There is a host of material addressing energy policy today.
The Commonwealth keeps pressing policy issues that, on the one hand, dilute the spending egregiously allocated to renewables but then divert it to the failed carbon capture and storage (CSS) adventure and to the highly speculative unleashing of cheap energy from hydrogen. It released a report of an activist-stacked and serviced committee chaired by Grant King that promoted this, as well as inching the nation closer to a cap-and-trade emission reduction program. I wrote this piece for The Spectator yesterday.
In a new initiative, the government has again appointed another committee of people who are wedded to the green energy revolution to advise on new gee-wizz tech issues. It will get the answers it expects to get and embark on another spending spree.
The government has also provided yet another “road map” compiled by the environment department for a grateful minister. This favours gas (which it says is cheaper than coal – an absurd statement regarding Australia) and the colossally expensive pumped storage option. Like all previous reports it predicts the dawn of an era when renewables will be the cheapest form of energy but does say they need to be “firmed” by attendant supplies of controllable energy (hence gas and pumped storage). CSS and hydrogen get a guernsey and there is the promise of an annual report on progress.
Meanwhile the hospitalised aluminium smelting industry continues to dangle a real Sword of Damocles over the government. The industry, once the kernel of Australian globally competitive manufacturing, needs a return of cheap coal-based energy if it is to survive.
The Australian has an editorial lauding the many advantages that Australia has (fallaciously including renewables, where our advantage is only in the uninhabited centre) and calling for reform but failing to identify the renewable energy subsidies as the cause of our demise as an energy superpower. The AFR also calls for deregulation, which it sees as leading to a gas/renewables outcome for electricity, but then coyly approves the King report’s emission trading measures that it thinks might accelerate this outcome! Its editorial team, like that of the Australian, dare not point to the true cause of the malaise: the twenty-year progression of subsidy-stimulated poor quality, high cost renewables.
Former WA Premier Colin Barnett calls for interventions to support domestic gas reservation policy but grudgingly acknowledges that this is a second best policy and one actuated by the east coast bans on gas exploration and development. He has also called for a trans-continental pipeline to bring WA gas east but that seems to rely on continued regulatory suppression of gas in the east and a subsidy for the pipeline itself.
Does Australia have no senior politicians able to understand the economy like President Trump who, rather than offering road maps compiled by hacks and public service activists, issues an executive order “instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to waive, suspend, and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.” ?