Climate Activist Aussie Politicians Leap to Rescue Vital Coal Power Plants

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Waza; That hilarious moment when coal haters realise their necks are on the block if the power grid fails repeatedly during Summer heatwaves.

Australia proposes revenue top-up scheme to keep Alcoa Portland smelter open

MELBOURNE/BENGALURU (Reuters) – In a push to keep Alcoa Corp’s Portland aluminium smelter open, Australia’s government has offered to ensure the smelter earns at least A$76.8 million ($57.9 million) through June 2025 for reducing its power usage and helping to prevent blackouts.

Alcoa has long said the smelter needs cheaper, more reliable power to stay open beyond 2021.

The smelter in the city of Portland is the biggest single power consumer in Victoria, accounting for about 10% of state consumption. It plays a major role in balancing power supply and demand during heatwaves and other disruptive events.

The smelter has suffered from power disruption in recent years as the grid struggled with transmission problems and the unreliability of ageing coal-fired plants as well as weather-dependent wind and solar power generation, especially during heatwaves. Still, such is its demand that its closure could have knock-on effects across the power generation industry.

If Portland were to close, it would risk the reliability and security of the grid, and may lead to the early closure of one of the coal-fired generators the state relies on for much of its power,” Education Minister Dan Tehan, who represents the region where the smelter is located, said in a statement.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/news/australia-to-step-in-to-support-alcoas-struggling-aluminium-smelter/ar-BB1bTxu4

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, one of the sponsors of the rescue package, wasn’t nearly so supportive of aluminium smelters and coal when he spoke of the need to transition in February;

Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan dismissed the idea of there being a divide over climate change on his side of politics.

“I think we have got a clear path going forward,” he told Sky News.

Everyone knows that the economy has to transition.

That transition must protect the economy and jobs.

“We all know that if we tank the economy … that reduces emissions but it would destroy jobs,” he said.

Read more: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6621100/coalition-still-infighting-on-climate-alp/?cs=14231

What a mess. Successive governments have subsidised renewables and created a hostile business environment for coal and energy intensive businesses.

Yet when coal plants and energy intensive businesses take a rational decision to depart, because they no longer feel welcome, suddenly politicians realise then need them, and fall over themselves to hand out even more subsidies to convince them to keep operating, at least until renewables providers solve their reliability issues.

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December 15, 2020 at 04:45PM

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