According to Christopher Flavin, the President emeritus of the Worldwatch Institute, in a few years’ time wind energy will not need to be subsidised. Oh wait! He said that back in 1984.
And he was not alone, Booz, Allen & Hamilton did a report in 1983 saying the same thing as did Amory Lovins and the American Wind Energy Association testified that California Energy Commission had predicted wind would soon be cheaper than all other plants.
Politicians and the mainstream media persist in their faith in the pronouncements these ideologically committed and interested parties continue to make.
And so it is here in Australia. The debate on the continuation of the Renewable Energy Target continues, even though its direct impost on the Australian community will be $29-38 billion, and its indirect costs much greater.
One of the mouthpieces for the industry, Business Spectator’s Tristan Edis, has declared that the rorters of the energy consumer in the wind industry find it totally unacceptable that the Renewable Energy Target should be reduced. They want their subsidies maintained.
Earlier this week there was an “emergency Clean Energy Summit” meeting called by the South Australian Premier. According to its Communique seventy “clean energy and community leaders” attended but, in addition to the usual array of state public servants, these seem to have been confined to the renewable industry royalty and their advisers.
Speakers included John Hewson, who demonstrated his incisive wit by saying, “if you’re talking about barnacles, get rid of this one.” (and no, he did not mean get rid of the RET). Also preaching was Ross Garnaut who “discussed the underlying economics influencing the sector and explained that Australia has a natural advantage for low-cost production of renewable energy. He explained how the low cost of renewables would create a cost advantage for local industry into the long-term future.” There would have been some insights there!
The Summit urged the government to keep forcing consumers to give money to the industry so that it could continue to employ people and finance campaigns that undermine the economy.
With a product that cannot possibly be competitive without massive subsidies, it is understandable that the renewables sector would target a great deal of their expenditure on marketing to the political actors and into Get Up’s tv ads.