I have a piece in the excellent Spectator-on-line reporting on the return of the Rudd guru, Ross Garnaut, who says with the upcoming technological changes, Australia in a “post carbon world could become the locus of energy-intensive processing of minerals”. Aside from the inherent high cost and low reliability of wind and solar, Australia is not even particularly well-endowed in them , except in the more remote parts of the continent. The following are some quotes from the article
Exploring the perimeter of credulity, Garnaut also saw renewable energy as bringing a burgeoning hydrogen export industry for Japan and Korea. And he saw Australia as an exporter of its wind and solar as electricity via high voltage direct current transmission.
It was Garnaut’s eponymous 2008 report that armed the Rudd government’s agenda for overturning the conventional energy market.
This claimed that China will cooperate in emission reductions by reducing its production of steel and aluminium. In 2007, China accounted for 36% and 23% respectively of global steel and aluminium output. Today it produces over 51% of both! China’s emissions have increased 80 per cent since 2005.
Back in 2008, Garnaut thought the EU, US and Japan would strong-arm others to do so. This looks less possible now – and impossible unless the US, which has taken formal steps to abrogate the Paris Climate Change Accord, limits the Trump Administration to one term.
In his confidence about the coming triumph of renewables, Garnaut is joined by others including the climate activist and wind farmer, Simon Holmes a Court who sees a light at the end of a tunnel from which Australia will once again emerge as an energy superpower. Lamenting a likely demise of the aluminium smelters, Holmes a Court writes, “a decade from now … a portfolio of wind and solar storage coupled with flexible load will deliver power significantly cheaper than our current grid. Australia will once again be competitive.”
Holmes a Court and others like Mr Cannon-Brookes put their own money on the line to promote these outcomes. But they did so as political, rather than commercial, entrepreneurs, by funding politicians who will regulate to force ordinary Australians to fund the expenses
In the long run nations willing to impose costs upon themselves will not be able to prevail upon others to do likewise and will either abandon their policies or slip into poverty. But these policies have already done untold damage in undermining the cheap, reliable power nations like Australia once had and, sadly, will continue to do so for some time yet.