Energy Policy

Energy Policy

Energy Minister Frydenberg has written an extraordinary article in today’s The Australian (see Frydenberg on NEG). It is not practicable to detail here all the problems it reveals with the energy policy apparently adopted by the Turnbull government. But it is based on the National Energy Guarantee scheme already announced by Turnbull and developed by the Energy Security Board (ESB) established by him. Frydenberg claims this is an independent body but  its members are so-called “experts” who have unqualified acceptance of the dangerous global warming thesis and who were selected by Turnbull  for that reason.

This means that NEG is based on the supposed need to reduce emissions of CO2 and hence the use of coal-fired generators. Although not mentioned in the article, it is reported that the policy will allow 60% of power to come from use of coal. Frydenberg tells us, however, that electricity retailers will be forced not only to ensure reliability but to also “reduce emissions intensity” ie to meet the 2030 target which Australia nominated at the Paris meeting but which could be changed. To claim that this will be “restoring faith in the National Electric Market” is simply absurd: there will in fact be suppliers of electricity under conditions stipulated by government.

Frydenberg describes the idea as based on “engineering and economics”. But there is no scope for competition except amongst politicians who debate the conditions to be followed. When Labor assumes office and starts to implement its bigger reductions in emissions George Orwell will become an active player, with Frydenberg (or his successor) arguing that the conditions stipulated by Labor (less coal usage and more renewable) are more costly than those under NEG.

As Terry McCrann argues, “the brutal truth is that his so-called National Energy Guarantee just doesn’t cut it. If it could win universal bipartisan support — and that means in every state and at the federal level — it could succeed in keeping the lights on. What it won’t do is deliver lower electricity and gas prices, or indeed prevent further, totally unnecessary, price rises” (see McCrann on Frydenberg’s NEG). McCrann also refers to the billions that have  been spent (wasted) under the policies that have been pursued in recent years –on subsidies and the “building of useless wind turbines” – and yet we still use coal and gas to produce 82 per cent of power. Worse is still to come if Turnbull stays as leader

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