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Electricity and Gas Articles  

This week’s big energy announcements? Just another nail in the coffin of low-cost power

The Spectator, 17 September 2020

The government’s energy policy announced this week is another milestone in the demise of what was once the world’s lowest-cost energy market. The slow fuse priming the bomb was lit in 2001, when Prime Minister John Howard Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) requiring electricity

The Bill Comes Due for Renewable Energy

Quadrant Online, 24 August 2020

Australia’s excessively high energy prices are undermining our competitiveness and cutting our standards of living. Since 2002 Australian governments have introduced climate policies to reduce carbon dioxide.  This has caused high cost and low reliability wind and solar to displace cheap coal and gas power.

California dreamin’, our cheap and reliable electricity nightmare

The Spectator, 20 August 2020

Matthew Warren in the AFR three days ago was highly critical of the electricity market manager’s proposed spending on new transmission lines.  The proposals involve a centrally planned network with over $17 billion of new transmission lines plus a further $10 billion for the Snowy pumped storage

The Business Council maintains its crusade for higher electricity prices

Catallaxy Files, 20 July 2020

 In The Australian today, we have a puff piece by JENNIFER WESTACOTT (head of the Business Council) and  ALISON WATKINS (head of Coca Cola Amatil).  It is headlined “The window of change is open: now is the time for pro-business economic reform” and has the usual exhortatory bromides, demanding “that we

Renewable energy’s destruction of the electricity supply system. Has the penny dropped?

Catallaxy Files, 16 May 2020​

Remarkably,  the Energy Minister joins the market manager in recognising the perverse effect roof-top renewable energy installations have on the electricity supply system.  Those installations impose costs far greater than the value they tap in “free” sunlight.  This is an outcome common with all wind/solar fa

The coronavirus can’t stop the windpower blowhards, let alone economic reality

The Spectator, 30 April 2020

For Australian energy, 2020 started precariously.  The bushfires showed the vulnerability of the nation to its subsidy-induced reliance on renewable energy.    

Average prices in January reached near-record levels. 

Green Snouts Sniff a COVID Windfall

Quadrant Online, 16 April 2020

The Pope, deprived of the counsel of Cardinal Pell, the Church’s most astute voice, foolishly called coronavirus “nature’s response” for failures to act on climate change. It was, therefore, hardly surprising that coronavirus would be recruited to push for additional renewable energy subsidies to reinforce those 

Revealed: the Deep Green State

The Spectator, 24 March 2020

A story in the Guardian demonstrates the impotence of government against the Deep State machinery that it nominally controls. This involved an attempt, in line with government policy, to divert money from the Emissions Reduction Fund to less harmful activities than efficiency-undermining promotion of green 

Danandrewstan: two steps forwards, one step back as energy security matters more than ever

The Spectator, 18 March 2020

The latest energy policy from the Victorian government is to place a constitutional ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration but once again permit the search for conventional gas in the state. The proposed policy was developed in consultation with an industry/activist Independent Stakeholder Advisory P

Revealed: the sickly state of the National Electricity Market

The Spectator, 26 February 2020

This year’s annual report from the regulatory collective that is the Energy Security Board awards itself gongs for overseeing a (temporary) spot price decline and assembling an armoury if new tools to prevent catastrophe from a system poisoned by renewable energy subsidies. Unfortunately, it declines to

Renewables rent-seekers aren’t interested in bushfire prevention – or cheap efficient energy

Spectator Australia, 20 January 2020

No amount of mouth-frothing by Piers Morgan or artful deception by the legions of renewable energy warriors published by the Australian Financial Review and the Guardian will change the facts about this summer. The severe fire season is due to dry weather (not itself conceivably a result of climate change –

Time to Bight the bullet over gas scare campaign

The Australian, 8 January 2020

The NSW government is considering approving the establishment of a liquefied natural gas import facility moored off Port Kembla. This same government has erected formidable barriers to domestic gas production.

Ford’s Ontario has Nothing to Learn from Australia’s Climate Plan

The more desperate the situation of an industry, the more reports and regulatory overseers’ governments require, blind to any recognition of an industry’s malaise being created by their own actions. And so, with electricity we have an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies analysing, advising and fiddling. At the

Electricity supply continues is dismal march

Catallaxy Files, 11 December 2019

I have a piece in the Spectator today that draws together some recent developments in energy policy being developed in the half dozen or so agencies that control what is ostensibly, and was in earlier days, a market with supply largely from private enterprise.  I also did a session on the issue with Chris Kenny.

Cheaper power coming? Blink and you’ll miss it if our Paris goals remain

The Spectator, 11 December 2019

There is a panoply of agencies regulating energy at the Commonwealth level and not all of these seem to be rowing in the same direction.  The main agencies are  - The Energy and Environment Department with 490 staff in energy and greenhouse — plus another 454 in its dependent agencies: Clean Energy Finance

Subsidies, bureaucrats, blackouts and bills: inside our electricity disaster

The Spectator, 26 August 2019

The Australian Energy Market Operator is one of the half dozen different government institutions responsible for planning and managing the electricity industry. Like its sister agencies, AEMO accepts no responsibility for the transformation of an industry that over the past five years has gone from supplying

Is the AFR rejoining economic rationality?

Catallaxy Files, 4 July 2019

The AFR has spent a decade of extolling the merits of renewable energy.  It has waxed lyrical on the beneficial effects of taxes on fossil fuels (aka renewable subsidies, the NEG).  But, following a passage rightly pointing out the cost imposed on the nation by a gas reserve policy, comes this from the editorial in

Angus Taylor: fighting for coal and cheap power, but is it too late?

The Spectator, 29 May 2019

In contrast to his predecessor, the eminently likeable Josh Frydenberg, Angus Taylor can be abrasive and has managed to antagonise many within the industry:

  • State ministers for launching the proposal 

Electricity subsidies beget further interventions bringing additional inefficiences

Catallaxy Files, 31 March 2019

Unusually, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has some pre-politician expertise in the sector and is fully aware of the deficiencies of renewables (the exotic wind/ solar ones, not hydro) and the damage done to Australian prices and reliability by subsidised wind/solar.

Energy policy: the $72 billion fair dinkum disaster

The Spectator, 26 February 2019

Energy and climate change policy in Australia and other western democracies is now, along with immigration and its associated fear of imported third world violence, the cutting edge of the political divide.

Reaping the fruits of political sabotage of the electricity industry

Catallaxy Files, 25 January 2019

The third world nature of Australia’s electricity industry was revealed this week with wholesale prices in Victoria and South Australia at the maximum $14,500 for lengthy periods in spite of thousands of customers being cut-off, major users agreeing to shut down demand in return for compensation paid by

Banks pretend to be virtue signalling while plundering electricity consumers

Catallaxy Files, 21 January 2019

In the salad days prior to 2015, before governments’ destructive interventions undermined Australia’s stable low-cost electricity supply, electricity as a topic of general interest hardly figured. Any concerns about power blackouts just did not reach the front pages or the late-night news bulletins. At that time the

The Australian Energy Regulator’s wholesale electricity market performance report

Catallaxy Files, 9 January 2019

The more desperate the situation of an industry, the more reports and regulatory overseers’ governments require, blind to any recognition of an industry’s malaise being created by their own actions. And so, with electricity we have an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies analysing, advising and fiddling. At the

Days of power and fury: January 2019 electricity prices and outages

Catallaxy Files, 3 January 2019

Compared with a National Market that had a turnover of less than $7.5 billion a year four years ago, the turnover in just two days in January was over $1 billion. It is impossible without all data on contracts to determine who the electricity industry’s winners and losers were from the January 2019 high priced

Liberal luvvies for higher power prices

The Spectator, 20 December 2018

Politicians as targets of the French gilets jaunes are omnipresent in Australia and have, with their climate change-driven energy policies, created even greater economic damage than in France. Notwithstanding the disastrous effects from subsidising renewable energy, politicians’ hubris within the Coalition, ALP and

The mirage of lower renewable energy driven electricity prices

Catallaxy Files, 10 December 2018

Josh Frydenberg claimed the last week in Parliament was a poor one for the opposition and the triumph for the government. He made mention of the Opposition’s inability to get Peter Dutton and its failure to deliver its preferred outcomes regarding Manus Island detainees​

The ALP’s emission reduction dreams will strangle the economy

Catallaxy Files, 23 November 2018

Over the past decade, we have spent $70 billion on wind and solar. Here are some statistics from BNEF, not uncoincidentally, the venue where Bill Shorten and Mark Butler yesterday launched an outline of the ALP energy and climate policy.

Labor’s energy deal: Shorten facts, but you’ll pay more

The Spectator, 21 November 2018

Sucked in by spurious claims of the loss of 99 per cent of all coral reefs, mounting natural disasters, a permanent drought in the Murray Darling, and illusions that fossil fuels are archaic, Labor is preparing to announce its energy policy. Earlier this week, in a dummy run, Energy spokesman Mark Butler claimed, in 

The Diabolic Policy Dilemmas Created by Previous Energy Policies

Catallaxy Files, 14 November 2018

Regulatory measures – subsidies for wind/solar – have wrecked the Australian market, driving up prices and increasing supply costs. And the policies have created wind and solar capacities that have on-going effects, which cannot be unwound by simply allowing the subsidies to run their course, since this will

Victorian Government contracts for renewable energy supplies

Catallaxy Files, 13 September 2018

Victoria has announced fifteen-year contract for wind and solar capacity amounting to 650 megawatts (the giant Loy Yang is 2,200 MW but renewables only provide about one third as much electricity per MW of capacity).  The price is said to be under $60 per MWH, while the state government also garners the

Will abandoning energy subsidies allow the electricity market to self-correct?

Catallaxy Files, 29 August 2108

Coordination of supply in network industries Network industries involve firms cooperating in order to meet customer demands. Their success depends upon parties mutually agreeing on certain interconnection standards in order to combine components together. This need for coordination was often ensured by

A Simple Rx for the Energy Mess

Quadrant Online, 23 August 2018

Power prices have ignited the current leadership crisis and there are few signs of sufficient understanding of what caused this in the political firmament or, for that matter, in the mainstream media. ​ Malcolm Turnbull engineered the now comatose National Energy Guarantee to disguise his ideological imperative of a

Turnbull’s new approach to electricity: smoke and mirrors

Catallaxy Files, 18 August 2018

The idiocy of Turnbull’s handling of electricity policy now, once again, looks likely to cost him the leadership of his party. Faced with termination, he is seeking to extricate himself while pretending to reform the policy that has revealed his incompetence. His new proposals at modifying the National Energy Guarantee

Modelling, Schmodelling! How to rationalise policies that would destroy the economy

Catallaxy Files, 25 July 2018

In a reprise of the feeding of the 5000 with five loaves and two fish, the Energy Security Board has offered salvation for the Australian economy with the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

Energy Addicted to Waffle and Disaster

Quadrant Online, 18 July 2018

Over the past year, we have seen the misnamed report into "energy security" by Chief Scientist Finkel, the ACCC's report ("restoring electricity affordability") - and now a new annual report by market operator AEMO.  These are in addition to a couple of dozen reviews into specific market-machinery matters and the

Wind forces up electricity prices in direct and indirect ways

Catallaxy Files, 2 July 2018

Different generator types earn different average prices in electricity markets. Australia’s National Electricity Market can see prices at anywhere between $14,200 per MWh to -$1,000 per MWh in response to different demand and supply situations. The price variability provides incentives for suppliers to stand

Domestic gas shortage averted – not even nearly beneficial

Catallaxy Files, 23 June 2018

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently produced forecasts that gas availability would not be a constraint on electricity supply over the coming years, notwithstanding the tremendous increase in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports. AEMO projects the following picture.

NEG: Standing Fast on a Sinking Ship

Quadrant Online, 18 June 2018

The architects and current beneficiaries of Australia's addled energy policies won't admit it, but the Paris climate accord is disintegrating. The US has bailed, Canada grows wobbly and Japan opens coal-fired plants. Meanwhile, our leaders remain resolute -- resolutely blind, that is light bulb IIWith the National

Energy policy, price escalation and the destruction industry competitiveness

Catallaxy Files, 8 June 2018

For some in Australia, the renewable rich UK electricity market is a beacon. ​ Wind produced 15 per cent of the UK’s electricity in 2017 and was running at 29 per cent earlier this year bringing Emma Pinchbeck, executive director of RenewableUK to opine, “The move to a smart, renewables-led energy system is well

Liddell is just part of a bigger battle

The Spectator Australia, 22 May 2018

Like a border skirmish that develops into a global conflagration, John Howard’s policy to require “two per cent additional energy” be met with renewables has escalated into a measure destroying the electricity market. Back in 1998, the idea sounded good: give renewables a leg-up while they march to their inevitable

Turnbull’s chosen energy supremo says wind is cheaper than coal

Catallaxy Files, 5 May 2018

On Thursday, at the Energy Users Conference, the government’s chosen head of the chive quango running the electricity supply industry, Kerry Schott, remarked that coal plants could no longer compete. According to The Australian (her speech has not been made public) she said “you are unlikely to see a new

Energy Battlegrounds and Furphies

Catallaxy Files, 13 April 2018

 have this piece in this morning’s Australian which addresses the direction of energy and climate policy in light of Josh Frydenberg’s Press Club address. Aside from demonstrating how the renewable program has wrecked the electricity supply industry and brought a doubling of prices, it has two main themes. First, it

Energy policy takes center stage

Catallaxy files, 10 April 2018

The action is getting hotter on the energy front. Having been in a small minority for years, readers and writers on catallaxy are now finding themselves closer to the mainstream on the policy on energy/climate. To recap, the recent initial incendiaries were thrown by backbencher Craig Kelly in forming the Monash

Why some power bills are poles apart

Herald Sun, 30 March 2018

Electricity bills have doubled over the past three or four years. The main reasons are twofold. First, state and federal governments have required retailers to source increasing shares of the electricity supply from low reliability wind and solar, which receive subsidies from consumers hidden within their bills. These costs 

Beware of propaganda organs extolling new electricity power

Catallaxy Files, 29 March 2018

While the ACCC’s Rod Sims may have had a Damascene conversion when he noted that he would like to get the price of electricity down half a dozen years after the reason for the price surge became obvious (hint look at the forced growth of subsidised renewables). What he will do about it, short of reinforcing the cries on this blog

Remedial Ed for Renewables Fans

Quadrant Online, 29 March 2018

The fall from grace of the Australian electricity industry has been breathtaking. At the turn of the century, Australia had perhaps the world’s lowest-cost, most competitive electricity industry. This rested on cheap, low-sulphur coal, which was responsible for 85% of generation, ample supplies of gas, and modest but useful hydro

Emissions and the meeting of energy ministers

Catallaxy Files, 19 April 2018

Ben Potter, who as a useful idiot, was leaked a copy of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) report by the Victorian Government, reports today that the states are likely to sign off on the NEG at their meeting tomorrow. Potter is excoriated by Terry McCrann in today’s Herald Sun for his pandering to green energy myths.

Australians suffer as big emitters get a greenhouse gas free pass

The Australian April 13, 2018

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s tour de force at the National Press Club on Wednesday and his opinion piece on this page yesterday show a man on top of his brief and using it to smite the ALP and the Greens as well as those on his own side promoting direct investment to counter the continued damage being

Can the backbench energy revolt steer us back low cost electricity?

Catallaxy Files, 4 April 2018

It all came so suddenly. ​ Over the Easter break a ginger group of Coalition backbenchers, the Monash Forum, was announced. Chaired by Craig Kelly, one of the few MPs who has really studied the economic disaster that greenhouse policies are causing, it counts at least 20 MPs as members including Tony Abbott, George Christensen, 

Deregulate energy market and go back to coal

The Australian, 22 February 2018

The catastrophic outcome of government energy market interventions is palpably clear. As the latest new regulatory body, the Energy Security Board, diplomatically puts it: “Fifteen years of climate policy instability ... (have) left our energy system vulnerable to escalating prices while being both less reliable and secure.” ​ 

The Future of Energy

Address to the Future of Energy Symposium, Adelaide, 6 February 2018

The future is less certain than the past but even with the past there are varying views about what has happened and what drove the developments. We have seen the wholesale price for electricity rise from under $40 per MWh with very little trend up until 2012, and was still $40 in 2015, to its present level of around $90 per MWh Wind

The Snowy scam, the Donald and death of Australian industry

The Spectator Australia, 6 March 2108

It seemed too good to be true: Snowy being bought by the Commonwealth from state governments in what appeared as a money creation process – the Commonwealth had no apparent increase in debt or other costs, while Victoria and New South Wales got $6 billion for their Snowy shares. The reason behind the acquisition

Politicians have stacked the deck against cheap coal

Herald Sun, 2 February 2018

Nobody should believe what any Australian government minister tells them about energy. Influencing politicians are self-interested lobbyists, and voters who have fallen for green falsehoods that the coal fired power station that supply four fifths of our electricity are dirty and no longer needed. Many politicians have themselves drunk

Government induced power crisis averted, for now

Catallaxy Files, 21 January 2018

At 12 PM on 19 January the electricity market manager, AEMO, to its own and everybody’s great relief announced “VIC AND SA ENERGY SUPPLY REMAINS SECURE”. ​ It had been a knife edged couple of days with hot weather bringing high electricity demand (even though much of Australian industry remained on vacation). 

Renewable Energy: the mad saga continues

Catallaxy Files, 17 January 2018

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) lobbies hard for renewable subsidies and estimates global “clean energy” investment at $333 billion. This excludes hydro-electricity other than Politically Correct “small hydro”. Some 85 per cent of expenditure is in wind or solar with the rest including biomass, electric vehicles and

Snowy 2: the policy of despair

Catallaxy Files, 10 January 2018

Snowy Mark 2 as a pump storage is designed to use cheap off peak power to pump water uphill to a reservoir so that it can be used at a later stage when electricity prices are high. It does not create any new energy – in fact it requires some 15 per cent of the available energy to be used up in the pumping process. 

AGL: impoverishing the nation to boost its bottom line

The Spectator Australia, 14 December 2017

The supporters of renewable energy continue to claim – as they have for the past 30 years – that wind/solar is or soon will be cheaper than energy from coal generators. Even so, renewable energy supporters continue to lobby for ongoing subsidies, which today provide $85 per megawatt hour on top of the spot price of $80.

AGL’s proposed power station closure would ensure continued excessive electricity prices

Catallaxy Files, 10 December 2017

Yesterday AGL confirmed its plans to close the Liddell coal powered electricity generator in 2022. It did so in the face of calls from the government – even by notorious green aficionado Malcolm Turnbull – for its life to be extended. AGL epitomises the sort of firm that Warren Buffett invests in – that is a “business any fool can run

Musk magic and the Tesla torment

Catallaxy Files, 2 December 2017

Bad luck for the much hyped Tesla battery when the grand opening in South Australia yesterday coincided with storms that brought power outages in its immediate vicinity. Designated as reliability-proofing a state that has seen the future of electricity generation more clearly than Lincoln Steffens saw how effectively the infant

Queensland and Victoria seeking to feast off national economic amputation

Catallaxy Files, 1 December 2016

here are those who say if you force people to invest in horses and buggies and use these for half of their road trips we would all be better off. Not for them the superficiality that this would reduce real incomes as a result of investing in technology that is higher cost, prone to breakdown and can only operate when the horses are

Turnbull’s energy policy proposals: more steps forward than back?

The Spectator Australia, 22 November 2017

The Government has now received but not yet released a report into the energy market plans it wants to put in place. These plans entail retaining the increased availability of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) subsidies until 2020 and then maintaining payments of those to installed plant until 2030. Currently the subsidies,

Post-mortem of the Australian electricity Industry

Catallaxy Files, 20 November 2017

All thinking people actually know what has gone wrong in the Australian electricity industry: a doubling of wholesale market prices, diminished reliability, investment being policy – directed into fashionable but high cost avenues – wind, solar batteries, pumped storage. Unwilling or unable to accept this, like a car careering down

Is renewable energy competitive?

Catallaxy Files, 10 November 2017

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is now on his way to the UN conference in Bonn to pay obeisance to a global warming fraternity strengthened by two new members (Nicaragua and Syria) to the loss of merely one (the USA). Renewable energy (other than Politically Incorrect hydro) is the UN’s posterchild. Yesterday, two boilers

A Low-Wattage PM’s Useless ‘Guarantee’

Quadrant Online, 19 October 2017

The government's electricity "reforms" merely confirm the existing subsidy arrangements for renewable electricity, with consumers paying the renewable tax till 2030. Its "reliability guarantee" adds no greater certainty but will entail a vast new inflexible bureaucracy. The measures will not result in the forecast lower prices.

ACCC offers some clarity but much obfuscation in its report on electricity price rise

Catallaxy Files, 16 October 2017

The battle of the causes of Australia’s excessive electricity prices is well and truly on. Having moved from the world’s lowest cost electricity to among the highest cost in less than a decade, finally questions are being asked. The government commissioned the ACCC to provide advice on the elements bringing about the price

Green, fickle and purely for political gain

Herald Sun, 14 October 2016

While Victoria retains a coal-based electricity supply, wind and solar provide 40 per cent of South Australia’s market. That’s the highest share in the world for a system that can import only about 15 per cent of its needs (in South Australia’s case from the maligned but dependable coal- based Victorian suppliers). Two weeks ago storms

Gas and electricity crises need deregulation not more interventions

Catallaxy Files, 27 September 2017

It is perhaps a little cruel to apply the epithet, “The best energy minister we have” to the likeable Josh Frydenberg, especially since he alone with Tony Abbott actually writes his own media pieces. In today’s AFR he writes about the unfolding gas crisis. While he cannot blame the Queensland government, where the ALP has followed

ACCC offers no answers to government created energy crisis

Catallaxy Files, 21 September 2017

Appointed as head of the ACCC by Rudd Gillard, Rod Sims has a long association with the ALP going back to the Whitlam years. His re-appointment by the Coalition is unsurprising given the callow nature of conservatives and the fact that many have interventionist sympathies that accord with those of the leftist intelligentsia

Escaping the renewable energy subsidy trap

The Spectator Australia, 18 September 2017

An endgame is now underway in the renewable energy scam that has been responsible for destroying the nation’s electricity industry as a low-cost, efficient and self-managing sector. Though, in Churchillian terms, countering the debilitating effect of the self-imposed cancer is beyond the end of the beginning it has a long way 

Andrews treads rocky power path

Herald Sun, 1 September 2017

Premier Dan Andrews is copying South Australia’s energy policy. The Premier aims to lift wind and solar’s share of the state’s electricity supply from its current 8 per cent to 40 per cent. Wind is unreliable and, in Australia costs three times as much as coal; solar is even more expensive.

Liberal, Green and ALP politicians conspire to destroy the economy

Catallaxy Files, 24 August 2017

Yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull, unveiling the plans by Pratt for new investment in containers said, “You know everything my government does is designed to encourage Australian businesses to invest.” The absurdity of this was underlined by Anthony Pratt informing us, “Our cost of energy in America is 2½ times lower than Australia.

How to turn cheap power back on

The Spectator Australia, 21 August 2017

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg claims that renewable energy is a disruptive force in the energy market in the same way as the iPhone was to landlines and cameras. There is, however, a major difference: iPhones, like Uber, Kindle and eBay have disrupted previous commercial systems by force of technology. Renewables

Weird times in the energy market

Catallaxy Files, 19 August 2017

AGL have announced a contract for electricity from the Queensland 453 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm at an offtake price of less than $60/MWh (real) for an initial five years, with an apparent option to extend this at the same or a lower price for another five years. The suppliers are a consortium of the Future Fund, QIC and AGL

AGL’s profits from coal likely to attract special taxes

Catallaxy Files, 10 August 2017

Just to prove that they are doing something to combat high electricity prices, the PM (and his energy Minister) called the major retailers to Canberra. Mr Turnbull offered the retailers the sharp end of his tongue, admonishing them for the high electricity prices. Mr Frydenberg nudged them along saying he was reluctant to regulate

Regulations create super profits in electricity supply – will Governments move to seize these?

Catallaxy Files, 21 July 2107

Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg has assailed the Queensland government for presiding over (if not conspiring to produce) an outcome in the electricity market which has enriched the state government coffers by $1.5 billion (actually over four years). Following a reorganisation, the previous three generator portfolios,

Electricity: All Hope is Lost

Quadrant Online, 13 July 2017

Alan Finkel's otherworldly prognosis is bad enough. But toss in Malcolm Turnbull's advocacy of renewables and then add an imported American chief regulator who would have been happier working for Hillary Clinton ..... and where are you? The simple answer: thoroughly stuffed. ​ They are to examine the Finkel report into electricity. 

Energy policy: Finkel Twinkle Little Star

Catallaxy Files, 9 June 2019

Predictably, the Finkel report came out with a concealed attack on coal – a new tax which Finkel falsely described as “all carrot and no stick”. This is to cut in at a politically specified level of emissions with those power stations emitting more CO2 per unit of energy than this paying for credits and the subsidy going to the ones emitting less. 

I see red when green blue prints cause blackouts

Herald Sun, 7 July 2017

The electricity market review by Alan Finkel, was to be the blueprint for a low cost, reliable electricity supply system that emitted less carbon dioxide. ​ Dr Finkel, like Mr Turnbull, has long promoted green energy agendas. Unsurprisingly his report was basically a carbon dioxide reduction plan, which disguised the costs and unreliability

Coal versus wind in electricity Investment

Catallaxy Files, 30 June 2017

Reliability issues aside, in the debate over the flawed Finkel report a vexed issue is that of costs of coal versus wind/large scale solar. Queensland’s Kogan Creek coal plant commissioned 10 years ago was offering long term baseload contracts at $38 per MWh. But the Australian Research Council had new coal at $80 per MWh

Can minor parties prevent energy policy crucifying the economy?

Catallaxy Files, 28 June 2016

Government is always a tension. On the one hand are those who want to produce things to meet consumer demand and to profit from this. And on the other hand there are those who want to prevent some forms of production that would disadvantage them and those who want to “redistribute” the income, often before it is produced. 

Cheap wind power the latest furphy in support of suicidal energy policies

Catallaxy Files, 8 May 2017

Hot of the press, The Australian is breathlessly reporting that Origin Energy has contracted to buy wind energy at $60 per MWh, a price that is comparable with contracted prices from coal. The article sees this as evidence that the gap between wind and fossil fuelled electricity is closing. Just a moment’s hesitation would have made

The way out of energy crisis is reliable coal plants, not renewables

The Australian, 27 April 2107

AGL claims it has “a plan to get out of coal as smoothly as possible — embracing cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy like solar, wind and hydro”. This, it says, will be an “orderly” process beginning five years from now and finishing in 2050. Now that’s planning. While anxious to promote its green credentials, 90 per cent of AGL’s

Energy policy: no end to damaging political interference

Catallaxy Files, 19 April 2017

Prices at the Wallumbilla hub have risen from their former levels of $3 per gigajoule to $10 at present and in the peak summer periods were $16 plus; this was before the Hazelwood closure and there are reports of forward contracts at $20 per gigajoule. Prices in the US remain at about $A4 per gigajoule and the prospectivity of A

A Dead Man Warns of a Dying Grid

Quadrant Online, 3 April 2017

Not long before his sudden and premature death, Australian Energy Market Operator chief Matt Zema spoke candidly at a private conference of power-industry executives. The enormous subsidies heaped on renewables, he said, mean one thing and only one thing: "The system must collapse"

How governments have destroyed the world’s most efficient energy market

Catallaxy Files, 28 March 2017

The nation’s energy policy is in the hands of ideological tyros. At the federal level Malcolm Turnbull is running the show with the equally green evangelist, his Departmental Secretary Martin Parkinson. At the state level, we have a Victorian Government desperately promoting wind, to match Greens policies in the hope of retaining

Time to pull the plug on destructive energy subsidies

The Herald Sun, 16 March 2017

With its cheap coal, Australian electricity prices were previously among the world’s lowest but are now among the highest. Picture: David Caird ENERGY costs and reliability have deteriorated over the past 15 years. With its cheap coal, Australian electricity prices were previously among the world’s lowest but are now among the highest.

Grasping at straws in the march to energy disaster

Catallaxy Files, 16 March 2017

As I pointed out in my previous post, republished here, the Australian government is using all its abundant intelligence resources to argue that Trump will not follow up on his strictures regarding the global warming scam. Julie Bishop is unfortunately proving herself to be simply a vacuous fashionista in saying that the US will stick 

Cheap renewable energy is a costly myth

Herald Sun, 1 March 2017

Kane Thornton of the Clean Energy Council declared in these pages last week that renewable energy was the lowest cost energy available

Alan Moran:  Follow Trump and abandon renewable energy targets

Herald Sun, 16 February 2017

Portland’s rescue however means upward pressures on other electricity users’ power prices and an even more precarious supply/demand balance next year. Wholesale prices have doubled over the past few years in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. Victoria will follow suit unless, as Terry McCrann advises, 

Electricity: no end to the damage regulations are doing

Catallaxy Files, 16 February 2017

There is no let up in the lies, ignorance and dissembling that passes for debate on Australian energy policy. Tanya Plibersek ventured onto the Bolt program and said, in line with green ideology, that the Renewable Energy Target means cheaper prices – a canard also voiced by the ABC insider duo of Lenore Taylor and Laura Tingle

No answers blowin’ in the wind

Catallaxy Files, 11 February 2017

The Financial Review recognises that wind has broken Australia’s electricity system, and quotes Grattan advice that we need a new system, (redolent of Brecht’s channeling of East German politicians that it would be easier to dissolve the people and elect another). Entranced by the Chief Scientist’s pearls of wisdom the AFR

Loon in, Turn on…Blackout

Quadrant Online, 10 February 2017

The first tragedy is that Australians, who not so long ago rejoiced in cheap and reliable electricity, now pay some of the world's highest prices. The second tragedy is that the same green fantasists, ideologues and rent-seekers are bent on making things far, far worse

Trump and Australian political dithering over energy costs

Catallaxy Files, 17 January 2017

What is wrong with these people? We have state leaders from South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland purposely rejecting the low cost energy option of coal that nature has provided and opting for renewables that will always cost three times as much. And we have an apparent consensus of politicians in Victoria, New South 

Copy Of -Renewable Energy: the mad saga continues

Catallaxy Files, 17 January 2017

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) lobbies hard for renewable subsidies and estimates global “clean energy” investment at $333 billion. This excludes hydro-electricity other than Politically Correct “small hydro”. Some 85 per cent of expenditure is in wind or solar with the rest including biomass, electric vehicles and waste-to-energy.

Victorian price electricity increases just a step to disaster

Catallaxy Files, 4 January 2017

Well who would have thought this possible? Substituting wind for coal prices is driving up the average Victorian’s electricity prices by $135 next year. After all this is occurring with increased wind that proponents never tire of telling us is set to become the cheapest form of new power. Greens and the wind rent-seekers have been

Forced emission reductions entrench high electricity prices

The Australian, 21 December 2016

Bad policy choices have seen our cost advantage become a thing of the past Major economic consequences are foreshadowed by several reports into the electricity industry that were presented to this month’s COAG meeting of energy ministers. Two of those reports addressed issues stemming from Australia’s ratification of

Hazelwood closure: politicians sabotaging the economy

Catallaxy Files, 04 November 2016

he political conspiracy to close down low cost power stations to combat the shibboleth of global warming claimed another scalp with the Hazelwood closure. Fossil fuelled energy faces discrimination at every turn vis-a-vis the renewable stuff that costs three times as much and is highly unreliable. Under the Commonwealth’s

More green energy costs to placate activists and their financiers

Catallaxy Files, 27 October 2016

The trove of emails that Wikileaks is publishing help to explain what drives political decision taking. This is especially evident in the environmental sphere. US “charities” linked to Clinton campaign are funding lawfare and other opposition to Australian coal, oil and gas developments. International finance flows to influence policy

Hazelwood closure: higher costs and lower reliability

The Spectator, 04 November 2016

A little over two decades ago, as the deputy secretary responsible for Victoria’s energy policy, I accompanied the then Coalition government minister to a Hazelwood visit. Although the plant personnel were solid Labor and opposed to the emerging policy of privatisation of the electricity supply industry, we were received with great

South Australian blackout: it was, in fact, caused by the windfarms

Catallaxy Files, 21 October 2016

Though the wind-farmers’ propaganda machine regaled the media with fallen pylons as the cause of the South Australian 28 September blackout, the latest AEMO release refers to the pylon collapse as a cause of the State blackout only in a footnote. (“It is not yet clear whether those conditions potentially contributed to

Requiem for a failed electricity system

Catallaxy Files, 6 October 2016

The trouble with wind South Australia has on average over 40 per cent of its internally generated electricity derived from wind. This is one of the highest levels in the world for a load with a relatively small interconnection with other sources (the two interconnectors with Victoria have a capacity to supply about 20 per cent of the state’s

Government destruction of wealth: the saga continues with Victoria banning gas exploration

Catallaxy Files, 30 August 2016

Confirming Australia’s leadership in the world league of weak, over-reactive and stupid politicians, Victoria has announced it will convert into a total ban the existing moratorium on the production of gas coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other such methods. For good measure it is also

Fracking usless policy in Victoria

The Spectator Australia, 30 August 2016

The Andrews Government in Victoria has set in motion regulatory arrangements that will permanently prevent hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other measures of tapping “unconventional” gas while maintaining in place an embargo of all other on-shore gas exploration until 2020.

Renewables an expensive rejection of cheap fuel and competitive advantage

Australian Financial Review, 29 July 2016

Exotic renewable energy from wind and solar costs three times as much as electricity from coal and gas generation plant. Renewables are subsidised by households and firms being required to include growing proportions of renewable energy in their electricity supply. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) in place requires

Energy and Environment an Unhappy Marriage

Herald Sun, 22 July 2016

Environmental programs, especially those targeting carbon dioxide emissions, have come to dominate energy supply policies over the past 20 years. Hence, following the federal election, energy and environment policy has been merged into one ministry under Josh Frydenberg. Last year in Paris, Australia like many other nations

Energy policy insanity: can Frydenberg reverse the course?

Catallaxy Files, 22 July 2016

In May of this year, South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis was somewhat remorseful over the closure of the Port Augusta coal fired power station He said It is a sad day for our state to see such an important investment close but it’s an old coal-fired power generator that was past its day and unfortunately for whatever

Can minor parties prevent energy policy crucifying the economy?

Catallaxy Files, 28 June 2016

Government is always a tension. On the one hand are those who want to produce things to meet consumer demand and to profit from this. And on the other hand there are those who want to prevent some forms of production that would disadvantage them and those who want to “redistribute” the income, often before it is produced

Black is white: wind generators drive down electricity prices

Catallaxy Files, 8 June 2016

Wind industry lobbyists Pitt and Sherry, and their journal, RenewEconomy, jubilantly produced the following table as proof that wind energy lowers prices. They pointed out that in May wind enjoyed its biggest ever month, with 8.5 per cent of the National Electricity Market supply and argued that this had led to prices falling.

ALP embarks on a protectionist gas policy

Catallaxy Files, 19 May 2016

In a remarkable policy change announcement Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Australian Workers’ Union chief, Scott McDine, placed an op ed in the Financial Review that reverses a long standing ALP policy. In the piece Mr Bowen and his union puppeteer called for a “national interest test” for new gas development proposals. 

Federal Election 2016 - Political Parties Clueless in Cutting Emissions

The Australian, 13 May 2016

Few people and no politicians would understand the costs of the political parties’ energy policies. The ALP, Greens and Liberals each have lengthy statements explaining how their approach is smarter and would cost little and be supervised by a plethora of acronymic bodies to regulate, advise and judiciously dole out money. In estimating

Australian electricity policy: Armageddon or slow economic strangulation?

Catallaxy Files, 12 April 2016

Yesterday the ALP is reported to be examining how it can shut down “ageing coal-fired stations”. This is part of the policy to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and the Greens claim Shorten is seeking an escape from the Party’s previous announcements. Coalition government policy is for a Direct Action buy-out

Inflicting on-going damage: the relentless green energy push

Catallaxy Files, 4 February 2016

Yesterday saw the publication of one of the regular horse-chokers that emerge from the electricity regulators and government funded analysts. This one was looking at the Queensland situation, with a view to examining how the ALP can implement/diverge from the crazy policies they proposed for an election they never expected

Fracking for gas in Victoria: Another useful idiot prevents progress

Catallaxy Files, 19 August 2015

The Victorian Auditor General, John Doyle is another key state government identity (actually appointed by the Coalition) who is under a “personal grievance” cloud, having left a previous position in British Columbia following expense fiddling allegations. He was somewhat controversial in his previous post in criticising the BC

Wind farms are raising electricity costs for consumers

Australian Financial Review, 9 July 2015

The Australian Climate Roundtable alliance is seeking to limit human induced global warming to a 2degree increase. The alliance comprises business lobbyists, ACOSS, the ACTU, and green lobbyists, the Climate Institute, the ACF, WWF and the Investor Group on Climate Change

Green energy generates big costs for little gain

Australian Financial Review, 22 June 2015

Alternate energy Reports of the death of coal are greatly exaggerated. For green power is still very costly and uncompetitive, and likely to remain so despite all the subsidies. In this newspaper last week Richard Denniss opined that there was a stampede of investment money out of coal ("Abbott blind to coal decline", AFR, June 15). 

Meddling of fearful leaders cruels gas hopes

Herald Sun, 15 May 2015

Whether of not unconventional gas and oil production will soon peak in the US, it is about to boom in England following the Conservative Party victory, but has barely got started elsewhere in the world

Meddling by politicians undermining cheap energy in Victoria

Catallaxy Files, 15 May 2105

I have a piece in the Herald Sun this morning that addresses issues in energy policy, in particular those affecting Victoria.  The two most contentious issues are coal seam gas and renewables. The Napthine Coalition government banned exploration for all gas, not only the unconventional gas extracted by fracking.  The Coalition was

Garnaut re-advocates his failed policy approached

Catallaxy Files, 15 April 2015

Ross Garnaut plays out his previous government agenda in criticising the White Paper on Energy. He says it is deficient because it has no carbon tax and fails to enhance the merits of the Renewable Energy Target. He says “do the math” and you will see that forcing the substitution of energy that is three times the cost of energy

Fracking: another case of voter ignorance killing wealth generation

Catallaxy Files, 24 March 2015

On Q and A last night, a discussion from about 7 minutes took place on coal seam gas. Coalition MP and junior minister Fiona Nash brags that NSW coalition has not approved one coal seam gas exploration permit and has bought back permits of those granted by Labor. Now only 11 per cent of NSW land can be used for CSG,

Record shows privatised power is cheaper

The Australian, 17 March 2015

The poles and wires of electricity networks are natural monopolies, accounting for 60 to 70 per cent of household consumers’ costs. Their ownership remains highly politicised 20 years after the Kennett government in Victoria opened the book on Australian privatisations. At the time, claims were made that private owners would milk 

Power still to the people from electricity move

Herald Sun 19 February 2015

AUSTRALIAN electricity consumers financed a report on electricity costs prepared by the consultancy CME and managed by UnitingCare. The report has once again demonstrated how Victorians have benefited from the Kennett/Stockdale electricity privatisations of the 1990s. Aside from raising $29 billion to rescue the state from

UnitingCare release information demonstrating benefits of private ownership

Catallaxy Files 12 February 2015

Uniting Care

Energy plan puts public service before public good

The Australian 14th March, 2014

The energy white paper under preparation proclaims that government has a role in the energy industry. But it is one that is best limited to controlling natural monopoly elements within the industry. It is certainly not to provide some blueprint for the future.

Interference Driving up Electricity Prices

Herald Sun 18th October, 2003

When markets replaced integrated electricity supply systems, Victoria parcelled the State Electricity Commission into a dozen components and sold them off. New South Wales also reformed its system into separate generating and distribution businesses but retained them under state ownership.

Regulation Thwarts Market Growth

Australian Financial Review 13th September, 2002

Superficially, NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan's letter Owning up to facts on electricity, (AFR Letters, 11 September) is correct in saying that the NSW Government is not the State's price regulator. However, the comprehensive ownership of both the generation and the retail firms in the industry

Politics of Power

Courier Mail 6th October, 2001

QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie has made the astonishing suggestion that he will turn national competition policy into an election issue if he can't continue subsidising rural electricity prices. The subsidy is paid by city dwellers in higher electricity bills.

Cheaper Power Calling

Herald Sun 1st September, 2001

Do you remember those evening phone calls inviting you to switch your phone carrier? Well, within the next few months you find a new horde of callers waiting to entice you away from an existing service provider. This time the phone marketers will be pushing electricity. From January there will be full retail contestability. Households will then be able to shift to a new electricity retailer.

Powering Into Problems

Herald Sun 4th August, 2001

VICTORIAN electricity prices are heading north. Our bills essentially comprise two components: the energy cost and the charges for transporting it over poles and wires. Energy costs are the larger share for bigger users, while the two are split more evenly for households.

California: Causing a Re-think of Electricity Policy?

The Age 14th May, 2001

The Californian power crisis presents all governments with a salutary lesson. For almost two years now Californians have been facing rolling blackouts and spiralling charges for electricity. The crisis has forced two of America's largest electricity utilities to file for bankruptcy. Global icon high tech firms like Intel

NSW Power Setup Risks Shortages

Australian Financial Review 11th December, 2000

Californian electricity consumers are currently experiencing rolling blackouts and brownouts. The Californian problems stem from a lack of new generation in the face of a 12 per cent demand increase since 1996. NSW is adopting features of the Californian market arrangements that can disguise real prices thereby contribute to a shortage.

Price Regulation of Electricity Distribution Businesses

Privatization International 1st November, 2000

Australian privatised electricity distribution businesses are learning similar lessons to those of their UK counterparts about being hostage to the regulator. In September, the Victorian Regulator-General handed down his 2001 Price Determination for Victorian electricity distributors. This covers the basis for prices of the local distribution lines in the

Pipeline Regulations Flawed

The Age 29th May, 2000

Duke Energy's Eastern Gas Pipeline will soon carry gas between the Bass Strait and Sydney. Regulators' manoeuvrings regarding this new pipeline have demonstrated that the regulatory structure, finalised only last year, is seriously flawed.

All Eyes on Electricity Regulators' Price Reset

The Age 24th January, 2000

Over the past two years, Victoria's privatised electricity businesses have been on a merry-go-round of analysis and lobbying. The focus has been on Victoria's Regulator-General, John Tamblyn. The major issue has been the 2001 price re-set for line charges, which comprise 30-50 per cent of the final cost of electricity.

Don't Forget Gas Rivals in Pipeline

The Australian, 8th October 1999

The quest for the 'just price'. This is how ACCC Chairman Allen Fels has described the mountain of paper and cacophony of voices that have contributed to the debate on the price for the carriage of Victorian gas. He and Victorian regulator John Tamblyn have compiled 450 pages in their final reports alone

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