Wind and solar facing “valley of death” despite changing economics

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Australia faces energy crisis caused by failure of Labor and Coalition to face reality of both climate change and the technological transformation of the energy sector.

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(Greens MP Adam Bandt on Monday pushed a bill to extend the renewable energy target beyond 2020. It was voted down by the Coalition and by Labor, who vowed never to do a deal on climate and energy with the Greens again.  Bandt’s speech – reprinted in almost its entirety – highlights some real dangers about policy choices moving forward)

panels solar copyAustralia is facing an energy crisis caused by the failure of Labor and the Coalition to face the reality of both climate change and the technological transformation that has changed the economics of the energy sector.

And they look set to once again create another three to five year valley of death for renewables, by reaching across the aisle to agree on a ‘Clean Energy Target’ that counts new coal-fired power stations as ‘clean’ and leaves proposed new renewable builds in limbo because the existing Renewable Energy Target will soon run out.

As a result, the energy crisis we face will grow worse as will the climate emergency we are experiencing.

How we got here

Tony Abbott set out to destroy politically the clean energy program of the Labor-Green power-sharing Parliament, including a price on pollution. Once in power, he acted on it and repealed as much legislation as he could get away with.

This set in train the beginning of an investment strike in the wholesale energy market at the same time as a lot of existing coal generation was starting to reach its retirement age.

The uncertainty created by an Abbott government, with its virulent anti- carbon tax campaign and its climate denialism, meant that even though renewable generation was falling in cost, investors held back decisions on the next wave of investment in new generation.

Then Labor joined with the Coalition government in cutting the Renewable Energy Target from 45,000 MWh to 33,000 MWh, intensifying the investment strike in the energy sector.

As pressure mounted, fossil fuel generators were able to game the market using peaks in demand to drive up prices and rake in the money.

Instead of creating the certainty that was needed for a new wave of renewable investment that would drive down prices, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used an extreme weather event in South Australia to declare war on renewables.

Despite the near unanimous chorus from industry and experts calling for a new stable mechanism to drive investment in renewable generation, the Prime Minister has continued his war, refusing to stare down the coal industry stooges who spruik for government-funded coal power and fail to act even on the recommendations of his own Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a clean energy target.

And now Labor has ditched their policy of an emissions trading scheme for the electricity sector and last week has signaled they will support a revised Clean Energy Target that includes coal fired power generation.

A Labor/Liberal deal means a ‘valley of death’

Such a Clean Energy Target risks creating a “valley of death” for new renewable energy investment that is only just recovering from Labor and the Coalition’s attacks on the renewable energy target.

While the falling cost of renewables, which are now the cheapest new generation and soon will be cheaper than all existing fossil fuel generation as well, is accelerating investment, it is a precarious recovery and the recent investment we have seen falls well short of what is needed.

If Labor and Liberal agree on a ‘clean energy target’ that includes coal but don’t include any mechanism to start closing coal-fired generators, it may well create a short-term ‘valley of death’ for renewables.

Because the Finkel review recommends not extending the RET past 2020/2030 but simply starting instead with a new CET from 2020, any Labor/Liberal deal may put the brakes on some new renewables investment between now and 2020. I have spoken to renewables

Investors concerned that if they build something before 2020 in reliance on support from the RET, that support will run out in 2030. This will put them at a disadvantage compared with investors who build after 2020, who will have the advantage of the CET well past 2030.

In other words, building before 2020 only gives you 10 years of support, but building after 2020 gives you more. This may encourage renewables investors to hold off for a few years, when we should be encouraging the opposite.

And as much as Labor might like to think they can simply ‘turn up the dial’ on ambition if they win office, this goes against the Finkel report and the words of the Chief Scientist himself, who has made it repeatedly clear that the scheme should be given time to settle in and that there should be no short-term changes to the trajectory.

Further, the whole Finkel report and the idea of a CET is premised on COAG first agreeing to the emissions reduction trajectory, which informs the emissions intensity level of the target. Presumably, any change to ambition would thus have to go back to COAG, allowing a recalcitrant State to hold out against any future progressive Federal government.

As such, if a Labor/Liberal CET deal is struck, there will be at least 3 years during which a paltry target will be in place, new coal will be incentivized and new renewables placed at a further disadvantage.

With a Prime Minister now actively canvassing how to use existing Commonwealth funds to extend the life of coal-fired power stations and others calling for direct subsidy of new coal, and with coal potentially being subsidized by the ‘clean energy target’, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario where government support encourages the building of a new coal-fired power station during this 3-5 year ‘valley of death’.

In turn, once built, the pressure will be immense on future governments not to adjust the CET or withdraw support so as to devalue these plants.

A Labor/Liberal CET deal that includes coal is a recipe for hobbling renewables and subsidizing the new build of what would otherwise be stranded fossil fuel assets. It is a seriously bad move that has short-term failings, the potential to lock-in long-term fossil fuel assets and a lack of any real mechanism to ‘turn up the dial’ should a future government have more ambition.

Overarching all this, without any complementary mechanism to retire coal-fired power stations, there will be less incentive to build new renewables to take their place, especially if

Governments start flagging a willingness to pay to keep coal stations open longer, as the Prime Minister did last week.

And when we also have the Chair of the House Environment Committee calling to scrap the existing Renewable Energy Target and Tony Abbott and the Nationals wanting new coal fired power stations built with taxpayers’ money, the scenario I’ve outlined looks more and more like becoming a reality.

A different course

That is why the Labor should not be signing up to whatever is on the table for the sake of an artificial bipartisanship.

Labor’s ‘come hither’ approach to the Coalition is not delivering for the climate.

First Labor ditched the policy of a carbon price and adopted an EIS because it thought that’s where the Coalition would land. Now they’ve ditched the EIS in favor of a CET because they think the Coalition might agree to that.

And at each step, the Trumps in the government dictate what happens next and ‘bipartisanship’ ends up meaning nothing more than Labor offering to sign up to whatever wretched policy Tony Abbott is prepared to approve.

If Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull sign on to a Clean Energy Target that has been authored by Tony Abbott and the Trumps on back bench, it will not create certainty for those that want to invest in renewables and it will prolong the death throes of dying coal generation intensifying the energy crisis.

Enough is enough. It’s time for a different approach.

It is time to ditch the fig leaf of a Clean Energy Target that was first created by Malcolm Turnbull in 2007 in a failed attempt to save John Howard from Kevin Rudd and has now been reheated to save Malcolm Turnbull from Bill Shorten.

The threat of climate change and Australians energy future is too important to be again held hostage to the political gymnastics of the Liberal leadership. We have been down that road before.

Let’s get real. It is not even clear this government has a legal or legitimate majority in the Parliament. This government may not last a week, they may not last a month, and they almost certainly will not last past the next election.

It is not clear that the government even wants to legislate a Clean Energy Target in this Parliament.

Labor should not be dragged into the morass of the Liberal Party room and their coal obsession.

Both the climate imperatives and the electoral politics suggest Labor should sit tight for a year rather than outsource their climate policy to Tony Abbott.

In less than 12 months, they could be in government and have an opportunity to put in place real policies to drive the investment we need in wind and solar.

That is why the Greens are proposing this bill, which will continue and expand the Renewable Energy Target. And it’s why we’re offering Labor a different course.

We hope Labor will come to its senses and realise an economy-wide carbon price is still the best way to go. And indeed, it is with more than a wry smile that I hear all those business groups and electricity generators who tore down our efforts from the 2010 Parliament now saying with a straight face that a carbon price is needed.

But if Labor persists in having an electricity-specific solution to climate change, then here’s a way forward. Let’s have both an expanded RET and a meaningful EIS. One policy to pull renewables in, another to push coal out, both approaches needed.

5: If Labor has the courage of its convictions and goes back to having a decent EIS, we’ll meet you halfway and complement it with a decent RET, as we have in this bill.

We need to act now

But of course, we shouldn’t have to wait until then.

If Labor was willing to uncurl out of their small climate-target election strategy and be back their rhetoric with action, they should support this bill.

If the Prime Minister had any guts he should put on the leather jacket and stare down the Trumps on his backbench and support this bill.

Certainly the members of the cross bench who know investment in renewables are what their electorates need are willing to and I want to thank them for doing so.

Recharging the Renewable Energy Target is the single most important action this Parliament can take to invigorate investment in energy and drive down electricity prices and drive down pollution.

Despite the uncertainty of the last few years the Renewable Energy Target has proved its worth and been the single most important driver of investment in new generation.

The Clean Energy Council estimates over the last two years the RET has

But they warn that this unprecedented level of new investment is not nearly enough to replace the ageing coal generation that is continuing to close over coming decades. And it will stall before 2020 unless future policy certainty is established.

The bill

delivered over 40 projects worth $8 billion under construction throughout rural and regional Australia, delivering over 4000 MW of new generation capacity and more than 4000 jobs.

This bill, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment (Continuing the Energy Transition) Bill 2017 amends Section 40 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 replacing the static yearly target of 33,000 MWh of renewable electricity and sets out near yearly targets from 2020 to 2030 increasing by 2,165 MWh a year. The final target for 2030 is 55,500 MWh.

The bill retains the existing structure of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act, which puts in the place the Renewable Energy Target scheme.

The Renewable Energy Target works by allowing both large-scale power stations and the owners of small-scale systems, such as household solar, to create large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates for every megawatt hour of powerr they generate.

Certificates are then purchased by electricity retailers (who supply electricity to householders and businesses) and submitted to the Clean Energy Regulator to meet the retailers’ legal obligations under the Renewable Energy Target.

This creates a market, which provides financial incentives to both large- scale renewable energy power stations and the owners of small-scale renewable energy systems.

Small-scale technology certificates can be created following the installation of an eligible system, and are calculated based on the amount of electricity a system produces or replaces (that is, electricity from non-renewable sources).

This bill alone – without the other existing policies and targets at a state level and the other policies that the Greens would seek to put in place – will ensure renewables grow to 30% of generation over the next decade. We believe that if all the additional policies outlined in the Greens’ Renew Australia plan were put in place Australia could get to 90% renewables by 2030.

This will ensure investors have another 12 years of certainty about the investment environment for renewables going forward.

Conclusion

Mr. Speaker, as the recent catastrophic floods in the Southern United States and in Bangladesh have shown climate change is making extreme weather worse.

The images of a drowned metropolis beamed on to our screens from Houston will be the permanent future of hundreds of cities and much of the world’s population unless we get global warming under control.

We have little time to act and we must take all the steps necessary to create a different future.

Fortunately, with courage we have the means at our disposal to transform our economy. Changes that will not only prevent catastrophe, but make our society a better place to live and work.

We can become a global energy super power exporting solar fuels and attracting industry that wants to be powered by clean energy.

We can change the way we move by electrifying all our transport.

And we can democratise our energy system with distributed energy in people’s homes and businesses linked by an intelligent grid managed in the public interest.

The key to this is more investment in solar and wind. This bill will help drive that investment.
I commend the bill to the House.

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43 Comments
  1. David leitch 2 years ago

    It will be a very disappointing if the ALP gives into the conservative rump of the Coalition on some watered down CET. The ALP is in front in the opinion polls and there is generally good public support for more renewables.

    Handing over more money to AGL, ORG and EA to keep coal stations going will further entrench their market positions. This would be positive for their share prices but unlikely to reduce electricity prices.

    New, additional supply, and more competition are the ways to reduce generation prices. Further we need to keep thinking about how to reduce network share of consumer bills.

    • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

      “how to reduce network share of consumer bills”

      Get some decent engineering capability into the regulators so useless gold-plated projects aren’t added into the RAB, change the laws so individual assumptions that collectively make up the discount rate aren’t individually appealed, get the discount rate back to something an investment banker would recognise instead of the joke it is, separate the economic regulation into a truly independent agency instead of a government-controlled department capable of being over-ridden or influenced by a minister, fully analyse and properly price consumer exports (including network benefits), change the reliability standards back to reasonable numbers instead of ETU-driven job-creation numbers.

      There. I’ll send my invoice later.

  2. Tom 2 years ago

    Lots of finger pointing and blaming just to propose an expanded RET?
    Pretty weak.

  3. botond 2 years ago

    So, while renewables are the “cheapest” new generation, they are still unviable without government strongarming and funny money?

    Probably because the cost of the necessary backup gas-fired generation is conveniently omitted by Mr Bandt’s favourite sources.

    • Dee Vee 2 years ago

      exactly, renewables are not the cheapest new generation, in fact they are the most expensive.

      • mr_realsurf 2 years ago

        Bloomberg New Energy Finance:
        BNEF research puts the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of a new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station in Australia at $A134-203/MWh; significantly higher than the LCOE of new-build wind at $A61-118/MWh), solar $A78-140/MWh or combined-cycle gas at $A74-90/MWh.

        As for the cost of coal with carbon capture and storage technology added – which many, including Australia’s chief scientist, have said will be the only way new coal could be built, if we are to abide by our national and internaitonal emissions reduction commitments – BNEF says this is difficult to assess, but comes up with an LCOE in the ballpark of $A352/MWh – or around three times the cost of wind or solar.

      • BushAxe 2 years ago

        I hope you trolls hang around you’re always good for a laugh!

    • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago

      Renewables are half the cost of new coal–BEFORE a carbon tax. Here are the numbers for the US. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d26770d22df7d50dde17cdf583f902a6e02a7db3c662d67deb62c66a078c061e.png

    • Jeffrey O'Neill 2 years ago

      Gas backup used to be quite cheap. Then we kicked the domestic has banner to the international one and now have the perverse situation where LNG is exported to Japan, China, South Korea under long term contracts that are in excess of what those customers want. The cost of spot gas inthe local market was attimes 300% now than similar gas in Japan.

      Gas was supposed to be the low carbon transition fuel.

      • Mark Roest 2 years ago

        Every dollar of profit in that deal was stolen out of your pocket, because you were not given the opportunity to vote on it.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        Still is quite cheap in WA, where the government “strong-armed” the gas producers into a long term take or pay agreement which we’d rather not have to keep taking on but the gas producers are very happy about these days.

        Given fugitive emissions and in the case of LNG CO2 venting including F.E.s fossil gas is no transition fuel in the sense of it being lower carbon. It is in the sense that we can use it for gap filling around high renewable generation penetrations. Coal is not good for gap filling, fossil gas or biofuels for that matter are very good for gap filling as we approach 100% RE (quite a way off even at the most ambitious of roll out timetables)

  4. Dee Vee 2 years ago

    Electricity prices are already sky high due to renewables, and even more if you opt to take 100% green energy – an extra 5.5c per k/w from AGL. Reliability has proven to be a huge issue, no one wants their state to go black, because of some greenie idealogy. The greenies need to get onboard with clean coal and stop roadblocking cheaper baseload power for Australia.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Dee Dee you can stop singing from The COALition songbook. The myth of renewables causing ‘sky high’ electricity prices has been debunked for a while now. It is Gas that has been the culprit.There is no such thing as ‘Clean Coal’ unless of course you are washing it so that the black turns to white! Baseload power I assume you mean coal and gas. It is dispatchable power that is relevant and there is nothing at all CHEAP in using coal and gas. The destruction of land and water assets, the health damage to populations and the costs of adaption to climate change caused by fossil fuels, these are all ‘subsidies’ given to fossil fuels for decades that are paid for by taxpayers. ‘Greenie idealogy’ what is that exactly? You can choose to use energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geo thermal that are clean or you can choose to use fossil fuels that pollute and cause damage. It is pretty obvious what the decision to be made is.

      • botond 2 years ago

        Gas is only necessary because renewables leave large gaps that must be filled at short notice. So, renewables+gas caused the price hikes.

        • Rod 2 years ago

          We have had gas fired generation in SA for 50 years.
          Even with Pt Augusta running SA still got 60% of electricity from gas.
          Nope, electricity prices in SA skyrocketed shortly after privatisation. The govt of the day were warned but chose to ignore the warnings.

        • Mark Roest 2 years ago

          Gas is not necessary any more. Batteries are coming in to take over.

      • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

        Well, it’s more the concentration of ownership. Happens to be gas in SA.

    • BushAxe 2 years ago

      Clean coal is an imaginary power source the gullible believe in.

  5. Budman 2 years ago

    Renewables are unreliable and drive up power bills. Get rid of the disgusting RET NOW

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Yeah, lets have more Coal, more Gas. The whole world just needs a lot more Coal and Gas. Its winter, its cold, so lets warm up the whole friggin Planet and keep warming it up by burning as much Coal and Gas as we can. Coal is good for humanity. Coal and only Coal will lift our Indian brothers and sisters out of ‘energy poverty’. Coal is a ‘little black wonder rock’ and Treasurer Scotty, please hand everybody their very own lump of ‘little black wonder rock’ to put up on the home trophy shelf.

      • Budman 2 years ago

        Stupid comment

    • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago

      Rubbish

      • Budman 2 years ago

        Look at SA. HIGHEST POWER PRICES IN THE WORLD

        • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago

          Dear God in Heaven. How many times must we explain to you that (a) SA has had high prices because it was on the edge of the east coast grid, (b) that its fleet of wind farms was built when wind was many times more expensive than it is now, (c) the big FOSSIL FUEL generators game the 5 minute rule to put up prices because they have an oligopolistic stranglehold on the market, (d) the cost of poles and wires has trebled since the grid was privatised by the Libbies, (e) it is not the most expensive in the world.

          AGL and Origin say unambiguously that wind and solar even with storage are the cheapest sources of electricity. ( http://volewica.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/agl-says-renewables-cheaper-than-fossil.html ).

          • Budman 2 years ago

            I call your BS. SA has jumped Denmark to be the MOST expensive for power. Some of what you say is true, but the US has privatised grids and generation but is 1/3 rd the cost of SA. Wetherdill has stuffed that state, it is shrinking economically and population wise. Well done green lunatics.

          • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago

            You make unsupported assertions. I produce the facts. You then say it’s bullshit. Tedious.

        • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago
    • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

      How about pricing in the externalities? Or is palming off the cost to someone else OK?

    • BushAxe 2 years ago

      Removal of the RET and REC’s will just delay the inevitable, the market’s already decided.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      Page XXi and XXii will show you how much they “drive up” power bills in SA (I’m assuming that is where you are from) Part of this amount is energy efficiency schemes like REES which is available to all residents of SA
      AEMC 2016 Residential Electricity Price Trends
      http://apo.org.au/system/files/71850/apo-nid71850-49366.pdf

  6. Budman 2 years ago

    Just need to look at SA to see how good renewables are, a disaster

    • Matty 2 years ago

      renewables are not a disaster in SA. The entire grid system is the disaster! The government refused to make tough decisions for a long time and they were relying on renewables but then as soon as a surge in demand hit the system was unable to cope and collapsed. Not the fault of renewables….the fault of the people managing the system…… with all due respect – frankly you have no idea what you are talking about Budman…..GAS is driving up power bills and the inaction of previous and sitting governments are the other part of the reason.

      Thanks to power companies increasing energy prices, the market for renewables have become cheaper…..they have shot themselves in the foot. Clever people. Sure lets increase prices to such a level that our competitor (renewables) becomes a cheaper option!! DUH

      Ohh and I will say it again….renewables are not “unreliable” no more than normal coal or gas fired supply. However the sun only shines for so many hours and wind doesn’t blow all the time…so the key is energy storage. Lets focus on this and the whole situation will change once its under control.

    • BushAxe 2 years ago

      You guys never research much do you? SA’s always had grid stability issues, there’s been runback faults at Northern PS that have blacked out most of the state as well as the Torrens island cable fire.

  7. Keith Altmann 2 years ago

    As usual, many in this discussion choose to ignore the existential threat posed by climate change inaction. Renewables are a key first step to avoid that threat posed to most life on the planet. As pointed out also the LCOE for renewables is now lower than for coal and nuclear – only a denialist would argue to the contrary. Emissions worldwide must be declining by 2020 – if they are not the challenges to reduce them beyond that date increases the risks and costs and makes an orderly transition to a safe global climate and economy much, much more challenging and costly. Those who argue against urgent moves to a renewable energy sector are arguing against today’s children having a chance to live on a sustainable planet. To me, they are supporters of ecocide that will take down most life on the planet.

    • Matty 2 years ago

      at present I am more concerned about a nuclear winter than so called “climate change”. Whatever argument you believe, renewables are the only way forward….it makes sense. its clean and natural.

      • Keith Altmann 2 years ago

        Matty, we agree on renewables. Both climate change and a nuclear winter are existential threats, just the pace of change will differ but both are catastrophic. I strongly support renewables and also pricing for externalities, which our current political economy fails to do and represents another hidden subsidy to the FFI.

  8. Matty 2 years ago

    The answer my friends is blowing in the wind……I know thats not original, but the answer is Flow battery technology which has much lower LCoS (Levelised Cost of Storage) than Li-ion which has a very short lifespan. We need to begin utilising true Flow Battery technology to store generated energy for use when demand requires it. The market has not got their head around energy storage and the knee jerk reaction by a SA government that doesn’t care that the whole battery system will need to be replaced in 6-7 years at a massive cost has not helped with the cost of storage argument hence prices will not be able to drop as much as they should. So….. lets really begin to look at viable Flow Battery technology options and begin giving them a go, this is how we will be able to move away from fossil fuel base load generation. Ohh and stop hassling the Coalition about coal fired generation. If they pull the rug out of this sector what will happen to the hundreds if not thousands of people that currently rely on this for putting food on the family table! Easy to argue against when its not you that relies on it to feed the kids. BUT we need to find a way to transfer these workers to the new industries. Maybe new startups in renewables should make an effort to employ and train workers from these areas? I don’t know…but a discussion needs to take place so we can move forward! The media have a lot to answer for, politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. John Howard (like it or not) was the last PM that was willing to make the hard decisions and cop the flak and work his way through it. I could go on for hours about what needs to be done across the board….but I hope I have made my point.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      “hundreds if not thousands of people that currently rely on this for putting food on the family table! ”

      Really, we can’t close any coal because “hundreds of thousands of people” rely on it for a meal? Sorry planet; civilisation, developing nations, indigenous cultures, most ecosystems, you all lost to “hundreds of thousands of people” in Australia rely on coal burning for a meal.

      There’s more jobs in renewables replacing coal, especially construction over the next decade or longer to transition to 80-100% RE. In WA we could be out of coal by 2021 and the ~1100 working in that industry could move into renewables (and mine site remediation and plant demolition for a couple of hundred older works who don’t want to retrain). Building 85% RE as modelled by SEN would provide around 6000 new jobs a year, peaking at over 10,000 jobs in 2029 and 3000 permanent jobs in renewable energy generation operation and maintenance in 2030.

      Flow batteries are potentially *very* interesting for stationary energy storage.

  9. Chris Sanderson 2 years ago

    Our Future:
    My view (which hasn’t changed since Cathy McGowan, as an Independent candidate, won the seat of Indi in Vic, in 2013 and then again in 2016 (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_Indi ), is that both the Lib/Nats and Labor policies on energy continue to be controlled by heavy FFI donations and investors in coal.

    Any vote for either party at the next election will continue this situation. For the Lib/Nats, Turnbulls performance failure speaks for itself.
    The fierce union and Qld’s state Labor’s support for Adani (based on thousands of promised ‘jobs’) will actually be based on mining automation, rather than jobs.

    Are the unions also in the pockets of the FFI? Or is climate denial what unions believe in? As a reminder, if Adani goes ahead, which seems highly likely now, the emissions from that mine will be morally responsible for more than doubling Australia’s per capita, p.a. emissions. These are already only marginally better than the US, which is the worst of all the developed nations.

    How do our other states feel about having to accept their share of reducing twice the current of Australia’s total emissions?

    Either way Labor’s actual, rather than promised policies on climate change and energy, will prove to be as ineffectual as the Lib/Nats.

    Any voter, who accepts the advice from 97% of the climate scientists and votes for either main party at the next election has failed to understand how incredibly he has been conned since Howard’s rein.

    If Australia continues down this path, there will come a time when the rest of the world, who are making serious economic sacrifices to reduce emissions, will have had enough. At which point we can expect the sort of sanctions that other countries would now like to apply to North Korea.

  10. Peter F 2 years ago

    I think you are being too pessimistic. You forget that more and more NSW coal plants will have to pay export prices for fuel as their existing contracts run out. as new windfarms and solar comes on stream the CF of coal will fall and operating economics will deteriorate quickly
    At current prices for windfarms without RECs but with low cost overseas financing they can make good money at $70/MWhr and make a contribution to overheads at $35/MWhr. A coal plant paying export parity price for coal can’t even justify turning on for less than A$70-80 and somehow it has to believe that it can run between 60 and 90% capacity for the next week to bother firing up. If any of the 35 to 50 year old plants have any major maintenance requirements and their CF is falling they will effectively close, opening the field for more and more wind and solar.

  11. Richard 2 years ago

    Adam, this is garbage. Renewables can stand on its own now pretty much without support. Lib and Labor know this so they can say whatever they like and it’s not going to make any difference.
    Private investors are not going to build knew coal or keep old ones going because its too expensive and renewable is now too cheap.

    I think you are spreading misinformation and you should be better informed.

  12. Budman 2 years ago

    Renewables are economic cancer, dump them NOW

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      Wrong. Massive centralised Soviet-era power plants supported by the government and costly gold-plated networks are the massive economic cancerous tumours which stifle competition i.e. stifle proper functioning of the elctricity market. Dump them all when their intended operating life ends, or sooner if possible. Don’t extend them and don’t build extremely costly new ones.

      Instead encourage many smaller and diversely owned clean dispatchable and renewable generators into the market – even if it takes another RET – to encourage more of the genuine competition which this market currently lacks.

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