Why Alan Jones could become a champion for wind, solar energy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The wind and solar sectors in Australia need a public champion. Why not Alan Jones? His command of the facts on coal mines and CSG has made him a powerful force. If only he could get his facts right on renewable energy.

share
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One of the big problems for the wind and solar industries in Australia over the last few years has been the absence of a public champion for renewable energy. Sure, it’s had great support from the Greens, and Labor, and even the Coalition before the election of Tony Abbott, but there’s been no public figure who has galvanised the population.

What if that person turned out to be Alan Jones?

Yes, Alan Jones. The radio shock jock deemed to have political views somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan; He who wanted Julia Gillard dumped in a chaff bag and thrown to sea; He who fronted a virulent anti-wind rally in Canberra, and who ridicules solar with his pronunciation – solarrrr; and He who elicits extraordinary comments from leading politicians, such as the “wind farms are offensive” remark from Treasurer Joe Hockey, and the “wind farms are ugly” and other, way too numerous comments from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

alan jones q&a

All this aside, there are several good reasons why Jones could be the man for the job. For a start he is eloquent, influential, and has a tremendous command of figures and data. He has led an extraordinarily successful campaign against coal seam gas – a campaign that helped topple the LNP Premier in Queensland, Campbell Newman, and has now turned his sights on coal mining in agricultural regions.

There he was on ABC TV’s now controversial Q&A program last night, holding forth about the absurd idea to approve the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the Liverpool Plains. The disturbance area, he said, was 14 times bigger than the city of London, 1.5 times bigger than the City of Sydney, and equivalent to 4,600 football field.

Just imagine if Jones applied that same passion and rigour about data to the renewable energy industry. All he’d need to do would be to get his wind and solar facts right, and he’d be off.

Last night, on Q&A, and on many occasions before, he showed just how wrong his numbers are on renewables, a fact-check failing that has similarly influenced his views on the science of climate change.

He said that coal-fired electricity costs $79/kWh, and wind was 20 times as much, at $1502/kWh. Goodness knows where he got those figures from. To borrow Jones’ dismissal of Tim Fisher,  he was “talking a lot of rubbish without reading the information”.

For a start, Jones must have confused kilowatt hours with megawatt hours. Coal is produced by existing generators – built years ago with government money and fully depreciated – at anything from $20/MWh to $45/MWh. Wind, built mostly with private money, costs around $80/MWh.

But if new-build wind – and for that matter, new-build solar – was pitched against new-build coal, as it is in Latin America, the Middle East, and even in northern Queensland, where a proposed 600MW wind farm and 600MW solar plant is competing with a coal-fired generator for government finance – then the equation is a lot different. Wind and solar are cheaper than new build coal. Even in the US wind is considered to be the cheapest new-build generation.

For consumers, Jones’ prime audience, solar already wins the day. It costs around 11c/kWh to produce (just ask Origin Energy, that’s the selling price for the output from rooftop solar panels they are installing), while consumers saddled with the over-investment in the grid are being charged 30c/kWh or more for predominantly coal based power.

Jones likes to project that fact that he is a champion of the underdog and of protecting consumers, and their rights, notwithstanding his sponsorship from big corporates.

This is the underlying philosophy of the right-wing Tea Party movement in the US, and one of the reasons why influential elements of that organisation have embraced solar, to the point where they have been dubbed the Green Tea Party.

Indeed, Debbie Dooley, one of the organisers of the first nationwide Tea Party protests, in 2009, now co-sponsors a movement called the Green Tea Coalition, with the help of environmental NGOs such as the Sierra Club, which are battling fossil fuel astro-turf and lobbying groups over solar policies.

“I thought that the regulated monopoly in Georgia had far too much power,” Dooley told the New Yorker in an interview recently. “They had begun to look out for the best interests of their stockholders instead of their utility customers.”

Solar, she said, promised to give people energy autonomy. “The average person cannot build a power plant, but they can install solar panels on their rooftop, and they should be able to sell that energy to friends and neighbors if they wish.”

That is exactly the same issue being faced in Australia, and exactly the cause that Jones should be taking up.

The industry, and the consumers, Jones’ own listeners, understand this. At the height of his, the Murdoch media’s and the Coalition’s railing against the carbon tax because of its supposed impact on electricity prices, the solar sector deliberately targeted News Ltd papers and talk-back radio for their advertising campaign.

They understood that the sector of the market most disturbed by rising prices would be quick to seize on a technology that could help reduce those prices. That technology is rooftop solar, about to be joined by battery storage, in a development that will tip the balance of power from the world’s most powerful industry, to consumers.

Over the coming years, the rights of those consumers, pitched against a range of powerful vested interests looking to slow down the transition, will be a critical event. Just like farmers versus coal and CSG. You could hardly imagine a better cause for Jones to champion.

Footnote: One extraordinary comment on Q&A last night came from former LNP leader Tim Fisher, who suggested a giant railway bridge “across the Brindabellas” – whatever that might mean – with wind turbines between the spans and trains running across the top.

Quite a flight of fancy. We think Fisher might have gotten this idea from an Italian proposal to do this (see picture below) to a viaduct, adding both wind turbines and solar panels.

Wind_Turbines viaduct

The idea never got up. But if Fisher is talking about bridges across the Brindabellas (which surround Canberra), then perhaps he means Parliament House. We couldn’t think of a better location, and it already has a flagpole which would be a perfect position for a single turbine, of the sort that so upset Abbott during his Rottnest holiday a few years ago.

parliament house

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

62 Comments
  1. Clayton Drury 4 years ago

    Hi Giles,
    A similar thought occurred to me while watching the show last night. Any thoughts on who has the necessary access to sit down with him and get him started on a journey of discovery? Maybe you could send him a RenewEconomy info pack.

    • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

      Mark Ogge (one of the BZE founding members) has been on his show (as an Australia Institute representative I think) to discuss the ills of fossil fuel energy and CSG problem in Northern NSW and QLD. Didn’t get to the positive story of RE I don’t think. Remember Jones is tied to the establishment and so his opinions and ignorant memes reflect those used in those circles. He just amps it all up for the great ignorant masses of Sydney. As long as the establishment of Sydney have their money in BHP, Rio Tinto, Whitehaven or whatever Jones will never be spearheading the rapid transition economy we need. A useful ally at times to counter CSG and coal in rich farming regions yes. leader of the zero carbon Australia movement: I think never.

      • mick 4 years ago

        was interested to watch him shitcan Whitehaven till I realised he was having a shot at vaile

  2. Well Alan Jones sure does have a lot of wind

    • Ken Dyer 4 years ago

      Exactly. One must not forget that he is an indefatigable supporter of himself, who shamelessly promotes whatever makes him look good. If Abbot’s sqauwk about coal being good for humanity had been met with anything other than derision by the majority of the electorate, you can bet he would be on Abbott’s bandwagon singing his praise for coal.

      It is all about trust, and given Jones plays fast and lose with the facts to suit his argument, one must seriously question whether a shock jock is an appropriate champion. I am not convinced.
      I would like to hear Alan Jones declare for all to hear,

      YOU CANNOT EAT COAL, IT IS NOT NEEDED. LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND,

      Now that is a good use for his long wind.

      • yes I think we (the general public) forget why and what for media organizations exist, they exist to make a profit, they make profit from selling advertising, the more readers/viewers/listeners they get the more money they make and thus they will make what ever noise gets attention

      • Ron Horgan 4 years ago

        Ken, my enemy’s enemy is my “friend”. Jones has a long enough public record to be a known quantity. It is known that social opinion will suddenly tip from about 20% to a general majority if the 20% is influential. To date, informed opinion such as this forum, is easily ignored by the “science is crap” mafia that controls our law making.
        Jones can be the means of sweeping this government away.
        He will be my champion if he can make that happen.
        Lets pile on the praise for Alan Jones Australia’s savour

        • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

          Jones actually loves this government and it’s values. If you think he’s about to get on the Tony hangman train think again. Not until it’s obvious to blind freddie that Abbott will lose the next election will Jones switch horses.

          • Ron Horgan 4 years ago

            No he doesn’t. AJ Savior of the people has been to the optician and his improved sight lets him hedge his bets.
            From love coal, to never in farmland, is a little sideways shift to get with the strength. The tipping point is nigh and the fabulous AJ is the man who could make this happen.
            If that feeds his ego so what. Simon pure hasn’t worked,
            And yes Mick it does.

          • mick 4 years ago

            apologies for cynical mate

        • mick 4 years ago

          you are one cynical individual mate from an old Persian proverb to an Italian one(the end justifies the means)

  3. Ron Horgan 4 years ago

    This is a real possibility. Jones is a demagogue and thrives by rousing his followers with his emotional oratory. On the programme he was emphatic that he respects his callers as they were his power base. He would ridicule politicians as fair game and employ any tactic against them without scruple.
    As renewable energy becomes more popular he might indeed flag the tipping point by
    jumping ship to vehemently promote this cause.
    If possible Giles should engage directly with him, as he may be as influential as a Murdoch or a Packer. He could be the biggest champion for renewable energy.

  4. Mark Roest 4 years ago

    Sometimes both ends of a spectrum do meet like this — like the Ouroboros snake swallowing its tail. People from both ends of the spectrum appreciate Bernie Sanders. He, like Elizabeth Warren and Jill Stein, is good at articulating fundamental values, and identifying violations of them. Have Giles give Tony a crash course with plenty of time for challenge and argument, and Tony will be good to go.

  5. John McKeon 4 years ago

    Well, now that Giles has articulated the thought, I say “Why not?”.

    I have often found it easy to fume and hiss at idiotic, ignorant self-serving politics – but here we are presented with an Alan Jones – the human being – with all the complexity that that entails, who has at least once been pictured in the media with Drew Hutton, as they both lead the charge to confront the gas industry – and that industry’s destruction of farm land and aquifers.

    A compatible circumstance is evoked by the image of Clive Palmer and Al Gore (with the Greens and associated figures quietly working their magic in the background).

  6. Pete 4 years ago

    Come on Giles, get on to Alan Jones and tell him the true price of wind power. If he accepts what you say he could really stick it to Abbott; if he continues to spout these silly numbers then we’ll know he’s being paid by the fossil fuel industry.

  7. mick 4 years ago

    mate everything I thought has been covered one thing though I saw a bash fest in a boxing tent years ago, one fella was way too pissed but absolutely determined he kept getting clocked then one of his mates would point him in the right direction and away he goes that would be jones,go for It say. p.s. the silly fella was treated gently and only bruised enough to impress his gf.

  8. JustThink4Once 4 years ago

    It must be hard for Jones to rally against renewable energy and yet be so vocal about coal mines and fracking. Perhaps it’s time for him to choose a team, regardless of his political affiliations. I can’t see him do an about face on the issue however, as that would affect his credibility with the listeners. Predominantly white, aging and stuck in the past.

  9. Peter Campbell 4 years ago

    I suspect that Jones could be as vehemently pro-solar as anti-wind. I have met a few like him who pick one thing and say that is what we should be doing to the exclusion of all else. He wants simple messages – one thing to praise to heaven and one thing to denigrate absolutely.
    That we should be doing solar PV AND solar thermal AND wind AND geothermal AND pumped hydro AND batteries AND load management (etc) is a bit too complex for people selling simple messages and confected outrage.

    • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

      “pick and stick” as the motto of he and his entourage goes.

  10. Steve159 4 years ago

    I’m curious to know if anyone has any idea why Labor (last night on Q&A) was mute/MIA on the blatant untruths trotted out by Alan Jones (and Lambie).

    For example, Jones’ taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy. Wrong. The certificates don’t cost taxpayers anything. ZERO TAXPAYER subsidies, yet it slides on by, past Mark Butler, unchallenged. Why?

    Same for Jacquie Lambie’s nonsense about how electricity bills have a renewable energy component (3.6%), in glaring contrast to the fact that the government’s own research is that prices are kept lower with a RET.

    Then the ridiculous figure that wind costs $,1500 per kWh, while coal costs (if memory serves me correctly), only $79.

    Wt?

    Is Butler just plain incompetent, uninformed, or what?

    ps for those needing the link (government website on the RET)

    http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/renewable-energy-target-scheme

    In which it explains that Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are created by installation companies (for house-hold solar etc), and then purchased by “RET-liable entities with an obligation under the LRET also have a legal requirement under the SRES to buy STCs and surrender them to the Clean Energy Regulator on a quarterly basis.”

    Where exactly do TAXPAYERS enter the picture in the above transaction?

    Butler, or Shorten could benefit greatly from that misunderstanding in the populace.

    He could have said “hands up all those who believe the RET involves taxpayer subsidies?” (wait for 90% of the audience to raise their hands)

    “Well, in truth the RET does not cost taxpayers anything. Sorry to say, but you’ve all been played, you’ve all be had, treated like dummies. That’s what Abbott and co really think about you – that you’re all a bunch of dummies, easily fooled.”

    • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

      Butler did point out the coal power stations were paid for by taxpayers and fully depreciated which was something. He’s only just warming to RE, at the start of this term of government he was openly questioning carbon pricing — in principle — as a policy platform for the ALP!

      • Steve159 4 years ago

        Yes I was aware he said that … but it seems something else is going on.

        For example, labor could be screaming “the RET saves money on your electricity bills”, but no, silence.

        They could be yelling from rooftops, “RE is a boom industry everywhere else on the planet except here … why is the LNP so against job creation?”

        And a hundred other equally forceful and evocative statements.

        Then we have SA LABOR premier considering nuclear energy, when we know that solar alone could power the planet (central Australia anyone?) and that’s before we even consider wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro.

        Nah, something is rotten in the state of … Australia

        One wonders how much they’ve been paid to go quietly into that good night; to NOT rage, rage against the dying of the entreprenurial light of renewable energy

        • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

          yes despite Andrews Government asking them to repeal Section 7c from the RET legislation which prohibits duplication at state level (so state RETs) they didn’t support Larissa Waters amendment. Victoria signed off on Sec 7c with the target of 41,000 GWh and the Feds have trashed that so there’s a moral obligation to remove 7c once removing the 41,000 GWh target.

          There’s deep divisions within ALP, many key ministers like just for example Combett and Ferguson take golden parachutes into the oil, gas and coal industry. Then there’s the revolving (revolting) door of staffers and industry executives.

          • mick 4 years ago

            regards divisions sa premier weatheral jacked up against anu diverstment,butler possibly got a shock to see the amount of support (audience and tweets) also even labor pollies get lobbiest jobs which as an aside should be be looked into when running against Australian interests I don’t mean to be snarky against labor just that their brand came up

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            ” I don’t mean to be snarky against labor”

            Why not, if they’re incompetent, and/or bought. It’s our future we’re talking about.

          • mick 4 years ago

            mate I regard them all with contempt however I have no right to force my opinion/prejudice and you are dead right right if we don’t fix this we are all stuffed

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            “however I have no right to force my opinion/prejudice”

            You have every right to yell from the rooftops, something is rotten in Austrlia.

            A healthy democracy relies on each of us speaking up. And you can’t force an opinion on anyone — Viktor Frankl said it well, the last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances.

          • mick 4 years ago

            okay youre still right cheers for the encouragement, normally im one of those noisy rowdy bastards that don’t need the pretence of an excuse to jack up absolutely love a scrap no probs having said that this forum is fairly new to me im learning heaps and communicating with blokes who wouldn’t stop to say gday in the boozer that’s why im being gentle

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            Mick

            I wonder how much we (Australians) have become complacent, too-comfortable to “rage against the dying of the light” (of our spirit, of our entrepreneurialism).

            I believe this is reflected in the lack of any highly-principled statesmen (/women) in parliament. By that I mean, they reflect us. When politicians like Abbott can openly lie and show such an appalling lack of principle and still be in contention for re-election, I wonder … what’s happened to us.

          • mick 4 years ago

            mate I don’t know what to say to you complacent and comfortable yes trodden down by authority yes lack of comprehension of the big picture yes represented by leaders we dont deserve possibly what I saw in the army convinced me to the marrow that the alternative would suck bigtime

    • Reality Bites 4 years ago

      The certificates don’t cost taxpayers anything? Why don’t you study the REC system and you will discover that there is no such thing as a free solar subsidy! Under the RET, energy utilities must buy REC’s and the REC’s are then provided to parties that go ahead with a renewable project. Do you think that the utilities just absorb the cost?! Are you one of the Labor minions that believes there is a money tree? Jones and Lambie are ill informed and really do not have the technical skills or knowledge to discuss the matter, so yes they are wrong about the numbers but you and most of the people commenting here are equally ill informed. Oh and also, if you already have a huge surplus of generation in the NEM, then mandating another 33,500 GWh to increase the supply will definitely reduce the market price. So yes the RET is forcing down the price, but it is forcing structural change when there is no real long term plan to address that structural change.

      • Steve159 4 years ago

        “Under the RET, energy utilities must buy REC’s and the REC’s are then provided to parties that go ahead with a renewable project. Do you think that the utilities just absorb the cost?!”

        IRRELEVANT!!!!!!

        The argument is that no taxpayer money (let me repeat that “TAXPAYER” — i.e. GOVERNMENT money) is paid to polluters — unlike Direct Action, which DOES involve taxpayers (government) paying polluters.

        Whether or not polluters pass on their costs to consumers is irrelevant to the fact that the RET does not involve taxpayers (government money).

        IN ANY EVENT, the Abbott Government’s own analysis reveals that the RET keeps electricity prices for CONSUMERS lower than would otherwise be the case.

        http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-modelling-shows-power-prices-will-fall-if-ret-stays-20140624-zskbd.html#ixzz35jah4F6D

        The only people/companies paying anything is the polluters (and their employees), which is exactly what the RET is intending to achieve.

        My guess, by your response, is that you’re employed in the coal-mining sector. I empathise with your situation — I recommend transferring and/or upsklling your skills to the renewable energy sector.

        • Reality Bites 4 years ago

          Ok so your key argument is that TAXPAYERS don’t pay, fair enough, however so you agree that the Australian public does pay? The RET and REC regime is simply a way of subsidising the costs of renewables with a government mandated system. So you agree that Jacquie Lambie is not talking nonsense, electricity bills do have a renewable energy component?

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            @Blind Freddy of Cairns

            No I don’t agree — she and you are diametrically opposite to the facts. The RET is actually putting money into the pockets of consumers. The 3.6% figure would be what they’re saving, not paying.

            “The federal government’s case to scrap or weaken the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been dealt a blow, with modelling it commissioned for the review showing consumers will be better off if the target is kept.”

            http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-modelling-shows-power-prices-will-fall-if-ret-stays-20140624-zskbd.html#ixzz35jah4F6D

            Look, I get that you’re angry — but your anger is misdirected. The RET is achieving exactly what it was intended to do: transfer wealth from high-CO2 producing energy sources (chiefly coal-fired power) to non-CO2 polluting energy sources (renewables). I think your anger (based, I assume, on your denial of the need for CO2 abatement?) would be better directed towards governments who introduced, or allowed any RET scheme at all — which includes the LNP for agreeing to the 33,500 gWh figure.

            But that focus would need to disprove or discredit the vast majority of scientists who assert we most definitely DO need to achieve CO2 emission reductions.

            If you do accept the need for CO2 emission reductions, then the RET is a good way to acheive that, insofar as NO taxpayer money is involved, and consumers are actually better off (net benefit), so … why the upset?

          • Chris Fraser 4 years ago

            You’re right i think. The RET makes it all transparent, the long term costs of new renewable energy are borne by retailers who pass as much on to consumers as they can. RET costs are miniscule compared to the social cost of carbon, which the RET subverts. RET energy replaces, rather than adds to, existing undersubscribed dirty energy capacity (so dirty old coal is now looking for a dignified exit). Fossil fueled development on the other hand is unstransparent. Lots of little costs like tax claims for prospecting reserves, grants to favourites and such like hide the real cost of providing fossil-fuel energy.

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            Chris

            Spot on. The RET is transparent, while subsidies for fossil fuels are not.

            Mind you, I recall one organisation estimating the extent of subsidies for fossil fuel, and as I recall, it was around a billion per year.

      • Steve159 4 years ago

        As for your “Oh and also, if you already have a huge surplus of generation in the NEM, then mandating another 33,500 GWh to increase the supply”

        Huge surplus (of distribution capacity) was due to gold plating, not the RET, and it’s the RET that is blamed for higher electricity prices (which are actually due to gold-plating the network).

        Also, it is not mandating another 33,500 GWh to increase the supply — the intent of the RET is to REPLACE dirty, CO2 producing energy sources.

        and “dirty” is included in reference to the $600 million in health-related costs of coal in the Hunter Valley.

        Perhaps you are so fortunate as to not be within range of such pollution. Good for you. Don’t you go worrying yourself about other people’s poor health. No sirree.

        http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/hunter-valley-coals-annual-health-bill-600-million-doctors-groups-say-20150222-13lfch.html

        • Reality Bites 4 years ago

          Wrong again buddy! The huge surplus exists because generation capacity was built for future needs based on forecasts at the time, however demand has actually fallen rather than increased. Sorry if you have health issues, however is that your way of sideswiping the fact that you lost the argument?!

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            “Wrong again buddy!” – do you have a mirror handy?

            ‘Gold plating’ rife, assets in for a hiding [ http://www.smh.com.au/business/gold-plating-rife-assets-in-for-a-hiding-20130131-2dmjg.html#ixzz3gZfY6GcJ ]

            Gold-plating the power grid [ http://www.smh.com.au/business/goldplating-the-power-grid-20120705-21iv5.html ]

            Network gold-plating confirmed, as Senate report slammed as ‘gutless’

            Gold plating is the primary cause for higher electricity prices, not the RET.

            household solar + efficiecies is partly responsible (for reduced demand), but that’s in response to the gentailers profit-gouging their consumers, and incompetency in their forecasts.

          • Reality Bites 4 years ago

            Just to correct your misguided ideas, the network and the grid are not generation assets. Gold plating network distribution assets is a fact, gold plating generation assets is not. The forecasts by the utilities also go through a rigorous process of approval by the Federal government body known as the Australian Energy Regulator. If the utilities are incompetent then so to was the Federal government and the States, therefore it was government initiated and institutionalised incompetence, however the AER reason for being was to stop the states from ripping cash out of the utilities to the detriment of the reliability of the assets. The AER was implemented by Howard in 2005 but never corrected by successive Labor Federal governments until the coalition got back in and changed the criteria to prevent the gold plating in the current determination.

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            The original context of this thread was (mostly) about the untruths regarding taxpayers subsidising the RET which is blamed for the higher electricity prices.

            Now, you are correct, distribution (e.g. Transgrid) is different to the retailers and generators. However, the RET is wrongly blamed for increases in prices, the increases are due to gold-plating the network. Also, the fact that dirty, CO2 emitting coal-fired power stations are under-subscribed is their poor analysis of future needs that are now reflecting increasing efficiencies, and high uptake of household solar. I take it you are familiar with SA shutting down power stations in response to greater renewable capacity (wind and solar)?

            So again, irrespective of whatever you say, my original post remains pertinent and valid.

            As per my first post, Butler et al should say to audiences “hands up all those who believe the RET involves taxpayer subsidies?” (wait for 90% of the audience to raise their hands)

            “Well, in truth the RET does not cost taxpayers anything. Sorry to say, but you’ve all been played, you’ve all be had, treated like dummies. That’s what Abbott and co really think about you – that you’re all a bunch of dummies, easily fooled.”

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            As for your “gold plating generation assets is not (a fact)” that is incorrect — within the context of the need to migrate to lower CO2 emissions, coal-fired power especially brown-coal fired power is “gold-plated redundancy”, and will be increasingly so.

            The fact that Abbott has achieved a reduction from the explicit, original 41,000 GWh, shows he’s pandering to ‘gold-plated’ interests. Who knows, perhaps the generators are literally exchanging their (increased) profits (as a result of Abbott’s intervention) for gold bullion.

            “Blind Freddy”, let me explain in simpler terms — “gold-plating” in the context of the network is a fact, as you admit. However, ‘gold-plating’ generation is similar — they profiting from increased use of coal-fired power, in contrast to what the world is expecting (decreases in coal-fired power). That’s gold-plating production (it’s unnecessary, ill-advised, and countervailing the world impetus towards renewable energy)

          • Steve159 4 years ago

            “however the AER reason for being was to stop the states from ripping cash out of the utilities to the detriment of the reliability of the assets.” I’m sure many Victorians (and soon residents of NSW) will be ever so pleased their electricity assets (generation, distribution, retailers) are all state owned, and thus able to be plundered by the states.

            Oh, wait…

            Also, I take it that if brown-coal fired power companies were to write down their assets, and shift into renewables, that they would be … what? disallowed from doing so? You know, achieving exactly what the RET is designed to do?

            The fact that they’ve lobbied Abbott and co to reduce the RET, at the expense of the renewable sector, is fine by you?

            That we’re now seeing an increase in CO2 emissions especially by brown-coal power stations is what .. music to your ears (gold in your pocket)?

    • Brian 4 years ago

      Steve, I am also exasperated at Butler and Labor being unwilling to tackle the nonsense that Jones, Lambie and others pout in their opposition to RE.

      This reticence is not just reserved for Q&A. Greg Hunt can trot out his misleading claims for Direct Action without Labor throwing a punch in reply.

      Hunt’s arguments are neatly dissected in scientific and economic journals but these counter-arguments are never picked up by Butler. He usually sounds as though he is not across the details of his portfolio.

      • Steve159 4 years ago

        Brian

        That’s exactly my point — it’s immensely exasperating to see them so incompetent. They’ve got an easy, irrefutable trump hand, with which to obliterate the Abbott government whenever these issues surface.

        They’re either incompentent, or they’re awaiting their parachuting into prime (mining, fossil-fuel) industry jobs.

  11. wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

    Jone’s campaigning and opinions have a history of marked changes in direction, almost spinning on a dime, when a large corporate interest starts making large contributions to Jones’s show or his broadcaster. Attacks on the banks, quietly stopped. Telstra bashing, same.

    If I recall correctly, Media Watched cover several instances like that where Laws and Jones ran deliberate, concerted, targeted discussions whipping his audience in a frenzy week after week until the ‘opponent’ start to see things his way at which point criticism ceased. 2GB brought in tougher rules after the cash for comment scandal saw 2GB, Jones and Laws all investigated for 90 breaches of the industry code and five breaches of 2UE’s license conditions. Amounting to $18m in financial arrangements according to the (not very keen to investigate everything) ABA.

    So Broadcast Law has been tightened up since, another route than cash may be need to be sought to Alan Jone’s heart. Pearls?

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1095125.htm

  12. Chokyi Nyingpo 4 years ago

    Be careful about tasking the devil you know before considering the angel you don’t… he is not to be trusted – to wit:

    Jones cannot (yet) tell us in what year he was born (1941, 42 or 43);

    he cannot (will not?) tell us why he had to resign from all previous positions prior to going on radio, nor will past employers;

    why he was not endorsed as a Liberal candidate after trying numerous times to be preselected;

    why 68% of his audience say they feel less safe than they used to, compared to 49%
    per cent of all Australians;

    his cash-for-comments episodes;

    But more importantly, he is a hater – through erratic judgement, bad temper, harsh treatment of those he puts on the outer, and far too many intense relations with his favourites.

    As Chris Masters so eloquently wrote in his best-selling book, Jonestown, none of these things have ever been disputed by anyone…

    … to counter conspiracy theories with facts is probably a category mistake. But here are a few: left-wingers didn’t move Jones on from Brisbane Grammar, The Kings School, coach of the Wallabies and the Balmain Tigers. Something went wrong each time that had nothing to do with party politics and a great deal to do with Jones’s character. Nor can left-wingers be blamed for Jones’s failures inside the Liberal Party: the failed preselections, a failed election attempt and a curtailed career as a speechwriter for Malcolm Fraser. Nor was the Australian Broadcasting Authority, which tore Jones’s reputation apart in the cash-for-comment inquiry, a nest of left-wingers. Perhaps what Akerman, Bolt and the rest of the Moloch press find most left-wing about Jonestown is its way of reminding us that all this happened.

    Get him at your peril.

  13. john 4 years ago

    Jones’ idea that the RET cost consumers is wrong as strangely enough the Warburton Enquiry found.
    I am talking about the price of electricity in particular here.
    It was set up to find that the cost of RE was horrible to consumers in fact it showed that consumers benefited because of the downward price curve for base load power.
    I have no idea where he got his figures from they have no semblance to reality.
    As to Jones being a champion of RE he would possibly be as dangerous as beneficial.
    His target audience is the frightened and fearful who view any change to society as some threat for him to suddenly embrace RE would confused the confused target audience.
    I very much doubt that Jones has any moral view on this subject at all and would view with suspicion any thing he said on the subject.

    • mick 4 years ago

      I sent a note to his radio station addressed to him(no trees cut down but several electrons severally inconvenienced) don’t expect any sort of legible reply

  14. howardpatr 4 years ago

    Sent Jones an email pointing out his 15 fold plus error and sent him a link that shows just how wrong he was. It was probably deliberate so don’t expect to get a response.

    Guess you have to expect such behavior from a big mouth like Jones.

    As said he would be great to have as a convert. Would be easier to accept his exaggeration and inflammatory ways.

  15. phred01 4 years ago

    Just like Shakespeare play this article is ” Much to do about nothing” Alan Jones sings`from the same Hymn book as the Rabbit

  16. Richard Thompson 4 years ago

    I really like the idea of a large wind turbine over parliament house. It would be a fine memorial to the Abbott government. It would through necessity be complex as the axis of the blades would have to be adjustable to vary from vertical to catch wind, to horizontal to gather the enormous amount of hot air generated while the house is sitting.

  17. Cooma Doug 4 years ago

    The calc offerred by the technical druid is a little bit wrong in it’s terminology. Just remove the h from the sentence and alter the number 20 to truely reflect the cost of new plant.”

    “He said that coal-fired electricity costs $79/kWh, and wind was 20 times as much, at $1502/kWh”.

    Should read as follows

    Coal fired power costs $2000/kW, and wind is 25% less, at $1500/kW.

    Here we are referring to new constructions. What he did was change the power rating of the construction to energy which are two totally different things.
    A 1.5 MW wind turbine costs about 2.25 million dollars
    A new coal ps cost about 3 million dollars for each 1.5 MW
    What Jones was saying is enough for me to suggest that we look for another front line man.

    • Ron Horgan 4 years ago

      Doug, we can divide the situation into two parts; AJ’s robust and highly effective public presentation, and his interpretation of the facts.
      His persona is unique and he really could tip the issue in favor of renewables if he was so inspired. The facts are just facts, they lie around us like autumn leaves,. They have little effect until they are swept up and energized by emotions that people will respond to.
      AJ is the cannon, the accurate facts his ammunition, his reward is food for his ego. He is the man who can change governments.
      Don’t knock it, this is the same motivation that drives captains of industry, Murdoch is a prime example. Its all about power and ego and unless we recognize the rules of getting effective motivation ,our facts are so much compost.

      • QA 4 years ago

        Facts not required. So your assertion is we should live by falsehoods and lies, as long as the leader uses jazz hands.

  18. lucyjunior 4 years ago

    You are absolutely right. The best friend of renewables today can come from what was a traditional enemy. We need conservative commentators championing green energy.

  19. QA 4 years ago

    Renewables can’t supply all the power we’ll need in the future, Why? You can’t capture all the power from sources like solar & wind. The source is abundant but diffuse. That makes me sad, I’d like it to be 100% renewable, but science and money has to be part of this discussion.
    The answer for base load power already exists. The science was proved 50 yeas ago. Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). Like most things it sounds to good it’s probably BS. This is not about making weapons of war this is about electricity generation and much more. If you are interested…

    http://www.itheo.org/articles/world%E2%80%99s-first-thorium-reactor-designed
    https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2010/4/liquid-fluoride-thorium-reactors
    The USA, China, India and others all have LFTR in one form or another programs. Should Australia watch it happen or get moving towards the future?
    Peace out.

    • jeffhre 4 years ago

      Diffuse? Doesn’t that mean it is distributed everywhere? And since there is no pollution, it can be created where it is used.

      • QA 4 years ago

        Diffuse: not concentrated or localized.
        The best solar cells we can produce are less than 50% efficient. This is a remarkable achievement compared to cells made 20 years ago, but fall well short of conventional fuels (the price should include polluting but unfortunately it doesn’t) and conversion rates.
        Quote:”Such solar cells are complicated and are not used in residential or commercial applications… because they are bloody expensive”[1].
        Size matters because it’s a diffuse resource [2]. So you build these expensive power farms in the desert or in the country. Now you have a problem with power transmission and loses [3], the further away from the consumer the higher the cost. Then you have the care and maintenance of the power pylons.
        Wishing renewables will do the job is not going to work, I wish it was otherwise. Renewables are only part of the answer, about a third at best.
        If we have to use reactors for the next 50-80 years, until renewables catch up, I vote for LFTR or a similar technology.

        [1] http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/02/which-solar-panels-most-efficient/

        [2] http://ewh.ieee.org/cmte/substations/scm0/Raleigh%20Meeting/Conference%20PDFs/Technical%20tours/PE_Solar_Farm_Fact_Sheet.pdf

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_energy_consumption
        [3] http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=105&t=3

        • jeffhre 4 years ago

          Pretending millions of structures cannot get all their electricity needs from a fusion reaction receiver on the roof, and with zero dollar transmission costs, is disingenuous. A new one is installed in the US every two minutes. And it is an even better value proposition in South Australia.

          Comparing conventional fuels, which have stored sunlight that fell on the earth from millions of years ago, to solar “intensity” is a remarkable fallacy. It’s an unusable metric. And in any case, ten times more solar energy strikes the surface of the earth in a year, than the total amount of energy derived from all the fuel that has been used – ever. Nuclear Included.

          Solar has not been the most installed source of power for the last two years because “solar cells are complicated and are not used in residential or commercial applications… because they are bloody expensive”…it has been installed at such a rapid rate because the prices have fallen by over 50% in the last 4 years! 1 GW of solar takes 1 year to permit and install. 1 GW of nuclear takes an average of 13 years to permit and install. That’s with well known PW reactors.

          http://cleantechnica.com/solar-power/

          Nuclear is now much more expensive than solar on an LCOE comparison. Nuclear continues to rise in price. Solar technology advances continue to drive it’s costs cheaper. Vogtle, Hinckley, Olkiluoto 3 Finland and China, compare, current costs – not hopes and prayers, anywhere you like, of any PW reactor.

          LFTR is great. However, show me one commercial scale working LFTR reactor. Is that the high speed transition to nuclear you are referring to? And what is the cost of transitioning the industry through experimental, to demonstration, to commercial scale LFTR?

          Right now the industry is not even listening to LFTR advocates. And don’t point to Alvin Weinberg’s 1960’s examples as a demonstration scale unit – it was not. Scaling up LFTR would be an entirely new enterprise.

          Note:LCOE for wind $.05/kWh and solar $.07/kWh. http://www.rechargenews.com/solar/1404767/austin-energy-600mw-solar-rfp-draws-record-low-bids shows cost of long term contracts for solar at or below 4c per kWh for Austin, Texas. Your conclusions from 5-10 years ago do not hold up.

          Don’t give up. Someone needs to fight the good fight for LFTR. But you need to understand – where you stand.

  20. Les Johnston 4 years ago

    Agree. Although my views are not the same as Alan Jones, I respect his right to express an opinion. His revelation on the Werris Creek groundwater matter is important as it sheds light on vested interests and ignorance. I remain optimistic that information will see us all change our views from time to time. Hence, more details on cost transfers and subsidies will progress this matter.

  21. disqus_3PLIicDhUu 4 years ago

    Most of us like retards for politicians, we like someone we can relate to, Alan Jones for PM.

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.