Big business lobby declares war on wind and solar | RenewEconomy

Big business lobby declares war on wind and solar

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In echoes of the mining lobby’s war on the mining tax, the Business Council vows to fight higher renewable energy targets, even as many big corporates turn to wind and solar and new data suggests that Australia will already have reached 33% renewable by 2020.

Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
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Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Business Council of Australia, the country’s pre-eminent business lobby group, has effectively declared war on wind and solar technology, declaring that a target of 49 per cent renewables, as proposed by Labor, would “wreck the economy.”

In echoes of the Minerals Council of Australia’s extraordinary campaign against the mining tax under the Rudd government, BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott vowed to campaign against Labor’s renewable energy target, which she said would “destroy” the Australian economy.

The threat from the big business lobby group came on the same day as the BCA joined with the Minerals Council, the Australian Industry Group and others, all of whom had urged former prime minister Tony Abbott to dump the carbon price five years ago, to get in behind the National Energy Guarantee.

The NEG, according to modelling provided by the Energy Security Board, will result in little or no new investment in wind and solar over the decade between 2020 and 2030, an assessment supported by the latest data released by analysts at Green Energy Markets.

GEM suggests that Australia will source one-third of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020 – far beyond the 23.5 per cent estimated just a few years ago – thanks to the surging household market and booming corporate demand.

“Even if contracting and construction commitments to solar farms and wind farms halted from today, ongoing installations of rooftop solar should see renewables share reaching 39 per cent by 2030,” GEM analyst Tristan Edis says.

“Given a range of corporate procurement tenders are also underway it is now reasonably likely renewables will exceed 40 per cent share by 2030.

“This substantially exceeds the emission reduction ambition within the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). Modelling for the Energy Security Board estimated the emission target would be achieved with 36 per cent renewables share.”

His assessment of the NEG was echoed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, whose analyst Leonard Quong told the Large Scale Solar and Storage Conference, co-hosted by RenewEconomy and Informa in Sydney, that while the mechanism looked workable, the targets were “totally inadequate.”

“There will be almost no new investment beyond what will happen anyway,” Quong said, in reference to the current 26 per cent reduction target.

Ironically, GEM’s assessment and Westacott’s threats came a day after BCA chairman Grant King, the former CEO of Origin Energy, told an audience at a conference at the Crawford School that 28 per cent renewables was about as far as Australia should go.

According to some people present, King’s position was contradicted by Bill Armstrong, from GE – the biggest supplier of energy systems in the world, which is now shifting its focus towards renewables and away from fossil fuels.

The ANU’s Andrew Blakers, agreed with Armstrong that the transformation to a renewables-dominated grid would be quicker than most people imagined.

But such is the deep-set denial among Australian conservatives – in the corporate sector, in the media, and in politics.

But while the Coalition government says coal may be part of the energy mix “for ever”, and reports insist that some plan is being cooked to keep power plants open, India has just announced that it is aiming to have renewable supply 55 per cent of its capacity by 2030.

Westacott’s position also appears untenable given that many of the country’s largest energy consumers are turning to wind and solar to provide all or a significant part of their electricity needs in order to reduce costs.

This include GFG Alliance’s steel works in Whyalla, Laverton, and eventually in NSW, the Orora packing giant, Mars Australia, Carlton & United Breweries, and the Sun Metals zinc refinery. More corporates are pursuing contracts with wind and solar farms, mostly without any subsidies.

The position by the BCA, the Ai Group, the Minerals Council, and the Farmers Federation, with BHP and Bluescope in tow, deepens the suspicions that having destroyed the most sensible policy – the carbon price – the lobbyists are now seeking to lock in failure with the NEG.

The federal Coalition government is seeking to make it impossible to change its low-ball target before 2030, and is now being pressured by internal dissent to make special measures that could encourage new coal fired generation, or extend the life of existing generators.

The NEG is being painted as a solution to the bipartisan nature of climate and energy politics, however it is anything but, because the emissions and renewables targets of the two mainstream parties are so far apart.

“This …  is the most workable scheme we have been working on for a long time,” Westacott said, according the AFR, after meeting with Coalition back-benchers led by Abbott and energy committee chair Craig Kelly to enlist support for the NEG.

Maybe that’s because it is a scheme that is designed to do nothing.

Ai group’s Innes Willox had the hide to say: “To kill this off really would be wrecking-ball politics.”

This is the very same Willox who, even when Labor was in power in 2013, was leading the call to kill the carbon price, and applauding Abbott’s repeal when it was finally achieved in 2015.

That helped create the mess the country currently finds itself in, but it wasn’t enough for the big business lobbies who also sought to kill the renewable energy target, and only succeeded in having it reduced.

The Guardian, quoting sources in the Coalition party room, quoted Westacott as telling the assembled throng that an emissions reduction target of 26 per cent in electricity by 2030 was not easy to meet.

This is just nonsense.

According to assessments from the likes of GEM, S&P, and any number of other groups, that target will largely be met by 2020, and easily exceeded by 2030, because of the RET (that the BCA and other business groups sought to destroy), and installations from households and business.

Indeed, it makes you wonder how companies such as Origin, now under the leadership of Frank Calabria, which is calling for more ambitious emissions targets, and to make them more flexible, could remain a member given that energy is so fundamental to its business and the country’s economic and environmental future.

Other members of the BCA include AGL, EnergyAustralia, Engie, Snowy Hydro, Jemena, and network operator Ausgrid. And News Corp.

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  1. DugS 2 years ago

    The first salvo of the war was on air this morning with Bananaby talking about the poor country folk wanting just to have the dignity of reasonable power prices. (the sob after he said that was almost audible) The solution, he said, is to have private investment into the refurbishment of the coal clunkers to ensure baseload power. How that solves the cost issue is unclear.
    Make no mistake the analogy to war is very apt. The fossil fuel lobby will stop at nothing to destroy the renewable energy sector and if there are a few casualties along the way, well, that’s just collateral damage as the Americans would say over the chatter of their machine guns.
    It will take more than just appealing to peoples common sense for an effective counter campaign to succeed. This will carry on until the next election with the aim of neutering the RE sector and they will stoop as low as it takes and will spend as much as it takes. So an effective counter argument needs to be prepared for the long dirty haul.
    So, what did David do when confronted with the Goliath? He was nimble and struck with intelligence and found the weakness that allowed him to prevail. So to does the clean energy industry need to act in the face of this assault.
    Renew Economy needs to send out a clarion call to arms, anyone who is remotely invested in the future energy system of our country needs to become actively involved in pushing back against the oncoming tide of spurious nonsense the fossil fuel industry is about to unleash. It is simply fight or die, there is nowhere to flee to.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Spot on — aligns with what I have been saying all along: Do not underestimate these clowns; the damage they can create is significant. 48% of the population votes for these gangsters. — The key issue is not even calling for arms; it is: how to you counter wilful ignorance?
      The whole system, society at large has changed, people busy with their struggle, too tired after work to think, let alone about societal issues. On top of that, laws are changed in favour for the perpetrators, and the State dismantled protest laws, criminalising demonstrators as enemy of the state.
      When you look at the four pillars of democracy, the free press, the people, the government and the corporations; over the last few decades the free press is no longer free, and has been bought by the corporations, to in turn bash the government with their ideology to cut taxes, privatise public assets, and corrupt the government. The is your goliath, 3 systems against the people. Good luck.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        “How do you counter wilful ignorance?”. Is a great question and it may very well be the unanswerable question. I have been following the business of the Woolies and Coles stopping their use of single use plastic bags. It is unbelievably to read the amount of pushback that the decision by the supermarkets has generated. If people can’t get on board something as simple and obvious as cutting down on plastic use then there is no hope of them understanding and getting on board of ending FF use. It doesn’t help that Rupert and his newsrags always print rubbish and mistruths about anything connected to the environment and RE. As soon as an argument about ‘cost’ or ‘changing’ the way of doing things arises then the punters just give up and stay with what they’ve got and what they’ve always been doing. They are either too lazy or just plain not interested in learning or educating themselves. And when the shite hits the fan they turn around looking for SOMEONE ELSE to blame for what has landed in their lap.

        • MaxG 2 years ago

          We actually get our shopping delivered from them and the issue is not that simple.
          So far they delivered the thin grey bags, which we simply collected and handed back for recycling.
          Now they changed to thicker plastic bags (these need to be used 142 times before they make a positive environmental impact); so they are thicker, and Wollies charges a fee $1 per delivery (whether you get 1 or 6 bags). Since we (and most others) can’t use the bags for anything else, we return them — to be recycled. –> The result: thicker bags, that cost money, now worsening the environmental equation.
          So, in case you see resistance, I can see why; we find this system crap as well, not even talking about the $1 per week of $50 a year for no benefit whatsoever.
          What we would prefer is paying a bond per crate and exchange these every weeks (full for empty). This means no plastic bags at all; and the benefit of carrying the crate, w/o having to handle the bags.

          • hydrophilia 2 years ago

            In general, Max, I agree with all you say and have to agree that changing out thin bags for thicker ones makes no sense I can see. Crates, however, might require washing and I would need to see the energy usage for the water/handling before agreeing that they would be better than plastic. Also, the far larger amt of plastic in the crate would require loads more uses to achieve payback parity: would it ever beat thin plastic?
            “It’s complicated” is a refrain I repeat far too often, but it seems to be true of every darned issue in life.

          • Richard 2 years ago


            Plastic packaging is a prime example of oversimplifying an environmental problem.

            If soft drink makers stop using plastics then they will shift, most likely, to glass. That is a lot heavier and leads to more diesel use. That means more particulates and thus more deaths from respiratory diseases as well as more greenhouse gas emissions.

            If farmers stop using plastics to bag delicate products like herbs and salads that means more food waste and more methane emissions, a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

            Complex problems usually require solutions more complete than Greenpeace can fit on a Facebook petition.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            I think you are illustrating that our thinking needs to go beyond the ban to the whole chain of delivery – trucks need to be electrified asap, all containers need to include a deposit, delicate herbs and salads need to be grown in cities in vertical gardens. These things are facilitated by cheap renewable energy. The threads need to come together.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            I know I’ve gone off topic with the plastic and I do sympathise with your situation. As a boy I remember the days of ‘pre-plastic everything’ where home delivery was a big thing with things like milk ( with the cream topping!), bread, green groceries…families got them all home delivered without the ‘plastic delivery’ of today. In the past we all did okay without the plastic overkillings of today. If there is a will there is a way. Change is everywhere and our current ‘plastic ways’ is not immune to this.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            The supermarkets could easily use the cardboad cartons they have in abundance for home delivery.
            Reduce plastic use, Re-use the cartons, before the customer Recycles.

    • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

      Well, the planet will have the ‘last laugh’ or is that ‘last gasp’, when rampant global warming smashes the whole ecosystem.

  2. Ralph Buttigieg 2 years ago

    So if nothing is done we get substantially more renewables anyway. So here is a new policy that should get the support of Mr Abbott, the BCA etc. No emmision targets. None and the feds keep right out of energy its a state responsibility anyway. The end result 85% renewables.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      All those businesses now doing their install’s of RE…you would have thought that The BCA would know what their own members are up to and why, yes. Individual framers get it that climate change is their greatest challenge and action needs to be taken. Yet The Farmers Federation goes in the opposite direction. So who are The BCA and The Farmers Federation really . representing?

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        See above, Joe.
        BCA = Big Coal Australia.
        Farmers’ Federation = Big Agribusiness. (We steal water from the Murray Darling)

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Hello again young Hettie. I love your BCA description and there is no disputing that one. The Farmers Federation with the Joyce ( then Federal Minister responsible ) and the Blair ( NSW Minister responsible ) did an almighty job with the water thievery. It took ‘Our ABC’ ( they, that Turnbull & co want to kill off by privatization ) to investigate and expose it. And how is The SA Royal Commission going, the one that ex-Premier Jay set up, into the water thievery and The Murray Darling Basin Plan. All these business lobby associations act against the common good of us ordinary punters. If I didn’t know any better I’d call them crooks.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Oh, Joe! Is there no limit to your cynicism about our democratically elected government?
            Thinks, what about those Qld polling booths where they ran out of papers???
            For shame.
            There is certainly no limit to mine.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            …polling papers a problem…just scribble a ‘COALition yes’ on any loose newsrag of Rupert lying around. Doesn’t get anymore official than with Rupert’s ‘blessing’

          • rob 2 years ago

            Us South Aussies are furious about water theft, salination and all the related crap ie pesticides et al which we have to drink! Just spent 3 days in Melbourne OMG….. I flooded the shower with soap bubbles cos I am used to using a hand full of shampoo…..Their water is so much softer ……ours is like literally showering in SHIT! This salinity is due to the water rarely reaching the Murray mouth and it is steadily moving up the river.That my friend is called a dying river! All because of the theft from up river States,,,,,Tis like our Electricity prices ,us being at the end of the line pay more despite getting close to 60-70 % renewables. The Bastards up the stream will pay for this in the long term!

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Water is the most precious resource on Earth. That you South Aussies have had to put up with ‘rotten water’ is national disgrace. I thought we / all Aussies lived and were governed as ‘The Commonwealth of Australia’. Clearly when it comes to water then South Australia is not part of ‘The Commonwealth of Australia’. In relation to water it is an effing free for all with the “I’m alright Jack” attitude alive and well in NSW & Vic.Lets see how The Marshall responds to The Royal Commission.

          • rob 2 years ago

            thanks Joe…….I was and am to angry to comment further!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Install 10,000 GALLONS (about 45,000 litres) of Tanks and use it for drinking, personal laundry and shower. Not toilet if your water us so bad. And not your commercial cleaning cloths.
            1 square meter (horizontal) of roof + 1 mm of rain = 1 litre of water. You have huge roof area, you do the sums.
            Get a water nymph, which takes the water from near the surface, and any nasties fall to the bottom of the tank, and the automatic cleaner that is like a big fan shaped gizmo that sits on the bottom of the tank and is connected to the overflow outlet, so every time the tank overflows, the bottom is vacuum cleaned.
            Your tank, pumps, irrigation specialist will know about both. And get a BIG pressure tank on the pump, so it only kicks in after 60 or more litres are drawn off. And an automatic switch that goes back to town water if the tanks run dry. Which 10,000 gallons won’t do in a hurry, once you have had a decent rainfall.
            Then the Melbourne water will seem vile.

    • david H 2 years ago

      Agreed! technology and the market will decide what happens, as it is doing right now.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Except that the NEG presents formidale roadblocks, and seeks to lock those in for ten years, with no possibility of review, and thereafter review only every five years.
      Having no policy is way better than locking in this policy.
      With no policy, renewables investment has rocketed along. NEG would see that investment screech to a halt.

      • neroden 2 years ago

        Indeed: the correct campaign for the good guys is “Get Big Government Out of the Way!” or “Leave it to the States!” Campaign for the states to dump the NEM and reject the NEG. If the states go it alone, everything will be just fine.

  3. Ken Fabian 2 years ago

    BCA – I suppose that, leaving aside the meaningless statements of in-principle support for climate action, they are consistent in their opposition in practice. Which aligns perfectly with our current federal government.

  4. Nick Kemp 2 years ago

    BCA are having a Kodak moment

  5. Stephen McMaugh 2 years ago

    From the figure it looks like rooftop solar doesn’t really grow after 2030. Is this because it will become saturated at a little over double what we expect by 2020? Also, growth in renewables is pretty slow from 2020 to 2030 and then picks up after that. Is this because of currently low policy ambition and then post 2030 the driver really becomes replacement of retiring capacity?

  6. DevMac 2 years ago

    The BCA obviously has a lot of money yet to be divested from coal assets.

  7. john 2 years ago

    Every one of these organisations are supposed to be able to understand figures and the bottom line.
    Which part of being explained to them that Solar and firming is competitive?
    Solar PHES Wind PHES etc.
    The sooner more storage is implemented the better.
    I think they are as irrelevant as the statement ” A solar panel will never pay for itself in a million years”.
    Have a look at the figures world wide and yes Australia in this Lazard report.

  8. Chris Fraser 2 years ago

    As soon as you hear about the likes of Tony Abbot, Craig Kelly and Grant King supporting something in regard to energy policy – that’s the time to eject it.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Great, now convince the 48% voting for them.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        That’s too hard. Easier and more important to convince the 52+% who vote against them to stand firm.

        • MaxG 2 years ago

          I am very wary of the 2% swing voters. They essentially do not know what is going on, and vote for whoever sounds more pleasing to them. Like my former neighbour who said “Now it will be better that Turnbull is at the helm” (after Abbot got the boot).
          I asked him what made him think this way. After an hour or so, he understood where I was coming from; but education takes time and interest. And while I may be able to talk sense into someone over 30 minutes, they still lack the broader perspective which led to a particular conclusion they agree with. Give them another case and they still decide against the prncole they just learned. (or had in their short-term memory).

        • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

          Especially difficult now they can claim that Bill Shorten is going to line his pockets with their hard earned money by raising taxes.

          And people think the soccer team had a hard time.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            John, please, it is called Football, The World Game, The Beautiful Game…any of those but not….. Soccer.

          • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

            Joe, If I’d written ‘football’ no-one would have known which one I meant. Some people can remember ‘soccer’ is short for Association Football.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Ah the memories, yes. Whilst I have some sympathy for your dilemma with labeling the sports, these days we should be calling things by their proper names. ‘FIFA’ and all the affiliated world football federations including our very own Football Federation Australian all use the word ‘football’ and not ‘soccer’. Even at club naming level it is ‘FC’ ( Football Club ) that is used here in Australia and around the world eg FC Sydney. The World Cup is over for Australia but we can all keep on enjoying the Football on display.

          • My_Oath 2 years ago

            Soccer is the name the English invented for it, so it is apt.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Too right, it’s FOOTBALL!

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Keep on kicking the Football my Solarman

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Bill has the perfect comeback in reiterating that most of Australia wants to see money spent on healthcare, education, NDIS, infrastructure and social services, not given away to foreign shareholders.
            The drum ALP should be beating is the Foreign Shareholder. With some good numbers to prove the point.
            The Industry Super Funds ad campaign has been VERY successful, and that has concentrated on showing the huge difference in returns between Industry and Retail funds. That is something ALP can learn from. Hope they do.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            What I never hear Hettie in these debates about tax is the quite obvious point that taxes don’t cause money to disappear: it goes out of my pocket but into some other Australian’s pocket generating economic activity on the way. On the other hand, the burgeoning proportion of dividends from greater company profits go offshore, out of the Australian economy. And many of the so called “efficiency dividends” in cutting staff merely result in lower productivity as insecurity and unsafe practices rise and commitment falls. We should be embarrassed by the number of sole traders, who are employees without the benefits and protections, not excited by the phenomenon. One day humans may learn from nature that evolution prefers co-operation to competition, as the latter assures mutual destruction.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Exactly so, Mike. Bill does make the point about the foreign shareholders, but apart from his all too seldom appearances on Q&A, he is muzzled or misrepresented by the press.
            If the Rudd/Swann cash stimulus response to the GST proved anything, it proved beyond doubt that an economy is driven from the bottom up, not drip fed from the top down.
            Now, even the IMF is endorsing that fact.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “I just wish that Australia’s governments would look to the successful model, and emulate it, rather than slavishly follow the great distopia that is USA.”

            As a citizen of the US, I sadly have to agree with you.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            It’s getting very sad here too, Jean. Not nearly as bad as US, but unless we can change Gov’t soon, it will be.
            You have Canada as a place to go, we have NZ, where I come from. Time to check finances.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            I’m 67, I don’t think Canada would let me immigrate. I’ll just have to stay and fight.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Ah. As a dual Aus/NZ citizen, I would not have that problem. Rather, most of my income is Aus Age pension, with a little bit of NZ universal Super. Not at all sure how that would go in NZ. Should be info on a website somewhere. But would likely be very opaque.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            PM Jacinda hasn’t pulled up the drawbridge like scumbags Dutton, Turnbull & co have when it comes to assisting asylum seekers. PM Jacinda is the Leader that Australia badly needs. She is a Leader with a conscience and a feeling for the ordinary punters. It is perhaps PM Jacinda / NZ Labor’s stance on The Pike River Coalmine that shows the stark divide between a Social Democratic political party ( NZ Labor ) and a neo-Liberal political party ( NZ Nationals ).

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Hi Miss Calamity. Has he / PM Justin not shown that he is welcoming to receiving asylum seekers and refugees. He was there at the airport to welcome the Middle East refugees that Canada received. The Justin and The Trump aren’t exactly besties these days. I’m guessing that if you make your case of seeking asylum ( from the tyranny of Trump ) that the Justin would be there to assist you.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            I’m hardly in immediate danger.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            And besides, the warm water’s rather pleasant, said the frog.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            The heat may get turned off by this November’s election. I’m not letting that big phony Trump run me out of my country without resisting as best I can.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I do hope you are right , Jean, for the sake of the whole world.
            The man is civilization’s worst nightmare.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Too true.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Pleasing to hear.

        • Phil NSW 2 years ago

          Hi Hettie, hope you go well? I am worried the LNP is going to get up due to the own goals being kicked by the the side.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            One Captain’s call in five years? Compared to the chaos in the Coalition?
            I don’t think so. And since when has a business with turnover of between ten and fifty million dollars been a small business?
            In any case, company tax is payable only on profits. That’s turnover less all overheads and operating expenses. A far wider range of deductible expenses than is available to the non business tax holder.
            Put your home in the company name and the mortgage, rates, all maintenance and utility costs become tax deductible. Nice.
            Businesses with turnover under $10 mill will still qualify for the 25% tax rate. They are the mum and dad businesses. The self employed tradies with a few employees. The café proprietors, restaurants, family farmers, franchise holders etc. Bigger fish are less vulnerable, have more ways to reduce their tax liability.
            This is the only episode in five years that looks remotely like disunity in the ALP.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I note that Bill Shorten has wisely decided to reverse that decision on tax for medium sized businesses. Better a couple of days of media chatter about a flipflop than months of feeding frenzy about Captain’s calls, gouging small business all that.
            Now the press will get bored and move on, leaving Mathias Cormann to bleat Bill Shorten this, Bill Shorten that, 57 times every question time.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Flip flopping was never an issue for The Libs, The Nats or One Pauline but apparently it is a national disaster if Labor does a flipper. Turnbull just shows his hypocrisy once again.

      • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

        If I could find them, of course. I think they are still hiding under the doona worried about “great big new (scary things here)”, or poor old “Whyalla being wiped off the map”, or “cobra strikes” and “python squeezes”.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          …$100 Sunday Roasts never arrived either

  9. juxx0r 2 years ago

    We have reached the situation that America has got where the name of a group of people is diametrically opposed to it’s intentions vis-a-vis:

    The Minerals council: is actually the Coal council, minerals industries will actually benefit from the renewables transition.

    The Energy Security Board: Should be called the elevated electricity prices board

    The Business Council should just be called in true aussie spirit; Bugger the rest of you cos I’m alright thanks, Jack.

    • DevMac 2 years ago

      I think Business Council is appropriately named. They’re a lobby group for their own interests / profits, it’s just Business, nothing Personal. Nothing personal at all. More’s the pity.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        If a body calls itself the Business Council, but represents the interests of only a very small group of businesses, with a single product, that looks to me like false labeling. More accurate to call itself the Coal Council.

    • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

      “The Minerals council: is actually the Coal council, minerals industries will actually benefit from the renewables transition.”

      And, Coal isn’t even a mineral so how funny is that.

  10. MaxG 2 years ago

    Yes! I clearly read them: solar and wind is bad for the Australian economy. Which directly translates it is bad for their profits! And I can prove it; since I got solar I didn’t pay a Cent for electricity… this is shocking for the economy…
    … certainly for my economy! :))

    • Peter Campbell 2 years ago

      I bet you have spent the money you saved on products and services supplied by other parts of the economy. The economy is doing just fine!

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Until the system is paid off it is pretty much revenue neutral. The $400 I took in cash was used to help pay for the RCAC, and although that is increasing the power cost, the gas bill is way down. Also, the next few weeks will be low pv output, higher power usage. And how it will balance with the new pricing- too many variables to calculate yet.
        BUT, come October 2021, and the final repayment, that will be a big boost.
        I’ll have to do some thinking about which “nice to have” things and activities to prioritise. Bring it on!

  11. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    THE BUSINESS COUNCIL ARE IDIOTS. Surely, before these fools open their mouths they should put their brains in gear. If they truly represent business interests in Australia, and have the profitability of said businesses at heart, then maybe they should have read this before slavishly following neo-liberal politicians down the coal hole.

    In short, just in case, Business Council, should you not read the above excellently researched article, take note of the following numbers.

    Virtually all new generation being constructed in Australia is solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy.

    New-build coal power is estimated to cost A$70-90 per megawatt-hour, increasing to more than A$140 per MWh with carbon capture and storage.

    Solar PV and wind are now cheaper than new-build coal power plants,
    even without carbon capture and storage. Unsubsidised contracts for wind
    projects in Australia have recently been signed for less than A$55 per MWh.

    Note that, Business Council, COAL $140 WIND $55. That is a difference of $85 per MW and it goes straight to a business bottom line. Overseas, the cost for wind and solar is $30 per MW. Australia needs to catch up and fast, because until we do, our businesses cannot compete with the overseas cost of energy.

    Nobody is building coal fired power stations unless they have rocks in their heads.

    Worldwide, solar PV and wind generation now account for 60% of global net new power capacity, far exceeding the net rate of fossil fuel installation.


    • Hettie 2 years ago

      The sound business economics of the shift to renewable energy demands some explanation of the basis for the BCA’s position.
      What is their reasoning?
      Successful businesses do not survive by flying in the face of financial logic, and business organisations do not survive by defying their members’ best interests, or giving them poor advice.
      WTF is going on?

      • PLDD 2 years ago

        It’s srikes me as a little odd we have reports of lots of large companies installing solar etc or contracting for renewable power all to lower their bills, yet the body that represents them is against renewable power.

        We know BHP and Rio were to,d by shareholders to pull the MCA into line maybe it’s time for other big companies to do the same with the BCA and Ai.

      • david_fta 2 years ago

        WTF is going on?

        Well, the same climate warming that will turn Australia from a bit too warm to way to blazes too hot will transform Russia from freezing to pleasant.

        I’d say the Business Council has decided to take their money and run.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        Those who will lose the control to fleece us is what’s going on. They will sell their mothers for it or arrange fatal accidents to occur, to those who get in their way.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Hard to disagree with you.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Couldn’t sleep last night, and caught question time in the Senate. Cory Bernardi was sprucing for a nuclear power plant in Australia.
      Matt Canavan (politely, for once, and sounding astonishingly competent) pointed out that time and cost are barriers, as well as the legislative ban on such projects. A good slap down.
      Shame Canavan can’t do his sums so well in comparing RE to coal.
      The Coalition pollies must have big chunks of their share portfolios in coal, and they must know that they can’t divest without losing big bucks. They’ve left it too late.
      Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

      • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

        Just shows what a waste of taxpayers’ money Bernardi is, as is Coals Canavan.
        There is no doubt that the LNP COALition has its fingers deep in the mining industry and the coal mining industry. You just have to look at NSW and the way the coal industry behaves. Why, you have a former Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, as Managing Director of Whitehaven Coal.
        In addition, when you look at the ANZ’s exposure to coal mining in Australia, is it any wonder that they are screwing drought affected farmers and graziers all over the country? ANZ is not environmentally friendly.

  12. Les Johnston 2 years ago

    Thanks for the collection of insights from those representing vested interests. It is apparent that honesty, transparency and critical analysis are never an agenda item when the persons in these entities consider climate change and least cost electricity generation in the 21st Century.

  13. Rob G 2 years ago

    Vested interests have always disliked the empowerment of the little guy. They seek to increase the power of already powerful interests. This is the wonderful thing renewables do, they take power away from these large groups and place it back into the individual. Disruption tends to hurt the old guard and that’s a good thing.

  14. Michael Porter 2 years ago

    Where does all this leave the Snowy 2.0 argument and so how about Turnbull’s position now?

  15. howardpatr 2 years ago

    The same big businesses Malcolm Turnbull and the LNP wants to reward with massive tax cuts while they demonstrate contempt for climate change and the renewable energy future.

    Mad Monk Abbott and his band of LNP followers will keep hounding Spineless Turnbull, whatever way he can, to ensure they, big business and the fossil fuel industry get their way.

    What stark contrast to Sanjeev Gupta, (“Man of Steel”), and what he sees happening in South Australia.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      The Sanjeev…..’Man of Renewable Energy made Steel’. Can’t wait to see the Abbott’s face when the Sanjeev’s first lot of RE made steel rolls out.

  16. Carl Raymond S 2 years ago

    By “wreck the economy”, Westacott means ‘wreck the fossil fuel business’. Being last to abandon fossil fuels is the way to wreck the economy. We can’t possibly compete with nations who will be powering their economy on sunlight – essentially free fuel once the investment has been made.
    Arguing against solar and storage now is like arguing against the Harbour Bridge in 1930. Just gotta do it.

  17. Ertimus J Waffle 2 years ago

    There seems to be a huge disparity between all the rhetoric about how much and what renewables presently produce. Given that on most days of the 11,000 MW being pumped into the Australian electricity system Wind and solar only make up between 300MW to 700MW. It doesn’t matter how many fairy tales are told about batteries or magical solar cells the fact is without coal fired power Australia wouldn’t have enough total reliable wind and solar power to light up Mildura.It’s a fantasy to even think renewables will ever be more than a joke until they can provide 15,000MW 24 hours a day not 1000MW for a few hours at midway with a gusting low covering Victoria and NSW.

    • Ertimus J Waffle 2 years ago

      Sorry that should be 30,000MW

      • Joe 2 years ago

        Waffler, aka The Daily Telegraph’s Terry McCrann, no need to apologise. No one takes you seriously. No cherrypicked 7pm RE numbers for today?

    • My_Oath 2 years ago

      Yep. So the solution is to build more renewable generation and storage.

    • David Osmond 2 years ago

      In the last 12 months on the NEM, wind has provided an average of just over 1,429 MW, utility PV 83 MW, and rooftop PV 827 MW for a total of 2,339 MW. This represents just over 10% of average demand at 23 GW.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Acording to David Osmond, on this thread, you are out by a factor of 3, Waffles, and I would trust his figures ahead of yours any day.
      Where did you get your numbers?

  18. Thucydides 2 years ago

    Australians overwhelmingly believe that the government should focus on renewable energy over coal-fired power plants, even if such a measures were to cost more, the 2018 Lowy Institute’s annual poll on Australian attitudes has found.

    When asked if the government should focus on renewables “even if this means we may need to invest more” or traditional energy “even if this means the environment may suffer to some extent” 84 per cent of respondents opted for renewables. Last year the figure was 81 per cent.

    It sounds dire but only because the other side have broken cover – it’s an information war and they are making their big push. If you can manage it, donate 50 bucks to a campaigning organisation (Solar Citizens are good, there are others) and let’s get the good word out there.

  19. Alan S 2 years ago

    Perhaps Jennifer Westacott, Craig Kelly, Tony Abbott and a few others should be given an opportunity to explain their beliefs concerning the destructive power of renewables via a public debate. Should be good for a laugh if nothing else.

  20. My_Oath 2 years ago

    I have long been of the opinion that any organisation with the self-styled name ‘Council’ is nothing but unrepresentative swill and as far as possible from being a ‘peak’ body, or ‘pre-eminent’.

    Pedestrian Council of Australia – membership: 1
    Minerals Council of Australia – effective membership: 3
    World Gold Council – membership: 10 (5 of the members are from 1 company)

    Or compare the MCA with an actual representative lobby group: the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies. Membership 3,500. But for some reason the media pays attention to the MCA and ignores the AMEC.

    So it begs the question: who is the REAL representative organisation for business in Australia and why are we paying any attention to the BCA?

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      That’s good info, My Oath. Thankyou.
      I certainly don’t recall hearing Westacott going in to bat for the Australian car industry when the Mad Monk decided to kill it. Or for all the smaller machine shops that supplied motor parts.
      Now it all makes sense.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Just Googled BCA.
        Singularly opaque website, but I came away with this little nugget of gold.

        “BCA member companies employ
        1 in 10 Australian workers.”

        So 90% of Australia’s workforce are NOT employed by BCA members.
        Kinda blows a hold in their claims to relevance.

  21. ed 2 years ago

    …fossil fuel junkies are simply not “HOUSEBROKEN”….

  22. david_fta 2 years ago

    Looks like after the next Federal election the new government will simply be doing a lot of reversal of previous government legislation before they get on with real business.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      ‘Repealing’ legislation will take a lot of time and effort with the way The Senate is populated these days. But that’s not to excuse rubbish legislation being left on the books.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        If past performance is any guide, Labor will have legislation drafted and ready to go before the election, ready to drop a full program on the table on day one of the new Parliament.
        At the very least, the salient points listed.
        It’s a great pity that the byelection date bastardry forced postponement of the Party conference. And worse that it has been postponed until December. Having policy signed off well in advance would have been a real advantage.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          And I wish I knew which of the Senators will go at this election. Half will be replaced if not re-elected,
          Rhiannon is resigning, Bernardi ? Is he in for 3 or 6 years? Leyjonhelm or however he spells himself….
          I know we are stuck with Poorlean for 6, and Abetz. The micro parties will lose most of their Senators, and with Rhiannon gone, NSW may see fit to vote Greens above the line. Won’t that be interesting!
          I think we will see a very different Senate from the one we have now.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Hettie – the terms for Senators is here:

            I’ve read commentary somewhere along the lines that the Conservatives will probably increase their hold on the Senate even if Labor gets into the HoR, so that Labor may have issues in getting their agenda thru. Need to make sure that doesn’t happen!

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Mike, here’s a thought. Labor wins the next election with a handsome House of Reps majority but at the same time The Senate is roughly the same as now. If Labor’s agenda is frustrated then a Double Dissolution should be called.Ex-PM Rudd squibbed his DD opportunity in 2009. But I’ll go back a bit further to 1974 with ‘The Great Man’ at the helm. The ‘born to rule’ Liberals refused to accept the ‘The Great Man’ / Labor winning the 1972 election. It was all delay and block in the then Senate where Labor was in minority. But ‘The Great Man’ had had enough and called the bluff by The Libs…Double Dissolution Election. Labor won and won well. The delayed and blocked Bills were passed. ‘The Great Man’, it was his ‘crash or crash through’ thinking that won the day.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Now wouldn’t that be something! To have a few conviction politicians again!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Thanks for this, Mike.
            Very few ALP Senators up for re-election, though Vic and Tas don’t seem to be there.
            I know we have a history of voting to avoid having a rubber stamp Senate, but people are either asleep at the wheel or angry. And if the Gov’t is mad enough to have just a half Senate Election in May, so the HoR can go through to November, dog help us, they will be punished.

  23. david_fta 2 years ago

    So, Jennifer Westacott and Business Council of Australia also want Russia to have a much more pleasant century (warming up from freezing to pleasant) than Australia (warming further from already a bit warm to too bloody hot)?

    Looks like Business Council of Australia will also have to be cleaned out by ASIO once this foreign influence legislation is passed.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      Not to make too light of it, there are major national security issues stemming from global inaction on climate change. Once was the time when Australia was a leader in international circles on science and progress, now happy to play laggard on the biggest science, population health, security and energy issue of them all.

      • david_fta 2 years ago

        Not just laggard, Mr L, our politico-media-corporate Establishment has decided we the people are unworthy of their care. They’re selling us out to Russia in preference to China because Russia’s leadership makes great claims and pretences to be the successors to the Byzantine hence Roman emporers, and hence the keepers of Western civilisation.

        After a youth full of repeated concussions playing Rugby and then boxing, that’s certainly the view of Clownshoes.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Serious refunding of CSIRO, ABS, ATO, all essential to our access to truth. And some tough regulations prohibiting news organs from telling lies about scientifically proven facts, and demonstrated economic reality, these are all needed to get us back on track.
        News is not for entertainment. It is for accurate reporting of events that have actually occurred. By all means follow up with discussions of possible implications of those events, but these must be clearly differentiated from fact.

  24. Energy Governator 2 years ago

    Looking at the membership list of BCA, which includes all the major financial institutions enduring a Royal Commission into their behaviour, as well as a host of major multinational tax ‘minimisers’, I’m thinking it’s time they changed the name to the Business Crooks of Australia!

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      And their website clearly states that they employ 1 in 10 Australian workers.
      So that’s 90% of workers they do not employ. Not to mention the unemployed, students, and all those not of working age.

      Why, then, do they have so much lobbying clout?

      • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

        “Why, then, do they have so much lobbying clout?”

        Bribes oops I mean donations to the LNP AND ALP

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Yes. The corruption is obvious.

  25. Roger Brown 2 years ago

    A good friend got a 6.5 kw Frontis Inverter system with Battery back up(No Battery) and 385w Tindo panels . Been with Origin Qld for years , all arranged to install solar system . Waiting for the new meter (over 30 days + ) and missed out on the 17 cents kwh party . He had 3 x meters in the tin box at the gate , that was replaced with 1 meter and has 3 phrase power up to the house and sheds .He got a app for his phone and is checking to see what winter produces . Summer should wipe his bill out , going by old bills .

    • rob 2 years ago

      using fronius and tindo he is already on a winner

  26. Joe 2 years ago

    If only the Big Business toffs would declare ‘War’ on the right issue. What we need to do is declare….. ‘War on Climate Change’…and get cracking on pricing emissions and reducing our emissions NOT increasing them here in Australia as well as globally as a collective. Our ‘Climate Emergency’ requires and emergency response.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Ah, Joe, if only, indeed!

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