14
Apr
2018

Energy Policy Becoming Critical

Energy Policy Becoming an Increasingly Critical Isssue

In last Thursday’s Commentary I argued that there are serious problems with the outline of the National Energy Guarantee scheme given by Energy Minister Frydenberg in an article published in The Australian (see Frydenberg on NEG). These included the incorrect claim that the Energy Security Board is independent; the claim that NEG would restore faith in the electricity market when in fact it’s main operative conditions would be stipulated by the government; and the consequent false claim that it would be based on engineering and economics.

I also drew attention to the conclusion by Terry McCrann that NEG “just doesn’t cut it”.

Yesterday, expert climate analyst Alan Moran had an article published in The Australian (see Moran on NEG) and, along with 7letters on energy policy also published, these constituted a highly critical assessment  of NEG as outlined by Frydenberg. I say “outlined” because details of scheme will not be made available until they are released at the CHOGM meeting on NEG with the states next week.

Today, we see more criticisms and analyses published. Most importantly, in Weekend Australian Terry McCrann argues that the de facto rejection by Turnbull of the “policy and political package” presented to the government by Abbott is a rejection “of the only package capable now of winning the election” and that the Coalition now needs “to get a leader prepared to aggressively prosecute an election-winning campaign” (see McCrann: Coalition Could Win Sans Turnbull).

McCrann also takes Freydenberg to task for, inter alia, stating “the inevitability of moving our electricity grid away from its coal base towards renewables but succeeded only in collapsing into incoherence and contradiction. The one — presumably unintended — coherent message was that only coal could deliver lower power prices and supply certainty. In short, in nailing his own political and policy colours to the PM’s rejectionist mast, he actually — if unintentionally — broadcast its irrationality and political imbecility. And, like the PM, he further only succeeded in thoroughly mixing his messages”.

Weekend Australian also publishes today another batch of letters most of which are critical of NEG (see Letters in OZ). On this occasion my letter was also published, although with the last three sentences deleted, viz

Energy Policy is based on misapprehensions

Letter by Des Moore published in Weekend Australian, April 14-15 (Last three sentences deleted by Ed)

Energy Minister Frydenberg cannot expect us to take seriously his acceptance of a National Energy Guarantee scheme advocated by an Energy Security Board (Opinion 12/4).  This is not an independent body but comprises “experts” with unqualified acceptance of the dangerous global warming thesis and who were selected by Malcolm Turnbull  for that reason.

Amazingly, details of such a scheme have not even been announced months after they were due. Yet Frydenberg tells us that electricity retailers will be forced to ensure reliability and to reduce emissions intensity. To pretend that this will be a market is simply absurd: it will in fact be a supplier of electricity under conditions stipulated by government.

[It is insulting to describe the idea as based on “engineering and economics”. There is no scope for competition except amongst politicians who debate the conditions to be followed. George Orwell has arrived.]

My reference to George Orwell is of course to his highly successful Nineteen Eighty Four novel, which portrayed a scrutiny of human actions and decisions on behaviour by BigBrother which reached a critical level for humanity.

Weekend Australian also highlights in an Editorial some of the problems with Turnbull’s leadership (see OZ on Turnbull’s Leadership Failure). In particular, “as the leader of the government he possesses all the authority, tools and ammunition to set the agenda, direct the national conversation and advocate on the issues he chooses. Yet even this week, when he knew he would be under political pressure, Mr Turnbull failed to do that. He announced a series of infrastructure projects — the most notable being the Tullamarine rail link — that are useful joint ventures with the states, and which amount to governments getting on with what governments are supposed to do. But the Prime Minister gave us nothing further on the direction he wants to take us: on immigration, energy, industrial relations or economic reform”.

That energy policy is the central component of Turnbull’s leadership failure is not surprising. The record of his pre-MP remarks shows that he then judged it to be a threat to humanity and that he had a role to save his fellow citizens. What is surprising is the support he has continued to be given by fellow MPs and other leaders in the community. Perhaps they will now recognize the need, in their own interests, to with draw their support.

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