Saturday, September 16, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Australian PM Face Rebellion Over Green Energy Policy








Tony Abbott To Outline Energy Policy At Annual GWPF Lecture

In this newsletter:

1) Malcolm Turnbull Faces Power Play From Tony Abbott Over Green Energy Policy
Dennis Atkins, The Courier-Mail, 13 September 2017 
 
2) Tony Abbott To Outline Energy Policy At Annual GWPF Lecture
The West Australian, 13 September 2017
 
3) Tony Abbott Calls For “100% Reliable Energy Target”
The Australian, 14 September 2017
 
4) Green Madness: Australia Has Gone From Cheapest To Most Expensive Power
The Australian, 9 September 2017
 
5) Reminder: Britain Preparing To Scrap EU Green Energy Targets After Brexit
The Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2017 
 
6) North Yorkshire County Council Agrees Fracking Planning Applications
Minster FM, 12 September 2017
 
7) Germany’s Green Mega-Flop: Renewable Energy Billions Fail To Deliver Climate Goals
Deutsche Welle, 8 September

Full details:

1) Malcolm Turnbull Faces Power Play From Tony Abbott Over Green Energy Policy
Dennis Atkins, The Courier-Mail, 13 September 2017 
 
Malcolm Turnbull is facing the biggest challenge to his Prime Ministership, which marks two years tomorrow, with between five and 10 Coalition MPs thinking about crossing the floor and voting against any new or remodelled renewable energy scheme.
 

Tony Abbott has been leading a push to dump all Government funding for renewables and could lead a revolt against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the House over energy policy. Picture Kym Smith

 
As debate about the future of energy policy rages, former prime minister Tony Abbott has been doing the rounds of his colleagues in a bid to get support for dumping all government funding for renewables.
 
It’s understood Mr Abbott has also canvassed the idea of the Government walking away from the Paris Agreement – something he signed up to when he was in power.
 
Last weekend, the Nationals adopted a policy to dismiss the last recommendation of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s report calling for a clean energy target.
 
This extension, and probably replacement, of the renewable energy target – which was adopted by the Gillard government and kept by Mr Abbott – is now so unpopular, ministers are desperately searching for a way to reshape it, starting with a new name that doesn’t mention clean or renewable power.
 
If the Government keeps renewables in its final energy policy mix there is likely to be a backbench revolt with Mr Abbott as its figurehead.
 
Mr Turnbull and his Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are committed to having an element of clean, renewable energy in the final mix with some older technology base-load generation from coal.
 
Yesterday Mr Frydenberg reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the Paris targets which aim for a 2 degree reduction in greenhouse emissions.
 
While any revolt on clean energy would be embarrassing, it shouldn’t mean the policy would be defeated because of likely support from Labor for a package that contains renewables.
 
The Government has already twice put off any party room consideration of this most contentious of the Finkel recommendations – it was to be considered in June and then in August – and it could be pushed further out from the latest deadline of Christmas set by Mr Turnbull last month.
 
The Government says its thinking on the final energy policy mix has changed after the Australian Energy Market Operator’s report last week suggested a shortfall of about 1000 megawatts of readily available power by 2022.
 
Full story
 
2) Tony Abbott To Outline Energy Policy At Annual GWPF Lecture
The West Australian, 13 September 2017
 
Malcolm Turnbull is staring down coalition backbenchers concerned that a proposed clean energy target could push up power prices and undermine coal-fired power.
 
MPs concerned about the power bill impact of the policy proposed in a report by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel have been emboldened by last week’s Nationals conference passing a motion opposed to a clean energy target and former prime minister Tony Abbott’s push to wind back renewable energy subsidies.
 
Mr Abbott will double down on his position in delivering a speech, entitled Daring to Doubt, to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation on October 9.
 


It is understood the prime minister and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are seeking to finalise the design of a new policy by the end of November.
 
Full story
 
3) Tony Abbott Calls For “100% Reliable Energy Target”
The Australian, 14 September 2017
 
Tony Abbott has come up with a new slogan on energy policy, calling for a “100 per cent reliable energy target”.
 
Mr Abbott said he welcomed signs from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that the government is moving away from a clean energy target to a reliable energy target.
 
“Frankly nothing less than a 100 per cent reliable energy target will do because we’ve got to keep the lights on all the time,” Mr Abbott told 2GB.
 
“Now there may well be some circumstances in which renewables in conjunction with back-up measures are economic, and if they’re economic and dependable, fair enough, but at the moment they’re neither.”
 
Mr Abbott said he did not want to see any subsidies for energy production, including for coal.
 
“Let’s not subsidise any more renewables, and if we don’t subsidise any more renewables we won’t need to subsidise coal, because coal in a normal market is the cheapest way of providing reliable power,” he said.
 
“We’ve got the absurd situation where we subsidise wind, allegedly to save the planet, and now we’re looking at subsidising coal to keep the lights on.
 
“Now let’s just end all these subsidies and have a normal system where if something is economic we use it, if something is non-economic we don’t use it.”
 
Mr Abbott said there was no need to walk away from the Paris agreement, to which he signed Australia up as prime minister, because it was only ever an aspirational target.
 
“As I said at the time, we will do our best, but we are not going to jeopardize our economy in order to achieve some speculative environmental outcome,” he said.
 
“Because it’s not binding there is no need at this point in time to walk away from it.”
 
4) Green Madness: Australia Has Gone From Cheapest To Most Expensive Power
The Australian, 9 September 2017
Judith Sloan

The crisis in the electricity market, the result of years of costly and defective intervention by federal and state governments, is only now getting the attention it deserves. We have gone from having close to the cheapest electricity in the world to among the most ­expensive. We have all the feeder stock we need — coal, gas and uranium — yet electricity prices have doubled in a decade.


 
If I read another press release about the millions of dollars of our money being handed over to the mendicant players in the renewable energy space, I’m going to scream. The latest was $100 million awarded to Macquarie Leasing to subsidise electrical cars. I’m not joking.
 
But here’s the worst bit. Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says: “The Turnbull government’s investment in clean energy technologies is helping deliver affordable and reliable energy as we transition to a lower emissions future.”
 
So we hand over $100m of taxpayer money to Macquarie Leasing so it can offer concessional deals on top-of-the-line Tesla electrical cars to high-­income ­individuals, and the government justifies this as delivering affordable and reliable energy — and a low-emissions future, of course.
 
Pull the other one, I say. The last time I noticed, electrical cars will be drawing power from our rickety, overpriced electricity grid. That is, electrical cars — which, by the way, have a very ­uncertain ­future in Australia; just ask any tradie or farmer — will be imposing additional demands on our electricity system. Josh, there’s no free lunch out there.
 
Being in receipt of these press releases on a regular basis, can I just tell you that the amount of money that is being handed out to opportunistic green rent-seekers is out of control. We tend to concentrate on the implicit subsidies of the renewable energy target — at least $3 billion a year — but the country is awash with substantial grants to “green” players at both the federal and state levels.
 
Another example I read about recently was a taxpayer handout to a company established to provide loans to households to install solar panels on their roofs. On the face of it, you might think this could be a good idea: low-income, cash-constrained households getting access to concessional finance to reduce their power bills.
 
But that’s not what the company has in mind. Its business is confined to homeowners. You see, they are a better risk.
 
And to think that taxpayers are assisting this cynical venture — well, it simply beggars belief. Obviously the subsidies that households with solar PV installations receive from other electricity users by virtue of unjustifiably high feed-in tariffs are not enough. They need more of these reverse-Robin Hood gifts.
 
The crisis in the electricity market, the result of years of costly and defective intervention by federal and state governments, is only now getting the attention it deserves. We have gone from having close to the cheapest electricity in the world to among the most ­expensive. We have all the feeder stock we need — coal, gas and uranium — yet electricity prices have doubled in a decade.
 
The Australian Energy Market Operator report released this week on the reliability of the electricity system points to the reasonably high likelihood of demand exceeding supply in South Australia and Victoria in the coming summer, with reliability a continuing issue for the next few years in these two states. After 2022 and in the event of the closure of the 2000-megawatt Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley, the reliability of the supply of electricity in NSW becomes ­increasingly problematic….
 
There have been some major porkies told about energy policy, such as the one about wholesale electricity prices falling upon the renegotiation of the RET in 2015. The assumption there was that there would be no retirement of coal-fired power stations until 2040. Yes, pigs might fly; it’s just unclear why the politicians didn’t cotton on.
 
Full post
 
5) Reminder: Britain Preparing To Scrap EU Green Energy Targets After Brexit
The Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2017 
 
Britain is preparing to scrap EU green energy targets which will add more than £100 to the average energy bill as part of a bonfire of red tape after Brexit.


 
The UK is currently committed to getting 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020.
 
Ministers have long been critical of the targets because they exclude nuclear power, carbon capture or gains from energy efficiency.
 
The UK is currently on course to miss the target and incur millions of pounds in fines from the European Union.
 
Full story
 
6) North Yorkshire County Council Agrees Fracking Planning Applications
Minster FM, 12 September 2017
 
North Yorkshire County Council has today agreed planning conditions with Third Energy which will enable the company to begin operations to frack for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.


 
The conditions relate to traffic management; to the prevention of mud on roads and to the financial commitment required of Third Energy, or any subsequent owner of the site, to deliver the restoration and aftercare of the development.
 
The county council gave planning consent subject to planning conditions to Third Energy to undertake hydraulic fracturing for shale gas on the Kirby Misperton site over a year ago.
 
This was a single decision on a single site in North Yorkshire which already has existing conventional drilling for gas on it. The decision does not have a bearing on future applications.
 
Full story
 
7) Germany’s Green Mega-Flop: Renewable Energy Billions Fail To Deliver Climate Goal
Deutsche Welle, 8 September
 
Germany is on course to spectacularly miss its 2020 climate target, according to a new study by think thank Agora Energiewende.
 
Germany has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. But Agora calculates that without drastic new measures, the country will be looking at a reduction of just 30 and 31 percent.
 
The think tank said Germany was jeopardizing its reputation as a leader in the global fight against climate change.
 
Playing into Trump's hands
 
"Failure of the 2020 climate target won't just damage the climate but also Germany's international role," Agora director Patrick Graichen said in a press release.
 
Graichen said US President Donald Trump, who found himself isolated at the G20 summit in June over his resistance to climate protection measures, would "be glad to rub our noses in" Germany's failure.
 
Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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