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Turnbull abandons fig leaf and stands naked on climate policy

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You would think that with all the hoo-ha about the scandalous increases in electricity prices that it would have rated some sort of mention in the budget. You know, one of the biggest cost inputs for business being addressed in the government’s economic centrepiece.

But no. The 2nd Morrison/Turnbull fiscal document blithely ignores the issue, despite the fact that their lack of policy direction in the last few years has been the major contributor to the price surges that are scorching household and business budgets.

There’s some pointless extra money for coal seam gas, the removal of some funds for carbon capture (finally) and some previously promised funds for solar thermal (about time), and even another thought bubble on Snowy Hydro – this time to buy it out from the state governments. See Matt Rose’s article for more details.

But there is nothing on climate change, no grand vision on energy. There are no new funds for the Direct Action policy that Turnbull had once ridiculed as a fig leaf for a climate action, and nothing on what might take Australia along the path to the pledge it signed in the Paris deal – effectively to reach zero net emissions by 2050.

As Labor’s Mark Butler noted this morning, the Coalition’s climate change policy has officially gone from that fig-leaf to a non-existent farce.

carbon repeal

Nearly three years after celebrating the dumping the carbon price (above), slashing the RET and ignoring expert advice (CCA and the Climate Council), the Coalition government has no actual policy, on energy or climate, and its negligence is adding to the stunning rise in electricity prices it is trying to blame on everything and everyone else.

“Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister who once said he didn’t want to lead a Liberal Party that didn’t feel as strongly about climate change as he did, is now the Prime Minister who has completely dropped any pretence of attempting to combat climate change,” Butler says in his statement, noting that climate change did not rate a single mention in the Budget speech.

“As the central pillar of the Direct Action policy, the Emission Reduction Fund, runs out of funds, this budget delivers ZERO new policies or funding to drive down pollution and combat climate change. This budget allocates more new money to the Department of the House of Representatives than it does to tackling climate change.

“Budgets are about choices and priorities, and this budget makes it perfectly clear the Turnbull government isn’t choosing a safe climate because they don’t think it is a priority. This budget finally makes official what we already know; this Liberal government is failing all future generations of Australians.”

We took big slabs of Butler’s comments because we don’t think we could say it any better.

Ostensibly, the Coalition government is waiting for the results of the Finkel Review, and its own review into climate policy, or any of the other 24 different reviews whose outcomes it may find convenient.

Turnbull’s also waiting to sniff the breeze out of Washington, which is likely to be foul, and could amount to a complete withdrawal or at very least a two-fingered salute, something that his f***-you picks as head of the EPA and the energy department have all but guaranteed.

And then Turnbull has to consider the right wing of his own party, and the date in September when it will come to pass that he has served a day longer than his predecessor Tony Abbott, when we can only hope that we might see the emergence of Turnbull 2.0.

For the moment, the Coalition’s stance is untenable. It has suggested that “clean coal” might be the answer, but that idea – on both the notion that this coal might be clean or economic – has been hit out of the ball-park by all but a handful of market opportunists.

Gas is quickly being discounted too. The monies allocated for pipeline and C&G research are yet more fig leaves. Gas will play some role as a “peaking plant” and a “gap filler” over the next decade or two, but the idea of gas being a transition fuel has also been belted out of the ball-park, by the gas producers themselves.

AGL Energy says it is simply too expensive and can’t and won’t be able to compete with the stunning falls in wind, solar and battery storage technologies. Origin agrees, particularly after signing a long-term agreement to buy the output of the 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm for just $55/MWh.

Santos is signing up for solar plants because it might be the cheapest way of freeing up more gas, which is just one small light in a gas business strategy that is based around an untenable, f*** the next generation, 4°C climate strategy.

The Finkel Review, like the CSIRO/ENA reports that preceded it, and the new thinking coming out of the Australian Energy Market Operator, and the major utilities, will likely tell us that the transition to zero net emissions is both possible, imperative, and likely to cost a lot less than most people think.

The trick will come in the policy suite that is deemed best to reach that target. One is the emissions intensity scheme, but this was largely designed as a free kick for a technology (gas) that is now longer considered necessary.

That can be solved, perhaps, with a really biting EIS, or perhaps more effectively by adopting state-style renewable energy schemes and having a managed transition through a series of auctions, the policy of choice in many other countries.

The idea that Turnbull is now considering buying out Snowy Hydro, completely, suggests the latter may be an option. Current market settings and rules clearly don’t work because the price of electricity is preposterously and unnecessarily high.

origin prices

As this graph shows, the average price has more than doubled over the last year. At times, the rise has been three or four-fold, particularly when the incumbents were able to take advantage of their market power in South Australia and Queensland.

That has the single happy outcome of making distributed generation – rooftop solar and battery storage – very popular.

But as the CSIRO and the networks point out, that could have unintended consequences if power prices stay high and the technology costs of solar and storage continue to fall to the levels anticipated by South Australian Power Networks, of just 15c/kWh, or less than half of their bills.

That could cause a stampede out of the grid just at a time that the equipment installed by households and business should be harvested to add to the power and security of the grid.

As so many people are saying, this is going to require some smart technologies, and some smart policies. There is absolutely no sign of the latter from this government yet.

Then again, this budget does jettison the conservative ideology on small government. Perhaps it can also dump – with or without permission from the IPA – its antipathy on climate change, and do energy consumers a favour by accelerating, not slowing, the inevitable energy transition away from centralised fossil fuels.  

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  • Ren Stimpy

    Oh come on let’s have it all you right wingers! Bring it fucking on!

  • Durham 52

    Despite all the perhaps’ and any wishing for some small glimmers of hope on the horizon, either from Trumbull or the rest of his COALition government, seemingly hinted towards in this article, the simple bare faced fact is that this mob will continue to serve their masters and stick to their own pig headed opposition to clean energy, believing that the rest of the world will save the planet, and that Australia, under their control, can lazily and cynically slide by, doing as little as possible while their multinational and billionaire masters (and mistresses) milk every $ possible out of coal, until no one in the world will buy another single gram of the stuff.

  • Ren Stimpy

    That picture in this article where those smacktard cocksuckers are celebrating the absence of a carbon price? Those idiots need to be kicked to be made aware. Fucking KICKED good!

  • Chris Schneider

    Ok, if you actually looked at the budget you would understand the position the Australian government is putting itself in. This website like many other have heralded the coming of renewables that are cheaper than coal therefore why would the government need to be involved in that? It’s already cheaper than the non renewable alternative! Where they are showing leadership is in storage! This is the part that is currently NOT competitive and will have the biggest importance during our transition. This is the only CURRENT technology that can store the amount of power needed to deal with renewables not hitting the level needed and also deals with over supply! I know this is a Liberal bashing site and no matter what they do it’s not right (even when the week before this website talks about how important Hydro is) It looks like they are trying to fast track Snowy 2.0.

    There is NO need for a government to get involved in a market where the direction wanted is better than competitive with the alternative! They get involved in ones that aren’t, like storage. You should be praising the government for it’s new leadership in renewables and enabling renewables to be the baseload of the future! The Snowy 2.0 will decrease supply volatility and increase the reliability of renewables. Even without renewables this makes sense in decreasing our reliance on Gas peaking power.

    • Malcolm M

      Good points. Turnbull is actually outflanking the climate deniers within his own right wing with the Snowy and Tasmanian hydro “Nation building” proposals. He would probably lose a war on it in cabinet, so he’s going about it another way, which addresses the deniers’ last remaining argument against renewables – that of intermittency. The lower cost of renewables has come just in time, and investors are responding to the market signals.

      While we are all frustrated that he doesn’t seem to be taking a stand on something he previously believed in, he is at least not white-anting any action the way Tony Abbott did.

    • john

      It will take some 5 years minimum for Snowy 2.0.
      Yes it will be helpful however the present pump hydro is not being used.
      The simple fact is that the country has a lot of RE and we are very very slowly using it.
      The total stall of implantation was caused by the previous situation where Government caused companies to totally stall due to risk of investment due to zero guidance this is why the present Government has to be called out on its very poor guidance to industry.

      • Chris Schneider

        So would a plan to buy back the snowy to ensure it is being used be a good idea? This IS their plan. again they are looking at australia’s network security after being told by everyone solar and wind are cheaper than coal. The renewable industry for the last 6 months have been talking about solving the storage which currently isn’t financial this proposal will be a big part of a solution. We DON’T need a solution tomorrow we need a real solution in the next five years. even your guess fits that but it’s not like building a new dam it’s simply putting new tunnels. the first few could be completed before 2020 without any real pressure.

    • Ian

      They could at least mention an approach to an ENORMOUS problem that is emissions and climate change.

      Also, they could at least announce that they might at least get out of the way of the transition.
      BTW, the Coalition deserves a thouough bashing for the damage they have done.

    • brucelee

      How many billion are 100% committed to this snowy project? My understanding was its a “review” so at this point in this budget it’s just lip service and no real action.

      • Chris Schneider

        this comment means you didn’t listen to the budget speech instead choosing to take your opinion directly from someone else. they are buying the snowy to ensure this project goes ahead and is set up to benefit us not the electricity generators like it is at the moment. it’s actually a great plan that will create great security that can be used to keep downward pressure on the entire network

        • Joe

          Dear Chris, they haven’t bought anything yet! The Snowy is a three way partnership between NSW, Victoria and The Australian Government. So all three need to agree before The Australian Government “buys” The Snowy. As for Snowy 2.0 all that PM Turnbull announced weeks ago, despite all the fanfare and optics in front of the cameras, was a feasibility study. The way that battery technology is evolving and price reductions it would seem that the idea of Snowy 2.0 will remain just that…Turnbull’s wet dream.

          • Chris Schneider

            so your problem is that the budget didn’t include the deed to the snowy… that’s just a silly comment. they have announced a commitment to to it which is all the budget is. Battery technology is not capable of the storage levels a hydro is. Hydro gives massive stability and if storage magically could than again government intervention is not needed.

          • DJR96

            Battery storage capacity is only a matter of scale. More battery equals more capacity. With enough of it it can provide grid stability very well. And there need only be 3GWh to properly do that. (With the inverters connecting it to the grid having a capacity of about 20% of typical NEM capacity, 5-6GW.)

            So lets not make the gross assumption that battery storage can’t do this.

          • Chris Schneider

            it’s a matter of cost competitiveness. at large scale hydro smashes battery. why exactly do you feel the need to fight this? do you want the federal government to buy batteries? we have maybe five years before storage will be a problem is the federal government do what they are looking at it will be solved with existing dams! This is huge! zero environmental impact, people on this website should be going nuts over the benefits of this idea!

          • DJR96

            There is no doubt that a large dam has a lot of potential energy. But it is only as good as the catchments ability to refill it. Pumped hydro still needs energy from some other source to do the pumping. So it is really only doing some peak shifting. Yes you could use just solar and wind to do that. But that doesn’t address network stability. Battery storage can do that very effectively.
            So yes, I do want the government to invest in batteries. Perhaps by re-using the RET scheme for batteries instead of solar. It’s a system already in use at least. It would provide the incentive and leverage for investment in batteries. With volume comes reduced prices. It could help a lot to bring battery prices down just like it did for solar panels.

            My key point and aim here is for mass battery storage to work in unison to actual “form” the grid, setting and controlling the frequency and voltage. Because over the next few decades there simply won’t be enough synchronous generation left in the network to be able to do this as it does now.

          • Chris Schneider

            ok so those services are actually being performed by inverter today, no need for batteries as for pumped hydro being no good becuase it requires power for that is exactly what a battery requires, that right there is beyond confusing. pumped hydro is a big battery! Any benefit an inert battery can give you pumped hydro can do the same for a longer period. especially the snowy with it multiple dams at varying heights! it’s like it was built for this! cheaper, fast, bigger, better.

          • DJR96

            As good as the Snowy hydro scheme is, and will easily outlast all other synchronous generation, it is only about 10% of the market. So once all the other synchronous generation is gone, that 10% from hydro isn’t enough to provide stability and security to the network. You need at least twice that to be able to properly maintain frequency and voltage. We’re not going to build or even replace any of the coal generation. Gas is too expensive, even if there was much more on the market. Nuclear is ridiculously expensive never-mind any concern for safety. Which really only leaves you with solar and wind. Both now cheaper than anything else and easily scale-able to any capacity we needed. And it can be installed close to wherever it is needed. Energy from it can be stored to be able to use it whenever we need it too – so that can make it baseload capable.
            The one thing that isn’t being addressed, is that we need to make it ‘grid-forming’. Actually control and regulate the frequency and voltage. And battery connected inverters can do that if configured to do so. And it could do it far better than all the synchronous generation we have now.
            But all the regulations prevent this at the moment.
            THAT is the changes that’s needed to continue the transition in the industry.

            All the announcements from governments are out-dated by at least a year when they are made. It takes a while to educate and convince politicians and bureaucrats about new stuff. And then when there is lots of them from different places, getting them all paddling in the same direction takes even more time.
            So whilst they’ve been peddling ‘clean coal’, that ship has already sailed. Same goes for gas. And now these latest announcements fiddling with the Snowy hydro is also not really going to help much in the long term because it doesn’t address the point about forming the grid. Yes it can load shift, but it is not adding any extra capacity to the network. It’s better than nothing, but not the whole solution.

          • Joe

            Hello Chris. The Turnbull makes a lot of announcements that are just that, like “Clean Coal” to power us for decades, “New High Efficiency Coal Power Plants”, “Snowy 2.0”, “Tassie 2.0” and now his latest.. buying The Snowy holus bolus. The Budget may have been a commitment to buy The Snowy but it would help if the Turnbull actually had a talk to NSW and Victoria about the “commitment” in the first instance. Today I read that the push back from the NSW and Victoria is coming.They won’t sell anything if the Turnbull is attaching strings to the deal. Like I said the Turnbull is full of announcements…another Turnbull wet dream. Micro Grids with Battery Storage is the way ahead.

          • Chris Schneider

            he moves his party away from “clean” coal but you still want to jump on it. Micro Gird will work for houses but won’t commerically on in major cites. this is part of a realistic solution. but you just want to liberal bash

          • Joe

            Hello again Chris. Where is this move away from “Clean Coal”. Turnbull, Canavan, Joyce, Morrison they are all piling in to get The Adani Carmichael Mega Coal Mine up and running. Forget about emissions and global warming, the death of The Great Barrier Reef. It gets worse with The Libs proposed changes to Native Title Law so that objections to Adani from The First Australians gets washed away. I’ll bash The Libs and anyone else that is reckless with the future health of planet Earth and continues to screw over The First Australians…we’ve been doing it for 229 years, its time to stop !

  • Farmer Dave

    I’m as angry as Ren and Durham about this, and no doubt lots more readers of RenewEconomy are also very upset by this gross dereliction of duty. However, even though swearing at the government may make us feel better, I think we need to do a better job of analysing why this is happening if we are to have any hope of changing the outcome.

    The two most popular explanations for the current lamentable lack of action seem to be (a) the politicians are in the pay of the fossil fuel industry and (b) the politicians have no care about the future past the next election. While both explanations may account for some of the behaviour, I am unconvinced that they account for all – or even most – of the inaction. I think we need to look more deeply into human psychology to understand what is going on here, and because I am not a psychologist, we need to turn to those who are making climate denial a field of active scientific study.

    I am still part-way through reading “What we think about when we try not to think about global warming” a book by Per Espen Stoknes, and I recommend it. There is too much to go into this comment, so here is one nugget of information: in cognitive dissonance, belief follows behaviour not the other way around. So people with high emissions are more likely to deny the risk of climate disruption than people with low emissions, particularly if the high emissions folk don’t think there is an alternative. So, if we want politicians to believe in climate disruption, they need to first feel good about lowering emissions. Fortunately, the ACT government is lowering their emissions from electricity. I think the ACT government should erect real time updated signs along the main roads to Parliament House showing the current renewable contribution to the ACT’s electricity supply and how much money and emissions that has saved. Politicians who feel better about their emissions are more likely to want to reduce them further.

    There is much more in Stoknes’s book. If we accept the science of climate change and want to see action based on that science, then we need to also accept the science of climate change denial, and also act on that science.

    • Rod

      I think, in Australia at least, it is much simpler than that.
      The LNP had success in removing the ALP on one main issue. The big bad carbon tax.
      I think they will keep flogging that horse until the electorate rate climate change as important as debt and deficit or jobs and growth or whatever inane slogan they come up with next.

    • JIm

      Great blog!

      Quite a while ago, John Howard told Australians that we’re all environmentalists now, but its hard to imagine anyone in the Coalition saying that now. We’re all losers. Coalition government intervention in a rapidly worsening energy crisis is disabled, other than to potentially make it worse. Political life will be less and less comfortable for incumbents (put there to fix things?) as prices rise, businesses close etc.

      I’m convinced any escape from this must involve informed and empowered citizens engaging with all political parties to create political will, and bipartisanship, for sound climate and energy policies. The bipartisanship means three things: key policy, like a carbon price measure, is acceptable to conservative thinkers, transparency of intent and effect so voters will see they are not worse off, and (as a result of the above) repeal-proof (or far more so than the carbon tax we had).

      The US seems to be leading the thinking on this. Republican Secretaries of State, George Schulz and James Baker, are conservative advocates of a revenue-neutral border adjustable carbon price. “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends”, released earlier this year, was co-authored by a group of conservative elder statesmen (Climate Leadership Group). Bob Inglis, an ex Republican Congressman addressed the National Press Club, asked, do conservatives want all the solutions to come from the ‘Left’ which can’t claim a monopoly on ideas which make effective climate solutions? There’s a history of conservative support for climate action in other nations.

      I wonder if the average junior Coalition MP has much inkling of this. I wonder if a respectful and knowledge-sharing conversation with a constituent prepared to listen and identify common ground, would be a rare occurrence for many of our MPs and Senators – if the subject is climate. If you are in the trench, it will look pointless perhaps – but I’ll persist. Perhaps its time to be meeting elected representatives of all stripes in their offices for a polite chat about this. What else are we doing that is more likely to help coax members if the Coalition, and others, out of the policy corner with energy and climate?

      A group founded in California by Marshall Saunders, a champion of micro-loan funding, Citizens Climate Change (CCL) is making progress with this kind of approach in the US. CCL was behind the establishment of the Climate Caucus, a grouping of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The first major piece of legislation to emerge from the Caucus is the Climate Solutions Commission Act (introduced by Congressmen Delaney and Faso) which would establish a Commission with 10 members – five appointed by Republicans and five appointed by Democrats – to review economically viable public and private actions to reduce emissions. The details will probably be different, but its a step towards bridging a political divide over climate that is a problem we share with the USA.

      CCL – Australia has members in 130 of the 150 Federal House of Representatives Electorates. Recruiting more members will give us more capacity to meet more elected representatives in more communities. We’d certainly welcome RE subscribers interested in joining our quest to build political will for carbon solutions! Find out more at: au.citizensclimatelobby.org.

      • Joe

        Yes, “Honest” Johnny Howard that great champion of the environment. He brought in the RET at the last minute before the 2007 election to try and stop the bleeding of environment votes. After he lost the election he said he never believed in the RET, it was just a political ploy to stay in Government. Now he has added more fuel to fire by saying that the RET should never have been more than 2 %. Just gotta luv “Honest Johnny Boy”…NOT!

    • Ron Horgan

      Dave I love the idea of ACT government sign posting their success along the access routes used by the federal politicians. Provides an ambient persuasion?

      • Joe

        It would distract the Abbott from seeing those “ugly windmills” that he Joe Hockey banged on about. Talk about the ACT Govt poking the Abbott in the eye with billboards showing renewable energy going up and up….go the ACT !

  • JoeR_AUS

    Meanwhile SA is 99% on gas as the sun is going down (99.6% full moon), the wind is no where to be felt and SA is using 1.516mw

    Now if you have this for 10 days in a row:

    How big an solar/wind farm do you need and how many batteries are required, to have power available at night, in dollar terms?

    • John Elliott

      At the (very informative) Solar Energy and Storage Conference in Melbourne last week. I took a quick look at the NEM Watch Live Generation widget and noticed the same as JoeR_AUS above. There was no wind generation in SA and VIC for the duration of the conference, and precious little since. John Hewson had just been talking up the benefits of Concentrating Solar Thermal in relation to his company’s pitch to build the Port Augusta CST facility.

      The next speaker was Daniel Thompson, Director of Development for Solar Reserve, the company that built the Crescent Dunes CST installation in Nevada USA.(100MW output and 800MWh (ish) storage) He told the conference that once the 580 degrees Centigrade molten salt is in its storage tank, it only loses 1 degree C per day if left unused. If so, I asked, why not build sufficient hot tank storage to last seven days or more, rather than the one day which seems to be the usual? Mr Thompson did not dismiss the question, but answered that the plants were designed to take advantage of shorter-term market opportunities.

      Intermittency issues do need to be addressed in convincing fashion. Perhaps the sun is shining brightly over vast areas of Australia while the wind is not blowing, and cheap commercial-scale solar PV plants will be a large part of the mix, but it remains possible that big low-pressure systems and their extensive cloud cover could also severely damage PV output for days at a time.

      If the construction of additional hot salt tanks is not cost-prohibited, it would make sense to build a week’s worth, wouldn’t it?

      • Tim Forcey

        BIOGAS

        Every Australian 100% renewable study (or high-penetration renewable study) has found bioenergy as the renewable energy that gets you through the long no-wind no-sun patches.

        With fossil gas now as expensive as it is in Australia, time for serious work to start on biogas / biomethane. (Just don’t leak any of it.)

        In Germany you will find a biogas plant every 20 km. Good use for animal waste, crop waste, food waste, plant-processing wastes.

      • Gary Rowbottom

        CST is a good step in the right direction for large scale storage (and generation). There would be a practical limit to how much molten salt one plant can heat up – heliostat fields that redirect and focus the sun can be only so big. Having said that, more storage is possible, look at the longest operating tower type CST plant with storage, Gemasolar (20MW with 15 hours full load storage) in Spain. A further big help would be a network of CST plants – the dispatch from the various facilities can be staggered as needed to cover those low wind/sun periods – and that is when things like pumped hydro, and likely some level of gas may be needed (and from TIm Forcey’s post below a healthy amount of bioenergy perhaps – not an area I can speak with any authority on). But those times are not that frequent. Both Solar Reserve and Solastor have ambitions of multiple plants. To me, lots of storage is indeed an important part of the final mix. A careful analysis of the duration and magnitude of the low limit of both wind and solar resources would be needed to build a reliable system. At one of my regular spot checks of NEM operation, I saw I think a total of only 5 MW of wind in SA – and that may have been after sunset too. But proper data analysis is needed. Perhaps after reforming the market we could retrain surplus market traders (or for that matter former mechanical technical officers) into more useful data analysts. But I’d be surprised if pretty good data analysis hasn’t already been done on this type of thing. To me June and July would be the most problematic months overall (in SA at least) – but I suspect April & May at a guess are likely to be the most wind challenged.

      • Chris Schneider

        You might have needed to check it a little more often then. at times wind was hitting around 2 GW! we were down to 300MW of hydro and around 2GW of solar with qld not pulling it’s weight for cloud cover. we have had times in the laat two weeks where gas plants have need to turn down in the middle of the day because hydro had been massively turned down and renewables were still over supplying. When Queensland wind farms finally come on this year we will have a lot of resiliency built into renewables becuase of distance. i look forward to the next few years of the energy grid.

    • baseload renewables

      An interesting question. There are many assumptions. But a back of the cocktail napkin calculation might look like this for a 24h-(not 10-day)-affair: Let’s assume the average SA power consumption during the dark hours is 1.2 GW, keeping the a.m. pre-commute and p.m. post-commute peaks in mind. Let’s assume the dark hours last for 14 hours. 1.2GWx14h=16.8 GWh of energy storage. Let’s assume that in May, in SA, that a kW of PV panels in SA will produce 3.5 kWh per day. Let’s also assume no wind to make things easy.

      16.8 GWh / 3.5 kWh/kW = 4.8 GW of PV panels just to service the overnight energy requirements.

      As for the battery power? Pick your peak dark-time power requirement for S.A. If you plan on it being 2.5 GW (perhaps a cold federal budget night), even just once, then that’s the size you’ll need.
      So…4.8 GW PV panels, 2.5 GW / 16.8 GWh BESS. Just for night time loads, based on my crude unresearched assumptions. The cost of that?

      If you want to power the whole state with PV and batteries for the entire 240 hour period, you are going to have to make some very specific meteorological and load assumptions.

    • Joe

      There is a solar thermal plant on the way. Geo-thermal, Bio Gas even Bio Mass can be developed to have a range of sources available to compliment the sun and the wind. And Premier Jay has those batteries coming to round it all off very nicely. I live in NSW and I wish we had Premier Jay running the show over here. The Liberals are addicted to “The Little Black Rock” and Premier Gladys is on record as saying that we can’t transition to renewables too quickly. Someone please help us in NSW.

  • Gary Rowbottom

    I think simply we need to be consistent, persistent, and insistent on making it clear to politicians that we want real action on emissions reduction. Very easy to get their contact details. Memories are short, hence the need for persistent.

    • Calamity_Jean

      Yes, this. Patient and repeated polite nagging of politicians by large numbers of people can produce amazing results. Especially if an occasional stubborn politician loses his/her job.

  • Richard

    I’m starting to think that a lack of policy is possibly a good thing. Government intervention and pick winners policy at this stage could serve to distort things and make things worse. The pace of technological change is so fast, governments will get it wrong.
    Also! What is wrong with people leaving the grid, or hiding their generation and storage behind the meter? Your article implies this is somehow bad.
    What will really drive the change is individuals and business generating and storing a large proportion of their electricity. This is inevitable with the cost curve the way it is on batteries and PV’s. So the government should not be producing policies that encourage too much large scale renewable development(relicating the old centralised model), or hinder individuals rights to make and store their own electricity.

    Now that the technology has come this far, the best the government can do is monitor the situation, protect low income earners and shield business from the worst effects of the transition. Other than that it will just get in the way or waste tax payer funds unnecessarily.

    • Nick D

      I am starting to think the same way. Power to the people. We finally have a way to take power into our own hands. I would like to find more community base solar or even wind projects. Solar bonds or wind bond projects. Communities have a chance to harness and use their own energy.

  • EdBCN

    To ‘hit something out of the ballpark’ is to make a fantastic success of it. Otherwise great article!

  • Ron Horgan

    What a headline and what a sight!

  • We need leadership and that has to come from people the citizens of Australia.

    We are all good at complaining about what is not happening. The focus has to be what we are willing to do about the challenges we face it the future.

    We need as many people to step up to provide leadership. First we need to define what we all agree on first then move forward from that point.

    It is not easy but it is certainly doable.

  • neroden

    Australia is going to be the very interesting first example of total grid defection.

    You know, except in the ACT. 🙂