In Australia the “debate” continues:
Remember Ian Plimer? Quite possibly the inspiration for the First Dog on the Moon character Ian the Climate Denialist Potato. Well, he’s back. Just in time for the crucial vote on the National Energy Guarantee this Friday at CoAG and, more importantly, next Tuesday in the Coalition party room.
“Climate policy is underpinned by two fallacies. The first is that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. The second is that future climate can be predicted from computer models,” he writes, casually batting away decades of scientific research and an overwhelming global consensus.
The Victoria Labor state government has thrown down the gauntlet to the federal Coalition government and its climate-denying conservative wing, demanding three-year reviews as the price of its support for the proposed National Energy Guarantee.
The ACT government has also refined its condition of support, suggesting a review once the target gets close to the 26 per cent by 2030 target that the federal government is seeking to set in stone. It pretty much amounts to the same thing demanded by Victoria, given that the 26 per cent target will be met within a few years.
“We can still get this right – but only if Malcolm Turnbull stares down the climate-crazies in his party and puts a workable scheme on the table that doesn’t hurt local jobs and households,” energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio says in a statement.
The demands of Victoria and ACT – which reflect their long expressed concern about the inadequacies of the NEG – are designed to test both the Coalition and the big business claim that they are looking for a bipartisan solution, rather than simply legislating to block renewables in their tracks.
However, federal environment and energy minister Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday refused to budge, saying the Coalition was focused on prices rather than emissions, and even citing the risk of blackouts.
PV Magazine’s take:
The Victoria government has defined four concrete conditions it wants in exchange for supporting Australia’s much-maligned National Energy Guarantee. If neglected, those red lines could turn into an insurmountable obstacle at Friday’s vote on the national strategy.
Casting a long shadow over the NEG – which needs the unanimous support of state and territory ministers – the clear and unambiguous statement issued by Daniel Andrews’ Labor administration said Victoria can support the NEG only if specific conditions are met that keep energy prices low and support employment.
“We won’t support any scheme that puts our renewable energy industry and Victorian jobs at risk,” Victoria Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said in a statement.
Victoria says the conditions will also ensure the Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 40% clean energy by 2025 – and the thousands of local jobs it supports – will be protected.
Then there’s this:
With a growing clamour of voices warning about the disincentives for renewables embodied in Australia’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG), a new poll shows most Aussies want clean power to play a greater role in the country’s energy mix and say they should be used as the sole guarantee of lower electricity prices.
The poll, conducted by ReachTEL for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, suggests 70% of respondents want an ambitious renewable energy target, and more than 67% agree renewable energy should receive more government support than fossil fuels.
Those figures do not align with the policy settings of the NEG, which envisage only a 2% increase in renewable energy’s share in the national electricity market over the next decade.
Although the NEG is said to offer a promise of AU$150 (US$111) of savings per year, it is not clear how this is calculated, due to a lack of modeling information in the final design of the NEG, released by the Energy Security Board last week.
Maybe the reason for the above poll results is this:
Australia’s big three gen-tailers continue their orgy of money making at the expense of consumers, with EnergyAustralia this week reporting a trebling of its half-year profit, even as wrung out customers quit the company by the tens of thousands.
The owner of the ageing Yallourn brown coal generator, itself owned by Hong Kong-listed CLP Group, on Monday reported a net profit of $A375 million to June 2018, up from $A129 million a year earlier.
The surge in profit comes off the back of sustained high wholesale electricity prices – even despite a reported customer churn of around 60,000 for the half – and apparently unscathed by the energy policy war playing out between the federal government and the states.