rush to install rooftop PV of course is that the favored status and huge subsidies paid for the intermittents have pushed grid electricity prices sky high.

    It’s reported that rooftop PV could represent a huge risk to the grid if AEMO can’t find a way to control it…and at the moment…. ‘there is no way to control rooftop PV systems’.

  63. metro70

    Alan Moran:

    Why do you pay zero respect to the context of Tony Abbott’s signing up to Paris-pretending as almost all commentators do… that it was something he WANTED to do when you know he was under attack from all quarters at the time …labelled a CAGW sceptic and pilloried for it…in a context where it had been made compulsory for an Australian leader to pretend to be a warmist or face annihilation..

    Surrounded as he was by the WETS …CAGW zealots all—who were already baying for his blood…he would have been politically assassinated even sooner had he not done the minimum he could get away with.

    He tried to get BoM audited but Hunt put a stop to that… and he wanted to cancel or curtail the RET but in the end had to go with lowering it to a level Labor and LIB WETS would agree to…but higher than he wanted..

    It’s because people never gave him credit where it was due and lied about him , that we’re now saddled with the duplicitous treacherous and incompetent Turnbull implementing GreenLabor policy for them and putting Australia at terrible risk.

    The harpers and carpers on the non-Labor side who just want to tear down someone like Tony Abbott…. whose achievements are the only thing that’s keeping this country’s head above water at the moment—and without whose hard-won huge seats buffer LNP would never have gotten into government in 2013 or retained it in 2016…will ENSURE Labor takes and holds power for the foreseeable future…long enough to finish off the destruction Turnbull has begun.

  64. struth

    Australian corruption takes many forms most of it legalised.
    Corporatism can’t occur without corrupt government .
    The renewable subsidies cause all this bullshit.
    What a mess the government make with everything they touch.

  65. Alan Moran

    Metro 70′
    I respect Abbott as almost the only politician to understand the poisonous effects of renewable policy on the economy. He tried to stem the tide but did not do enough to publicise the effects – choosing Hunt as his energy Minister was a major lack of judgement. He went along with the politico-bureaucratic push on the Paris Agreement. Hopefully, if he (or a like-minded Liberal) is restored to the office he will follow through with an immediate dismantling of the subsidies and find ways to starve most of the 30 plus subsidy allocation and regulatory bodies into oblivion.

  66. sabena

    Time for the Government to compulsorily acquire Liddell and use AGL’s statements to limit the compensation payable.

  67. Overtime

    What a peculiar argument. Moran blames both the policy and the company for a decision about a single asset. As a bonus, he wants the company to give away an asset for free.
    I really am sick of the ideology of this debate, which has twisted energy policy like a bad pretzel.
    The fact is that large scale power generation decisions have been driven mostly by industrial investment decisions of State governments for virtually all of the history of power in Australia. Consumers have been done over time and again by utilities which have been treated by State governments as lolly jars for dividends and Father Christmas for big industry deals, notably aluminium.
    If we do end up with a distributed model of generation it might be the first time that we have something like an actual market.

  68. Macspee

    Corruption is a hydra with many heads that can (and does) devour many as it seeks greater power and influence. Surely one of the most egregious aspects of government is found in the assertion of “commercial in confidence”, meaning “do you really think we will tell you about the secret commissions , the favouritism, the over priced contracts?”
    A government with guts and principle would make it a criminal offence to hide any details of a government contract but there is not one: and so the taxpayer (and the payer of fees and charges) foots the bill while the rent seekers pocket their rent at home or on the Cayman Islands and the government sits back and relaxes in the sure knowledge of financial security now and unto the end of their comfortable lives.

  69. Boambee John

    Macspee

    A government with guts and principle

    There’s the weak point in your argument!

  70. Y

    To be fair, the big rise occurred between 2007 and 2013. We all know why.

    Anyway, fiddling around the margins is not going to help anybody. It should be national policy that Australia has the cheapest and most plentiful electricity in the world.

    The Japanese are building 45(!) new coal fired HELE plants.

    Is there any reason (apart from sobbing Fairfax readers in Fitzroy) why we can’t do the same?

  71. Joe

    …choosing Hunt as his energy Minister was a major lack of judgement.

    It appears that there was no choice that would have dismantled this green lead civilisation destroying octopus. As far as I can see, none of the possible candidates for the job would have eliminated the green tape around power production.

  72. gbees

    It’s time for a peasants’ revolt. I’ve had enough of dopes and morons running this country. Time we refused to pay taxes until the mob in Canberra all resign and fresh elections held with none of the fools in parliament able to run again. That would fix their little ‘red’ wagons. Reference to Communists intended.

  73. Macspee

    Boambee John

    Of course, that’s precisely why nothing will ever happen (which I said). Where was the last government anywhere that had guts or principle? If there was one there would be no hiding behind such things as “commercial in confidence”.

  74. W Hogg

    Would we have been better off with the SLF ratifying Paris and lobbing in a “world leading” commitment because Renewbulls? Could we even have been out there as the only country not signing?

    A666 intended to sign but never ratify. This provided an opportunity for the likes of Trump666 to start the withdrawal process, which we could then follow by standing aside. We saw how that turned out. Can’t expect A666 to protect us from harm done by his successors.

  75. Another old bloke

    An important observation: many, perhaps most, of the problems with Australia’s environmental policies, including the energy catastrophe, can be sheeted back to one man: Greg Rhymingslang. He has been the most useless and destructive politician in generations – and I include Rudd and Gillard in that.

    He was the man who came up with the Libs’ “direct action” bullshit policy and they’ve never recovered from it. Had they NOT gone down that path, they’d have been seen to be ahead of the game when the renewables subsidies began to destroy the economy.

    And he has never once had the courage to debate these issues in public.

    I’d hate to see the bastard walk away with his fat parliamentary pension unharmed.

    On another tangent:
    André M.
    #2580979, posted on December 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm
    Just like monopolies, market manipulation is only illegal in the private sector…

    What about market share caps? If competition is one of the assumptions of market capitalism, shouldn’t there be a law ensuring no company can directly or indirectly control more than 25% of the production in any market.

    Probably too late now, because this goes all the way back to Keating, who appointed Fred Hilmer to come up with a National Competition Policy that has proven disastrous.

    We now have over-concentrated markets in telecommunications, air transport, supermarkets and others.

    In the supermarket sector, only the fortuitous arrival of Aldi in 2000 has prevented Woolworths and Coles from moving past an 80 per cent joint share of the market. Aldi, as few might realise, is a private company which is larger than the entire Australian supermarket industry, so their resources trump Woolworths and Coles every time.

    The independent supermarkets’ share of sales has been in decline since the 1970s.

    Yet the former ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, could never answer this simple question: how is competition enhanced by reducing the number of competitors?

  76. Howard Priory

    Not exactly on topic, but one of those awkward facts which flies in the face of green idiocy. I’m in the Uk at the moment. It’s midday. National demand is 49Gw at this moment. Despite their massive “investment” in wind and solar, exactly 8% of supply is from wind. Zero from solar. And the fun figure – 20% is coming from much-despised coal. Another 48% is supplied by the other fossil fuel, gas.

    I’m largely libertarian, but when I understand the way AGL are screwing us, I have disgusting thoughts about the concept of natural monopolies, and maybe – just maybe – the benefits of state/national control. I will now go and wash my mouth out.

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