NSW Energy Minister attempts to further undermine the energy industry

Yesterday, NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin made an astonishing attempt to force his fellow ministers into adopting an intensified series of new subsidies for renewable energy.  Masquerading as a resurrection of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) and seeking to enlist the Energy Security Board (which devised the NEG) as the review body, he demonstrated his utter ignorance about energy and its costs.

Sadly, such ignorance is shared by most of his fellow ministers, many of whom are ensnared in the web of patronage that the renewable industry has assembled. Alex Robson has produced the most recent superbly documented analysis of the effects of renewable energy and other green policies on Australian energy prices in contrast to those of a less regulated market like Texas.

I have an article in this morning’s on-line Spectator which addresses the uninformed (and treacherous) attempt my Minister Harwin to impose further costs on the Australian economy.  It concludes

Mr Harwin had proposed that energy ministers meeting in Adelaide ask the Energy Security Board (ESB) to develop a national pathway to lower emissions. That would hardly have come out of the blue – the Minister would be acutely aware that the ESB (which devised the NEG’s regulatory carbon tax) shares his group-think about the coming, if not already arrived, competitive edge allegedly held by wind and solar. Its report would lend some pseudo-authoritative support for preferred direction.

Having failed to get his way, in what has become the familiar pattern of a Liberal Party riven with the climate wars and associated subsidies for renewables, he lashed out at the federal Liberals. He publicly excoriated his fellow party members, telling them that they should reconsider their positions, ”We want Australia to move forward on climate change. Not stand still.”

Renewable energy subsidies have poisoned the Australian electricity industry, converting it from the cheapest to among the dearest in the world. It will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to unwind the effect of this act of political vandalism on the economy. The ALP is openly promoting further such action and there is no sign that the Liberal Party’s “broad church” can accommodate the differing views and interests on energy which would allow it to make a start in reforming the damage of previous policies.  

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27 Responses to NSW Energy Minister attempts to further undermine the energy industry

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    I voted for the Libs in the last NSW state election as they offered the only lower house candidate that would even countenance gas exploration and production.

    Since then they’ve stopped at least one gas project for specious reasons.

    I therefore will not be voting for the Liberals in the next state election, nor will I allow my preference to flow to them.

    Get a brain Libs.

  2. Roger

    ”We want Australia to move forward on climate change. Not stand still.”

    Let’s test that assertion.

    A plebiscite:

    Are you prepared to pay much more for electricity so Australia can move forward* on climate change?

    * Anything Australia does to “move forward” will have little to zero effect on climate change.

    Yes/No

  3. jason stapp

    The Libs are hopeless.

  4. Roger

    Yes, I’m aware of that, v_; unfortunately state energy ministers aren’t…or they’re ignoring it.

    Why? Follow the money. When this scam is finally busted there’s going to be a RC and quite a few of the great and good heading to prison.

  5. Mark M

    ”We want Australia to move forward on climate change. Not stand still.”

    That would be reversing into tomorrow.

  6. Kneel

    “That would be reversing into tomorrow.”

    I prefer the Simpsons take on it:

    “We need to move forward not backward, upwards not forwards, and always twirling, twirling…”
    and
    “I am Clin-ton. All will kneel trembling before me!”

    Surprisingly accurate, is it not?

  7. Davefromweewaa

    Good work Alan.
    Is Don Harwin one of the Michael Photios faction? The broad church is way too broad if it tolerates these carpet baggers.
    Saving the planet is the means not the end for these modern day bushrangers!

  8. stevem

    He was even pushing for zero emissions by 2050. In order to test the ability for all Australians to meet that target he might perhaps try not emitting any CO2 himself for perhaps 2 minutes. If not convinced about the stupidity of his goals he should try a longer interval.

  9. Rossini

    Stupid. Forken.Liberals……………and they wonder why Pauline has so much common sense!

  10. RobK

    Thanks Alan,
    Good articles in the links.
    For me, the money quote is:”It will be difficult, perhaps impossible , to unwind the effect of this act of political vandalism on the economy. ”
    …increasingly so by the day. The Minsters need this drummed into them. Energy policy is a long term business and we will be paying for these errors for a long time. There is no retrospective out clause. Back-off now to save what maybe left of our country’s prosperity.

  11. Cynic of Ayr

    Not sure, but is The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney the mob of lefty morons who were absolutely surprised and aghast that Trump won the election.
    I recall that Mark Latham asked the nitwit why they had no clue that Trump might win, and the said nitwit had no clue why he had no clue, and Latham said he was a waste of public money.
    Could be a different mob, I suppose.

  12. John Bayley

    When this scam is finally busted there’s going to be a RC and quite a few of the great and good heading to prison.

    You’re an optimist.
    What’s the bet nothing will happen and in fact the main protagonists will smoothly shift into the next scary story that urgently requires more taxation and regulation to be fixed?

  13. Sheriff Joe

    No surprises to see Don Harwin perverting the Liberal Party beyond recognition on climate change. He could just as easily be a member of the Greens or Labor. Harwin was known for rolling up to branch meetings years ago and when asked what his greatest political priority was, he would nominate fake marriage. No interest in lower taxes, national security, or healthy families.

  14. H B Bear

    Another bought and paid for Photios fag. I much prefer Liars factionalism – at least you know that they are going to screw you.

  15. Recent utterances from NSW minister are against a background that he is silent about NSW coal generators being run down to way below the ~10,000MW installed capacity.
    It would be more helpful to our entire grid if the NSW Minister pushed for all the NSW generators to be fully functioning as we head into inevitable multi-day sometimes multi-State summer heat peaks. NSW is too often a heavy importer. As it is NSW is often propped up by Qld and Vic.
    https://opennem.org.au/#/regions/nsw
    OpenNem shows how around 4pm today – not a hot day – imports blew out over 2000MW but coal generation could not exceed ~6,700MW – you can see how the increasing imports spiked NSW prices.

  16. manalive

    It’s a puzzle, I have no answers, but why would otherwise reasonably intelligent politicians pursue totally unrealistic emission targets like 45% reduction on 2005 levels in 11 years, let alone 100%, that may be in their personal short term financial interest but that they the must know are unrealisable and if implemented would inevitably cause serious economic damage even collapse⸮
    Maybe it’s due to a communicable brain virus.

  17. miltonf

    They are worse than Labor was by a long shot.

  18. Marcus

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #2889270, posted on December 20, 2018 at 10:29 am
    I voted for the Libs in the last NSW state election as they offered the only lower house candidate that would even countenance gas exploration and production.

    Since then they’ve stopped at least one gas project for specious reasons.

    I therefore will not be voting for the Liberals in the next state election, nor will I allow my preference to flow to them.

    Get a brain Libs.

    So, as an outsider to New South Wales politics, as far as I can tell the NSW Liberal Party since in government has collectively decimated Sydney’s nightlife through their lockout laws, tried to kill peoples’ favourite hobbies through the attempted greyhound racing ban, been eyeing off each other’s safe seats, were the first state government to sign up to Gonski, embraced Safe Schools under their previous education minister, and have made this grandstanding fool their energy minister so he can hector a far more accomplished and knowledgeable minister in front of the whole country.

    On top of that, they want to spend billions replacing football stadiums and introducing – what, a tram line? – and followed the Labor pattern of replacing premiers at the behest of party powerbrokers as soon as they starting trailing in the polls.

    Oh, and they threw one of their own ministers under the ICAC bus and outed a sexual harassment victim in parliament so they could score a point against the opposition leader (which backfired, by the way, because they guy who replaced him is already preferred premier according to polling).

    The mushiness is one thing. I can just about bear that. The fact that the New South Wales Liberals are seemingly run by truly terrible people is quite another. And this is supposedly the gold standard for good government in Australia? Give me a break.

    For all their faults I would support the Liberals over Labor in every other jurisdiction morning, noon and night. But these guys need a damned good thrashing. Michael Daley for Premier, I say, and with a fine thumping majority.

  19. Nob

    What’s the bet nothing will happen and in fact the main protagonists will smoothly shift into the next scary story that urgently requires more taxation and regulation to be fixed?

    Of course they will.

  20. John Bayley

    @Marcus:
    Good list but you forgot they also increased fines for the grand crime of riding a bicycle without a helmet to some $320.
    A party of freedom and individualism, apparently.

  21. Alan Moran

    This from the Australian

    Kristina Photios … (founded) Conservatives for Conservation … With (former Liberal MP Philip) Ruddock and (former Liberal NSW premier and now federal party chairman Nick) Greiner as ambassadors. The not-for-profit group is pushing for more renewable energy … (and) has also served as a platform for powerful companies that have recently paid Kristina and Michael as professional lobbyists. That includes … AGL, Australia’s largest emitter … Through a series of lobbying firms (Michael Photios) and his business partners represent some of the nation’s biggest … coal interests such as Coal Energy Australia and … Glencore … A third Clean Energy Strategies lobbyist, Ian Hancock, also works for Michael’s firm Capital Hill, which represents coal interests, while sitting on the Conservatives for Conservation committee. Kristina said possible conflicts of interest were managed under a strict policy … When Fairfax Media called Clean Energy Strategies’ office, a voice answered “Capital Hill?”

  22. Myrddin Seren

    Friday morning pop quiz:

    In NSW politics – who do you think is the more powerful and influential woman

    the Premier – Gladys Berejiklian

    or Young Mrs Photios ?

  23. AlanR

    “…… and they wonder why Pauline has so much common sense!” Oh dear.

  24. Rayvic

    True to form, when the Liberals get into government in NSW, they do really stupid things — the Energy Minister’s inept act is a typical example — and then lose government as a result. If the NSW Premier has any political sense, she would have Don Harwin fired immediately and retire him to the back bench for harm minimisation.

  25. Bruce of Newcastle

    Here is one for Don Harwin:

    Germany’s green transition has hit a brick wall

    Germany has installed solar and wind power to such an extent that it should theoretically be able to satisfy the power requirement on any day that provides sufficient sunshine and wind. However, since sun and wind are often lacking – in Germany even more so than in other countries like Italy or Greece – the country only manages to produce around 27% of its annual electric power needs from these sources.

    Equally problematical, when solar and wind production are at their maximum, the wind turbines and solar panels often overproduce – that is, they generate more electricity than Germany needs at that time – creating major problems in equalizing production and consumption. If the electric power system’s frequency is to be kept close to 50Hz (50 cycles per second), it is no longer possible to increase the amount of solar and wind production in Germany without additional, costly measures.

    Production is often too high to keep the network frequency stable without disconnecting some solar and wind facilities. This leads to major energy losses and forced power exports to neighboring countries (“load shedding”) at negative electricity prices, below the cost of generating the power.

    At 27% of electricity supply Germany has gone as far as they can without the grid falling over. And they use the rest of Europe as a giant battery to stabilize it.

    We are an isolated country. We have no one to save us. No one to export unwanted electricity to, or import it when the wind isn’t blowing.

    It is an even bigger wake up call for Labor, who want 50% renewables. Germany shows this is not possible without catastrophically high spend on storage – which belies the whole ‘renewables are cheaper’ furphy.

  26. TFX

    An exam question on the Liberal and Labor parties.

    Compare and contrast the actions of the ALP in the Northern Territory with the Liberal party in NSW.

    In the Northern Territory the ALP sack Minister Vowles for advocating responsible policy whereas in NSW Minister Harwin advocates irresponsible policy and nothing happens.

  27. Whalehunt fun

    Sorry Rayvic but Gladys B is a great friend of this ignorant buffoon. Worse she owes a vast array of favours for the support that got her to the Premiership. She was not appointed based on her success as Transport Minister. She was appointed based on sucking up favours that need to be repaid with interest. Exact opposite of Trump. Exactly why he is succeeding

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