Liddell, renewables and the future of the Australian economy

I had a piece in the Australian Spectator on the saga that is AGL’s determination to milk the regulatory induced energy price hikes.  Here is an extract

Like a border skirmish that develops into a global conflagration, John Howard’s policy to require “two per cent additional energy” be met with renewables has escalated into a measure destroying the electricity market. Back in 1998, the idea sounded good: give renewables a leg-up while they march to their inevitable destination involving cost-competitively displacing fossil fuels in electricity supply.

In the interim, an immediate bonus would be that the subsidised renewables, being virtually all sunk and no variable cost, would automatically bid into electricity supply taking whatever price they could get. This would, so all the modelling demonstrated, bring lower market prices from the get-go.

There was a shadow of guilt by those who recognised that a subsidised product, in depressing the price of coal-generated electricity with its huge fixed sunk costs would be partially expropriating those investments. Moreover, in having “must-run” characteristics the renewables’ intermittent nature imposed unanticipated stop-start costs on the dinosaurs they were to replace.

But few gave much thought to these considerations – after all, it was said, the investments themselves were made many years ago and were overdue for the scrap heap.

Then it all went pear-shaped. Once existing power stations were confronted by new costs – either because things broke or Worksafe started demanding new spending – they closed down. The fabled permanent low priced transition to the renewable future unravelled. Prices doubled in 2016 to $80 per MWh

 

The Liddell issue is only the latest flashpoint.

If Liddell’s continuation meant an electricity price of $10 per MWh lower than would follow from its closure, AGL was likely to forego profits of around $300 million a year.

 

The government’s acceptance of the closure of Liddell is one prediction that is certain to prove unfounded – there is now just too much awareness of the costs of displacing coal with wind/solar and, economic impacts aside, the political consequences of the higher cost, less reliable system this will entail.

The formerly low-cost Australian electricity system, once the cheapest supplier in the world, has been destroyed by regulatory requirements for high-cost renewable electricity. Electricity generators as beneficiaries of renewable subsidies and of the general increase in prices this has caused are complicit. And the complexity of the electricity market, the vast revenues that subsidies have created and a media ideologically disposed towards green fundamentalism has landed us in the present impasse. Patch-ups through jawboning, new forms of carbon tax, and the horrendously expensive Snowy 2.0 pumped storage cannot remedy this.

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60 Responses to Liddell, renewables and the future of the Australian economy

  1. John Constantine

    Fashionable decolonialisation theory champions de-electrification as a way to deconstruct the racist settler industrial economy into a debtfunded decolonialised State services economy, mass importing millions of State clients to vote for State services.

    Once the tipping point is reached, demand destruction and electricity rationing will deconstruct the foundations of racist industrialisation, the voteherds will pass legislation to fund services through State acquisition of racist legacy assets stolen from the underpriviliged and from the ruins of the anglosphere will arise a fairer and more equal world.

    Comrades.

  2. John Bayley

    @ John Constantine:

    I can smell a 5-year plan in the making!
    “We will order the wind and the rain!”
    That one also worked out well.

  3. craig

    Im trying to think of something intelligent to say about the people that have got us to this point of no return and i’ve simply concluded that I just want to punch them in the mouth.

  4. Roger

    This would, so all the modelling demonstrated, bring lower market prices from the get-go.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  5. struth

    Thanks Alan.
    You seem to be taking the view that plain speaking may be required.

    It certainly is in my view.
    Thank you very much.

  6. Craig,
    Figuratively speaking, the only thing these treasonous bastards will listen to is a damn fine kick in the ballot box.

  7. Tintarella di Luna

    I can smell a 5-year plan in the making!
    “We will order the wind and the rain!”
    That one also worked out well.

    It should be called the “Cnut’s Courtier Plan”

  8. miltonf

    Great article thanks Alan. In summary the political class are trying to destroy the economy and society. HoWARd really wasn’t as good we liked to think. He seems pretty cool with the current LP leadership team too.

  9. manalive

    Another lasting legacy of the Kevin-‘I’m from Brissie and I’m here to help’-Rudd government, probably as damaging in the long term as the deficit.
    I remember Costello before the 2007 election almost pleading with the electorate that ‘changing the government wasn’t just like changing the furniture around’.

  10. miltonf

    Disappointing that Costello walked after 2007.

  11. Absolutely nothing will change until Australia become a basket case. Then the blame game will begin.

    Some $4 billion was spent on a desalination plant in Victoria (and elsewhere) that has ostensibly been mothballed, but the taxpayers keep paying for no output.

    As I keep saying, no Green scheme has ever worked.

  12. Motelier

    We must be close to a tipping point.

    A local up here with a fish farm has a food mill, makes fish food by the tonne.

    Guess what, he said that he is thinking of running his food mill for a month on his 110 kva genset to see if it is cheaper than the metered cost of electricity.

  13. wal1957

    As I keep saying, no Green scheme has ever worked.

    Well, they do control ‘their ABC’

  14. Motelier

    Manalive and miltonf.

    Ffs, Costello did not have the balls to challenge Howard.

    I doubt he would have been very good.

  15. miltonf

    Well looking back on the years 96 to 07 with the benefit of hindsight, you are probably right. Bringing in the GST wow- a new tax and another impost on business.

  16. Mark M

    Australian elite politicians work for the UN, not Australia.
    Handcuff time for all of them.

  17. EJ

    IMO the only way forward is to put all Essential Services on Notice that Compulsory Acquisition will proceed if the services are being compromised in anyway in it’s delivery/supply to the Nation & public. That’s it. Just as the Government can do the same to ordinary citizens and their Land, so it should be that any business that is an essential service ie. water, gas, power etc., that holds the Government & it’s citizens to ransom for supply, should suffer the consequences of acquisition. It is enough that the Taxpayers of this nation have supported these services with all the handouts, subsidies & grants only to be kicked in the guts for the necessity of using them.

  18. H B Bear

    After KRudd and the utter failure of the Liars boat policy that cost somewhere north of ten billion dollars and 50,000 self-selecting illegal immigrants electricity is the greatest policy failure Australia has ever seen. Reffos are easy to explain – the moral vanity of the Liar’s Left faction.

    Electricity is harder to explain. At every stage of the process government has been advised by IYI experts who produce modelling that shows electricity prices will fall in a few years time – as they continue to do to this day. There is a parallel with the reffos with Gillard’s handpicked experts saying the illegal enterprise was due to push factors that couldn’t be stopped, right up until Abbott showed that it could. Government has now so thoroughly corrupted the NEM it is incapable of producing economically rational outcomes, something that AGL, Energy Australia and other participants are happily exploiting on a daily basis.

    Now the same IYIs who created the problem are dishing up the NEG with more government and more modelling showing prices falling … in the future of course. The answer, as always, is to get government out of the way but both factions of the UniParty are signed up to Paris and the economic destruction of the UN. Things will get worse before (if?) they get better.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle

    subsidised renewables, being virtually all sunk and no variable cost

    The hypocrisy of our politicians is that nuclear energy is also “virtually all sunk and no variable cost”. Because the fuel cost is quite small they also are in a better position to provide spinning reserve than coal plants can.

    Of course the Left and the Greens, who won their stripes in the no-nuke political campaigns of the seventies, have so inflated capital costs of nuclear plants through red and green tape that no one dares build one here.

  20. John Bayley

    Despite all of the obvious – at least in hindsight – faults of John Howard and Peter Costello, it is only now that I truly appreciate how rare decent governments have become anywhere one tends to look.

    Think about it:
    – Surplus within two years of being elected
    – Tax cuts almost every year
    – Huge boost to retirees via removing all tax on superannuation after age 60, coupled with a, generally greatly under appreciated, simplification of the rules governing that sector.
    – At least some resistance to political correctness, climate-related scams and cultural Marxism.

    All of the above has been thrown away and we are now very competitive for medal positions when it comes to ‘ruinable’ energy, gender-neutral policies and growth in government debt & spending.

    No government is perfect, and personally I think that the less government, the better, but some are still much better than others.

    The recent ones, both Labor and Liberal, are not in that category.

  21. John Bayley

    EJ, that way lies the road to full fascism, rather than the fascism-lite we now have, I’m afraid.

  22. egg_

    S.A. is to Australia what Spain is to the EU.
    A desert sh1thole.

  23. egg_

    Things will get worse before (if?) they get better.

    It will probably take a Hansonian type revolt in the Senate.

  24. egg_

    We need an ‘AGL bill’ to fix the ratfvckers.

  25. iain russell

    Good to see more scorn on Kevni, not really enough on Sheetstainer Gillard.

  26. In the hope that a pollie will read this, I will phrase in very simple terms that hopefully they will understand (even if by sheer fluke):

    A company that owns 2 products, one product (A) is heavily taxed, the other (B) is heavily subsidized.
    In addition the less A that is produced increases income from the more rewarding B.
    So yes, it is in AGL’s (and every other organization that owns both wind and coal generation assets) to destroy as much coal generation as they can.

    Maybe they do understand it and just want to fsck the country over.

  27. Dr Faustus

    Moreover, in having “must-run” characteristics the renewables’ intermittent nature imposed unanticipated stop-start costs on the dinosaurs they were to replace.

    But few gave much thought to these considerations – after all, it was said, the investments themselves were made many years ago and were overdue for the scrap heap.

    The first sentence is incorrect. From the get go, the electricity generation industry anticipated the supply difficulties that would be caused accomodating mandated non-dispatchable generation. Players in the electricity generation/distribution sector pointed this out to State and Commonwealth governments in complete and accurate detail – as far back as 1998/99, during the consultation process for the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000.

    The second sentence is correct. The political pressure caused by AGW hysteria trumped any consideration of paying attention to the ‘dinosaur keepers’ grim prognostications. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill happily dismissed the industry alarmism regarding costs:

    …costs per tonne of CO2 abated could be in the range of $18 to $45/tonne… However, these cost estimates have been disputed by industry as being too low. They pointed to other cost estimates which suggest the energy purchased costs could be approximately $500m in 2010 and the costs of CO2 abated at up to $90 per tonne.

    And concluded that the cost would be:

    …moderate and not long lasting. Electricity prices can be expected to increase by up to 2.4% over the 2005-06 to 2009-10 period.

    But not the ~40% that actually occurred.

    No sooner had the RET passed into law than the Commonwealth bureaucracy began bedwetting about the practical difficulties of implementation – in particular the low cost of competitive coal-fired electricity and the infrastructure issues associated with intermittent supply.

    You get a flavour of how of how coal was viewed from the following chilling paragraph:

    Recent declines in wholesale and retail prices of electricity with the development of the competitive national electricity market (NEM) present difficulties for renewable energy development. Cost reductions have been associated with an increasing competitive electricity retail market and a number of technological improvements, as for example in coal mining operational practices, which feed through into cheaper fuel and generating costs. These declines have come just at a time when renewable energy technologies are attempting to establish themselves. Most renewable energy mixes remain uncompetitive in cost terms against fossil fuel electricity generation.

    The fact is that, for the past 20 years, government at all levels, has deliberately and clear-sightedly destroyed the economic benefit of low priced electricity. The mess we are in is not a market failure.

  28. Singleton Engineer

    AGL: Australian Greenwash Ltd.

    Explains everything, including the Incoherent Rambler’s observation that subsidised product is preferred to the unsubsidised. This is about ripoff industry, not about CO2 reduction or any other green goal. If this were not the case, then Germany’s emissions would be dropping as their wind farms increase in number, but it has been stable for the last 6 or 7 years.

    So, greenwashed language in public, while quietly grabbing the money.

  29. Habib

    It never sounded like a good idea, let alone ever being one. Government market manipulation and interference is invariably a bad thing.

  30. Ian MacCulloch

    The increased costs come about from the increase in the complexity of the grid to effectively deal with a myriad of tiny contributors. Ask any sparky about setting up the balance needed for multiple gen sets and you will get an idea of what is required. Simply extending the life of Liddell and/or building a replacement coal or gas fired generator plant will not change the current trend of increasing costs that are in many ways due to increased complexity. In a sense the horse has bolted.
    So the question is how to rein the bolter back in – reducing subsidies is a possbility and other one is to produce greater volumes of usable energy – brave one that as it leads to reduced margins. Who is going to invest?
    Next………?

  31. Ian, your can continue to have the grid destroying rooftop solar and wind turbines.
    But it is only input to the grid, IF and only IF the grid wants the input.

    (Yes, I know that means that the wind turbine power would never be used)

  32. thefrolickingmole

    Surely even as crippled as our Federal model is people can look at states essential services, compare outcomes and draw conclusions?
    https://www.canstarblue.com.au/energy/electricity/electricity-costs-kwh/

    State Average Electricity Usage Rates (per kWh)
    VIC 27.5597c/kWh
    QLD 29.0135c/kWh
    NSW 33.3283c/kWh
    SA 43.6706c/kWh

  33. egg_

    The increased costs come about from the increase in the complexity of the grid to effectively deal with a myriad of tiny contributors.

    You mean the myriad of ruinables contributors beyond the black stump?
    If Grid connection costs are so prohibitive, don’t approve the junk contributors.
    Next.

  34. Iampeter

    Back in 1998, the idea sounded good: give renewables a leg-up while they march to their inevitable destination involving cost-competitively displacing fossil fuels in electricity supply.

    This idea has NEVER sounded good and never could. Everyone at the time who knew what they were talking about said as much.
    This was always going to end with “formerly low-cost Australian electricity system, once the cheapest supplier in the world, has been destroyed by regulatory requirements for high-cost renewable electricity.”
    It could end no other way.

    There was a shadow of guilt by those who recognised that a subsidised product, in depressing the price of coal-generated electricity with its huge fixed sunk costs would be partially expropriating those investments.

    Which should carry jail time for everyone involved not just be discussed as a casual talking point or something.

    Also this was 1998, a time where most people had no idea what AGW was, a time with no “climate sections” in any newspapers and it wouldn’t be until almost another decade that this issue would take off.
    Basically the World Greatest Living Conservative along with Costello and a government that had Abbott in it are responsible for leading the way in creating the environmentalist bureaucracy that has now destroyed the energy sector in our country.
    All the people that post “grrrr Rudd and Gillar and Turnbull” while correct are simply mouthing empty slogans if they don’t realize the Howard, Costello and Abbott are so much worse.

  35. egg_

    Basically the World Greatest Living Conservative along with Costello and a government that had Abbott in it are responsible for leading the way in creating the environmentalist bureaucracy that has now destroyed the energy sector in our country.

    Probably cowed by the Green vote at the time.
    The Green vote has reduced in recent years, as the major Parties are pandering their demographic?

  36. Genghis

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments but has anyone noticed that from the 18th to the 30th April Wind Farms in Eastern Australia operated at less than 10% capacity for 25% of the time and the ‘progressives’ want to build more? No battery back up system can be recharged in these circumstances. If you don’t believe me just Google ‘Wind Farm Performance’ and toggle back to April and set the output to Wind Farms. This low wind regime is continuing into May.
    Regards,

  37. manalive

    @Iampeter:

    All the people that post “grrrr Rudd and Gillar and Turnbull” while correct are simply mouthing empty slogans if they don’t realize the Howard, Costello and Abbott are so much worse …

    Well I don’t ‘mouth empty slogans’ I an empiricist, I look at the evidence (source Prof Davidson Catallaxy February 13, 2017).
    Incidentally, above I should have written “debt” not “deficit”.

  38. Iampeter

    Probably cowed by the Green vote at the time.
    The Green vote has reduced in recent years, as the major Parties are pandering their demographic?

    Yea I think that’s definately why their vote is reduced but I think this is a very important point about why I am so critical of conservatism. It speaks volumes about the shallowness/non-existent nature of conservative ideology that they spend their time in office implementing loony, far-left policies. They have zero ideas of their own.
    At the same time it speaks volumes about the clarity and coherence of lunatic movements like the Greens that they can be nowhere near the Prime Ministership but literally set the political agenda of entire countries. Everything from ETS to even things I agree with like Same Sex Marriage, every major issue is driven by these far-left nutters and no one seems to have any issues of their own to even table for discussion. Conservatives are a politically illiterate movement and any plan to begin pushing back on the left has to begin with the first step being to destroy-with-fire the conservative movement.

    Well I don’t ‘mouth empty slogans’ I an empiricist, I look at the evidence (source Prof Davidson Catallaxy February 13, 2017).

    I think you’re avoiding the evidence. The spike in electricity prices were a consequence of Howard NOT Rudd government policies. Rudd did not create the climate office a decade before AGW was even a mainstream issue, Rudd didn’t create the RET or dream up the worlds’ first carbon tax, etc. All of these were either put in place or in motion as a result of Howard, Costello, et al. You can’t blame Labor for any of it!
    Conservatives have to own this shit-show or start disowning their “longest serving” and “World’s Greatest Living Conservative”.

    You can’t keep having it both ways.

  39. OldOzzie

    AFR Article today sums up Alan’s question above – the future of the Australian economy

    Australia rises to 19th in IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook

    Strong investment, population growth, exchange rate stability and an improving budget outlook are among drivers of a rise in Australia’s global competitiveness, which continues to hampered by high energy costs, inefficient taxes and shoddy city planning.

    The well-regarded Lausanne-based IMD business school has lifted the Australian ranking in its World Competitiveness Yearbook by two places to 19, overtaking the UK and New Zealand, which have gone backwards.

    Despite the positive result, Committee for Economic Development of Australia chief executive Melinda Cilento said there remained significant barriers to becoming more internationally competitive.

    “Australia has dropped six places to 30 in its ranking for productivity and received a number of low rankings for its personal and corporate tax rates,” she said.

    The weak productivity performance, which remains well below historical averages that have raised living standards, highlights the need for a renewed focus on innovation and the removal of obstacles such as disruptive taxes.

    “The corporate tax rate on profit was the weakest ranking within the government efficiency category, coming in at 50 again, highlighting that to remain internationally competitive, this is an area that needs to be reviewed,” Ms Cilento said.

    The global tables continue to be dominated by a small coterie of super-competitive economies, led in 2018 by the US, which has leapt to the top from fourth place last year.

    Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland round out the top five.

    Other nations that are improving across more than 340 performance categories include Canada, Norway, Denmark and the UAE, which are all in the top 10.

    How Australia Ranked in the IMD competitiveness report, government efficiency category

    While a far cry from the top-10 ranking of a decade ago, Australia’s latest result appears to halt what looked to have been a steady slide away from the world’s most productive, dynamic and attractive places to invest.

    Economic performance

    Driving the improvement has been a meaningful lift in the IMD’s assessment of Australia’s economic performance, which has risen to 19th from 25th last year and 28th in 2015. In Asia-Pacific, Australia ranks fifth.

    Improvements include a major improvement in investment – measured as gross fixed capital formation, strong population growth, inbound student mobility, and “adaptability of government policy”.

    Workforce productivity, mobile telephone costs and agility of companies have also improved.

    Offsetting that has been a decline in real gross domestic product growth per capita, low consumer price inflation, and energy costs.

    The report also notes a deterioration in banking compliance rules, and weak business research and development.

    IMD warns that Australia’s biggest challenges remain its reliance on “inefficient tax bases” such as income and company taxes instead of consumption and land taxes.

    It also criticises the lack of energy security and emphasises on the need to effectively plan infrastructure to support the fast growing population in the cities.

    Its final warning is around the ability of the education system to meet future skills demands.

    “These issues need to stay on the national agenda,” said Ms Cilento.

    The three indicators to rank the lowest for Australia were a competitive tax regime, competency of government and cost competitiveness. These are unchanged from 2017.

    In countries with populations of greater than 20 million, Australia ranks sixth in the world, behind Taiwan, Germany, China, Canada and the US.

  40. Dr Fred Lenin

    Just read in Delingpole that the stupid UK government introduced a doozy gangrene plan ,a Blackadder cunning plan to replace gas heating with wood burning heat ,wood is a “renooable safe thing”. Turns out emissions are the same as coal burning . They even use wood pellets for a huge Yorkshire power station ,the fuel cannot be supplied from UK sources so people are felling huge areas of forest in the USA to supply.
    A real gangrene finance plan was insrtitiuted to encourage people to burn wood Every 100 you spend on wood you get 160 refund from the government ,people nowadays are so environmentally conscious they wouldn’t fort this scheme, would they ? This scheme caused theN Ireland government to fall and the crisis is ongoing ,the place is a broke basket case , that voted against Brexit ,the comrades commissars inBrussels would love to incorporate them and Scotland in the union ,5billion subsidy for the Irish and 20 billion for broke Scotland ,they are bloody welcome to them

  41. manalive

    @ Iampeter 3:41 pm:

    … you’re avoiding the evidence …

    The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 mandated a mere 2% renewable energy by 2010 in addition to the already existing Snowy and Tasmanian hydro, sugar cane pulp and a tiny solar component.
    During 2007 the Howard government was spooked by Rudd’s oily ‘poisonality’ and rhetoric; it’s pointless trying to second-guess what a Coalition government woulda coulda done had they won the 2007 election.
    It was Rudd who tried to implement emissions trading and not only increased the RET to 20% by 2010 but ‘… despite the warnings …. gave existing renewable energy generators access to the “windfall profits” beyond 2020 and locked in huge subsidies for a decade longer than contracted …’ (Dennis Shanahan The Australian October 23, 2017).

  42. manalive

    … that should be 20% by 2020.

  43. Entropy

    The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 mandated a mere 2% renewable energy by 2010 in addition to the already existing Snowy and Tasmanian hydro, sugar cane pulp and a tiny solar component.
    During 2007 the Howard government was spooked by Rudd’s oily ‘poisonality’ and rhetoric; it’s pointless trying to second-guess what a Coalition government woulda coulda done had they won the 2007 election.

    The stupid part is introducing these things in a) The hope they will go away, and b) the belief you will keep them out of the lefts hands to use as a springboard.

  44. RobK

    Thanks for keeping up the good work Alan.
    Unfortunately the scheme is working as planned, its just those doing the planning have other ideas and motives to those advertised. Time to address the situation is running out fast (if not already passed).

  45. Entropy

    I will enlarge on that:

    The stupid part of introducing these things is that they were under pressure to do something, demonstrate their credentials as caring for teh envrinmnt. So they introduce these things in
    a) The belief that this will cauterise the issue, the lobbyists will, claim victory and that will be that, and
    b) they never twig that if you set up these institutions, they will be kept out of the left’s hands who will inevitably use them to expand the programs reach, and use as a springboard to expand into bigger and greater things.

    Of course anyone who wishes to dismantle these once created entities will not only be opposed by the left, but those that get benefits, and in the greatest irony of all, conservatives who above all, wish to preserve institutions.

    See theirABC, the EBPC Act, MDBC, etc etc etc.

  46. Alan Moran

    egg and iampeter,
    In my essay, I would not want you to think that I shared the view that the 2 per cent (originally “additional” energy but quick smart becoming 9,500 GWH) was harmless. I campaigned against it from the outset (at that time I was with the IPA) recognising that it was a thin end of a very big wedge. Howard appointed a fool, ex-Senator Tamblin, to review it and he supinely recommended an increase to 16,000 GWh. To his credit Howard baulked – perhaps by then he had realised that the green demands were inexhaustible.

    But Howard also bowed to the green demands in seizing water off the Murray irrigators in pursuit of some hollow environmental goals. It was actually Howard (not Environment Minister Turnbull) who masterminded this the first of a series of plans that are designed to sacrifice productivity and farmers on the green alter – Tony Burke with his fanatical green staffer/girlfriend shoved that destruction along.

  47. Barry Bones

    Alan,

    As you know, the big driver of retail electricity prices has been in “poles and wires” not generation, which only comprises around 40% of the final bill.

    The reality is that past governments over-invested in coal plants, and once they had to be replaced, costs were going to rise. The reality is that it is now cheaper to build renewables with firming capacity than it is to build coal. Wholesale energy prices will trend down towards these marginal costs over time.

    So need for the dramatics – all will be ok. We will have cheaper and cleaner power.

    Cheers,

    Barry

  48. Iampeter

    Yea I know Alan, in fact I think you wrote an article here at the Cat years back detailing all the terrible environmentalist policies of the Howard government including the pilfering of the Murray.

    Entropy pretty much beat me to it. It’s not about cranking up the RET, as if anything else was going to happen, it’s creating it along with the supporting bureaucracy in the first place. This can’t be evaded and the movement responsible for this has a lot to answer for.

    The thing is: this movement isn’t Labor or the Greens.

  49. Boambee John

    Barry

    Got this bridge for sake.

    Steady income flow from crossing tolls, some competition from a nearby tunnel, but the combined capacity is less than the demand, so the future is rosy.

    What will you offer? Reserve price $1 billion.

  50. Boambee John

    Sale, but sake tastes OK.

  51. Entropy

    IamPeter, yes and no. Howard certainly created it. But thing is the ALP wouldn’t have done the same, except moar!
    The problem with conservative politics in this country is they are not initiators. So a leftist campaign starts, promoted by say, the ABC in many ways simply to put the conservative Government off balance and not running the agenda. The conservative Government goes part way to address these “needs”.
    It should try something different. It should move the agenda in another direction entirely. Thus the leftist agenda gets drowned out. Trouble is, that would require ideas.

  52. Herodotus

    The Howard governments tried to walk a tightrope devised by the left media,which badgered them incessantly about climate change. They said they were achieving Kyoto goals without doing anything silly like signing up to Kyoto and implementing a carbon price or ETS.

    It was part of Rudd’s appeal to the media claque that he would endorse Kyoto,which he did. He came close to getting the ETS up, with support from the claytons opposition which was led by Turnbull and had a minister who also fell into line with Labor’s folly.

    We saw a revolt from the grassroots conservative membership in 2009 and the narrow victory of Abbott in the party room at that time. He was re-elected leader unopposed thereafter, and went on to be a very effective opposition leader, only missing out on winning in 2010 due to Windsor and Oakshott. It was a firm policy that after winning in 2013 that Gillard’s carbon tax would be done away with.

    What we have seen happen since is not Abbott’s fault, and not Howard’s. Just as blaming Howard and Costello for later economic disaster is par for the course in the storytelling of the ABC, blaming them for starting a very modest concession to the climate change hysteria is one thing, but the growth of those concessions into the monster that is eating Australiana alive is something we have to lay squarely on those who came after. That’s the RGR years and the Turnbull Black Hand years.

  53. Barry,

    As you know, the big driver of retail electricity prices has been in “poles and wires” not generation, which only comprises around 40% of the final bill.

    There are a number of issues in the “poles and wires” argument. The older power transmission / distribution system had no redundancies. Cities would regularly suffer black-outs and brown-out in the pre-Howard days. One line lost and whole areas on the Eastern seaboard would be without power. Also, consider the effects of a terrorist act, not just a failure. The Howard government embarked on a big program of building redundancy into the whole power system – which is where the costs came in – building the infrastructure that has generally worked well – I was a part of the program. We have very few blackouts or brownouts now – and the exceptions are where there is a single point of failure – such as the basslink cable.

    The second point is that renewables create their own “poles and wires” problems – with fluctuating power levels and the infrastructure to connect hundreds of small windmills together to a transformer and then to transmission. The cost of “poles and wires” is higher with renewables.

    People whine about the infrastructure to bring them good clean reliable electricity – might as well complain about the cost of water or the cost of airports.

  54. Tel

    As you know, the big driver of retail electricity prices has been in “poles and wires” not generation, which only comprises around 40% of the final bill.

    That’s part of it, but in the past 5 years or so the generation costs have been rising steeply so they represent a good chunk of the INCREASE in electricity costs. Also, what Sydney Boy said, that at least some of the money going into “poles and wires” is to cover the shunting of electricity around the place as various wind and solar generation randomly comes online and off again.

    The reality is that past governments over-invested in coal plants, and once they had to be replaced, costs were going to rise. The reality is that it is now cheaper to build renewables with firming capacity than it is to build coal. Wholesale energy prices will trend down towards these marginal costs over time.

    You apparently believe that reality is self contradictory. If we are sitting on a pre-existing over-investment in coal plant this would cause electricity generation costs to be LOWER than the equilibrium market value, so therefore the trend in wholesale prices will be UPWARD. That also fits the empirical observation, as those coal generators get old and are decommissioned.

    Of course, if you really believed that renewables were cheaper than coal you would be happy to get rid of the RET which would then be completely unnecessary. Easy to point out you hypocrisy isn’t it?

  55. herodotus

    Dem bones, dat Bones, he done never made any sense about anytin’.

  56. Iampeter

    I’m going to disagree with you on pretty much every point Herodotus.

    The Howard governments tried to walk a tightrope devised by the left media,which badgered them incessantly about climate change.

    Which is just evasion. The Howard government, like all conservative governments, had no legislative agenda or even any ideas or positions on anything and so they were “badgered” into doing things. This is an indictment of the Howard government.

    It was part of Rudd’s appeal to the media claque that he would endorse Kyoto,which he did.

    Rudd doesn’t matter. He isn’t responsible for creating any of the key legislation or bureaucracy. Howard is responsible.
    When Rudd began speaking about this stuff it was in the mid-2000’s at which point at least the issue was becoming mainstream. Howard led the way almost a decade earlier.

    We saw a revolt from the grassroots conservative membership in 2009 and the narrow victory of Abbott in the party room at that time.

    No we didn’t. What we saw was what we’ve seen now for decades in that politically illiterate major parties spending their time squabbling over leadership because they have absolutely nothing better to do.

    He was re-elected leader unopposed thereafter, and went on to be a very effective opposition leader, only missing out on winning in 2010 due to Windsor and Oakshott.

    I agree conservatives are OK as opposition movement but not because they have any ideas but because they will just block everything and so slow the spread of rights violating government. When in office though, they are as bad as Greens. Also he didn’t lose because of Oakshott or Windsor but because of ZERO legislative agenda. He was running for office on nothing. He barely scrapped through in 2013 and that was largely because Labor lost through all their infighting not because Liberals won anything.

    It was a firm policy that after winning in 2013 that Gillard’s carbon tax would be done away with.

    No it wasn’t. The only thing that was firm was that he would implement Direct Action which defeats the purpose of doing away with the carbon tax. It just creates more instability. Abbott has NEVER been against a single rights violating, leftist government policy. He just pretends to be, sometimes, when he’s not in office because he thinks all voters are as gullible as you.

    What we have seen happen since is not Abbott’s fault, and not Howard’s.

    Except it’s literally their fault as they are the ones who created the Green bureaucracy. Abbott’s government last act before he was turfed out was quietly implementing Australia’s first ETS.

    Like I said, anyone hating Rudd, Gillard or even Turnbull, while quite right in doing so, have no idea what they are saying if they are not hating Howard and Abbott much, much more.

    You can’t begin fighting the left without first clearly identifying that its biggest advocates in Australia is the conservative movement.

  57. Empire 5:5

    He barely scrapped through in 2013 and that was largely because Labor lost through all their infighting not because Liberals won anything.

    Fake.

    You can’t begin fighting the left without first clearly identifying that its biggest advocates in Australia is the conservative movement.

    Also fake. It’s a long queue and conservatives are not at the front.

    You otherwise make good points about allegedly right of centre governments being rank statanists.

    If only you would grow up and lose the conservativejihad cloak.

  58. Being ignorant of such technical stuff, is the interconnector between Tas/Victoria and Tas/SA that seems to be an ongoing problem – see AEMO Data Dashboard – is it a physical location that is vulnerable to bushfire/tempest/earthquake, or is it more like the interwebs with many connections in many ways?
    I did ask once before, but no one seemed to know.

  59. Herodotus

    That was quite a verbal spew, Iamdickpentameter, but just the usual vaporware.

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