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.