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States gobsmacked by lack of detail, research in Turnbull’s NEG

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Source: ABC

Source: ABC

The chances of the Turnbull government getting the approval of the states for its National Energy Guarantee appear remote after a devastating response to the proposal following an emergency phone hook-up on Tuesday.

Approval for the states – through the COAG process – is apparently critical for the Coalition to implement the plan, because it requires changes to the National Electricity Rules.

But in a testy phone-hook up between Frydenberg and the state energy ministers, the federal Coalition admitted it had no details, no modelling – and all it had to show for what it describes as “breakthrough moment” was a press release and an eight-page letter from the Energy Security Board.

State representatives said they were gobsmacked by the sheer front and incompetence. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said one. “We would be ripped apart if we tried something like that.”

Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey was dismissive of the lack of detail. “The detail is threadbare and it would be irresponsible to set the nation’s energy policy based on a short letter which is all we’ve been given.”

(Read Bruce Mountain’s account for an explanation as to how this policy farce may have come about).

It is particularly ironic because the federal Coalition needs the state approval, yet Frydenberg told the state energy ministers that the states would be relied on to do the heavy lifting to meet the various targets.

In other words, Canberra, having lambasted the states for “going it alone”, was now relying on them to take action, something that the federal Coalition was unwilling to do.

“We need to see more detail on what this plan would mean for Queenslanders’ electricity prices, renewable investment and emissions before we can even think about signing up to it,” Bailey said, adding that Queensland remained committed to its 50 per cent renewable energy target.

“We’re also backing the cheapest form of energy infrastructure to build which will put downward pressure on prices and that’s why we’re committed to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“This is a policy written by Tony Abbott and announced by his spokesperson, Malcolm Turnbull,” said Victoria energy minister Lily d’Ambrosio. “This isn’t leadership, it’s simply a desperate man doing whatever he can to save his job.”

As it turns out, even Abbott isn’t happy, possibly because it has been pointed out to him that the scheme is in effect a carbon price in disguise, and it aims to reduce the very emissions that Abbott has said are good for the planet. Frydenberg described Abbott as a “conscientious objector”.

But that is still not good enough for the states, who say the new restrictions – and the placing of extraordinary power in the hands of major utilities – amounts to a “war on renewable energy.”

“There is no modelling so his claims about reducing power prices can’t be believed,” d’Ambrosio said. “It will put thousands of jobs in Victoria at risk and shatter investor confidence.”

Victoria has a 40 per cent renewable energy target for 2025, which it is now legislating. Queensland and the Northern Territory are aiming for 50 per cent by 2030; South Australia is already there but looking to add more; while the ACT has already signed contracts with wind and solar farms to take it to 100 per cent renewables by 2020.

South Australia premier Jay Weatherill said it was clear that this was more about defending coal than promoting renewables, dismissing it as a “coal energy target”, and ACT energy minister Shane Rattenbury was equally devastating.

“The federal government has succumbed to the climate deniers on their backbench, who are determined to burn up the country, and the planet, with dirty fossil fuels,” Rattenbury said.

“Australia is now among the only countries in the world that is seeking to guarantee the future of coal and gas. This removes any requirement for renewable energy.”  

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  • Tom

    There’s at least 3 ex-premiers/ chief ministers in that photo. There might be an ex-prime minister in it too soon.

    • Joe

      Barnett, Giles, Baird…all gone. Two Tonguer Turnbull to be gone by Christmas…the killing season is nigh.

  • Roger Franklin

    Just so I understand this correctly, the Federal Govt needs the support of the State Govts… so Mr Morrison calling the Queensland renewable energy target “a muppet of a proposal” is a way to get the Queensland Govt onside and signed up

    Good luck with that one!

    #PeakStupidity – we are here!

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/queensland-s-renewable-energy-plan-is-nuts-says-scott-morrison-20171018-p4ywiz.html

    • Joe

      …just talk to your lump of coal, Scotty….do not insult those that you seek support from.

    • bedlambay

      Big Battery Morrison thick as a big lump of coal..

    • maarvarq

      The much abused Julia Gillard was a deft negotiator. This lot – not a clue.

      • solarguy

        Julia was a wonderful PM, she did more than she was ever given credit for.

  • Hi Giles,
    The federal gov keeps doing their modelling and coming up with plans… then discarding them, meanwhile the state govs are clearly doing some great work and getting on with it.

    I’d be very interested in a piece detailing all the states and what all their current plans are for renewables etc. What are their plans? What % renewables are they aiming for by what year? Are these plans set in stone and official or still “awaiting approval” etc?

    Maybe add a nice picture of Aus with all the %’s over each state? Then explore what it means for Australia as a whole. As in, assuming the federal gov does their usual nothing and the states succeed at all their plans, what will Aus’s overall emissions reduce by?

    Just a thought for a new piece, keep up the great reporting though! 🙂

  • Radbug

    The NEG “proposal” certainly smacks of desperation. It has that smell about it. Remember this, that leadership changes must occur 18 months out from an election. That implies February 2018 is the Ides Of … February!

  • Sir Pete o Possums Reek

    Sigh its all smoke and cheap mirrors …

    I guess this might make for some Credlinbot style tactical traction if there are bi-elections soon, ( ! or a general election ).

    Business as usual:
    – Do as little as possible, and claim “ideology”.
    – Wear a sharp gender specific garment, or accessory.
    (wear something for mercies sake)
    – Be a bit “special” and entitled.
    – Spend lots of energy on Marketing and “Talking Points” and generally making stuff up.
    – Call all this a “Narrative” cause then it must be true.

    Just the sort of grown up leadership material the trickled down and (mostly) unexploited continent of [1]Zealandia is deeply, darkly looking for.
    Please apply in person.

    Otherwise its just a bunch not even wrong with not even laws,
    (regulations )
    for real people on the real planet to work around.

    They can claim all the credit they like for others work later.
    After all its how they make and have always made a living.
    Certainly a chop stealing drovers/butchers dog has much greater integrity .

    However the week is only half over, I sure they can continue to trickle up the standard.

    Metricians please note:
    We will be needing a faster bigger higher shinier unit for the peak Stupid metric.
    The Australian Royal Rex seems appropriate.
    At least then we can make pirate noises.

    Disclaimer:
    No Goats, Unicorns, Country Pub Counter Props or BBQ frequenting Shareholders (or any other non-accountable entity) were harmed while I was actually typing this vacuous trash. Some electrons may have been temporarily inconvenienced and the total amount of Entropy increased just a little. (sorry about that)

    [1] I only ever went there twice and I never checked the spelling.

    So over this lets all just GET ON WITH IT.