Josh Frydenberg has been getting quite creative with the truth in his push to get the states – and his own party – to support the National Energy Guarantee. In particular, he has reverted to threats of “lights going out” and claims that high renewables penetration amounts to higher electricity prices.
These are claims that have been shot down, again and again, by those who have some understanding of how the market works. But in his comments at a press conference on Tuesday, after the Coalition voted in support of the NEG, the federal energy minister showed he has no intention of backing down.
“Let me make it completely clear: The Australian Energy Market Operator has said that in Victoria last year, there was a 43 per cent chance of load-shedding, which is a euphemism for blackouts,” he told reporters, repeating a line he trotted out on ABC TV’s Insiders Program on Sunday. “Victoria has the second highest electricity prices in the country.”
In case people are wondering how electricity prices are faring so far this year, @dylanjmcconnell has created this chart. (Turnbull Govt has been saying Victoria has second-highest prices…though this chart doesn’t support that case, at least for wholesale prices .) #auspol #neg pic.twitter.com/gZX5eQPHDQ
— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) August 14, 2018
Astonishingly, Frydenberg also used today’s press conference to claim that the NEG – despite the fact that it still has to make it past the Labor states and territories – was already having a positive influence on electricity prices.
“The CEO of Powershop has already said that companies have begun factoring in the implementation of the National Energy Guarantee, and this is taking form in lower power prices in the forward market,” he said.
“So it’s actually already having an impact, even though the policy hasn’t been legislated.”
We checked, and the CEO of Powershop did indeed talk about lower prices, but only in the context of investment in renewable energy projects, something that the NEG modelling says will come to a crashing halt in 2022.
Meanwhile, on the subject of his other comments, the Smart Energy Council has put together a handy Frydenberg Factcheck video (embedded below), pin-pointing all eight of the “lies” they say Josh told Insiders host Barrie Cassidy on Sunday, and putting an alternative view.
It’s quite something – and well worth watching considering the minister seems to be hell bent on repeating them whenever he gets the chance.
The “National Energy Guarantee”:
???? reduces emissions by a pathetic 0.2% per year
???? does nothing to improve reliability
???? does nothing to reduce electricity bills
???? does nothing to encourage investment
— SmartEnergyCouncil (@SmartEnergyCncl) August 13, 2018