The total collapse in wind and solar output during the big freezes that first struck Germany and then America provides a wake-up call for any policymaker still promoting that dangerously unreliable pair. Indeed, any politician or policy wonk still pushing wind and solar as meaningful power sources is likely to be welcomed to a facility for the criminally insane, in the not-too-distant future.
Across two continents, tens of thousands of wind turbines have been frozen into inaction – their mechanisms locked up solid; and millions of solar panels have been plastered with inches of snow and ice, and just as useless.
Their promoters are having a hard time crab walking away from the mantra that wind and solar will soon replace all forms of power generation, with fossil-fuelled sources the first to go. Troublesome things. Facts, that is.
Anyway, with attention drawn on a two continent wide self-inflicted energy calamity, a growing number are finally getting the message. For those still having trouble: NO country has ever run itself entirely on wind and solar; NO country ever will.
Necessity’s often the mother of invention, and tends to urgency when inaction has a deadly price. In the political domain, the necessity of pulling more votes than your opponent is always the primary promoter of desirable policy action.
And, so it is, with a move by backbenchers from both of Australia’s political camps to get nuclear power off the ground in this country, starting with a removal of the legislative ban placed on nuclear power generation. Back in 1998, the Federal government enacted legislation that prohibits nuclear power generation in any form. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act, specifically prohibit nuclear fuel fabrication, power, enrichment or reprocessing facilities.
Australia holds the world’s largest uranium reserves and, despite its shifting policy of limiting the number of mines and states that have banned them, is the world’s third-largest uranium exporter.
That Australia, among the world’s largest uranium exporters, doesn’t rely on nuclear power astonishes those from the 30 countries where you’ll find nearly 450 nuclear reactors currently operating – including the French, Americans, Canadians, Japanese and Chinese. Another 15 countries are currently building 60 reactors among them. Nuclear power output accounts for over 11% of global electricity production. But not a lick of it in Australia.
The Federal Coalition government comprises the notionally conservative Liberals and the agrarian socialist Nationals. And the Opposition Labor Party which, until recently, has run a very close race with the Greens of the lunatic left.
Backbenchers within the Liberals and Nationals were the first to move, with a vast majority of them in favour of scrapping the ludicrous ban on nuclear power and getting on with a nuclear-powered future.
The first article from The Australian paints a picture of promise. But it’s the second article from The Australian that turns that promise into a tangible hope.
The second piece reveals that there are a few in the Labor Party who are prepared to not only use the dreaded ‘N’ word in public, they’re equally keen to overturn their party’s vehement opposition to a first world power generation source that’s not only proved to be the world’s safest and most reliable, it’s the only stand-alone power generation source that does not emit carbon dioxide gas during that process.
And, yes, CO2 is not ‘pollution’ as Labor hacks tell us, but it’ll be a generation or more before any politician is prepared to say so in public.
Until then, with CO2 branded public enemy number one, the only hope this country has of developing reliable and affordable electricity before every last coal-fired plant is driven out of business – thanks to massive, market distorting subsidies to wind and solar – is to develop a nuclear power generation base – and to do so, post-haste.
Here’s the latest on the politics of power in Australia.
Coalition MPs in drive for nuclear energy
18 February 2021
Nationals senators have drafted legislation allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in nuclear power as two-thirds of Coalition MPs backed lifting the ban on the controversial fuel source to help shift the nation to a carbon-neutral future.
The block of five Nationals senators, led by Bridget McKenzie and Matt Canavan, will move an amendment to legislation establishing a $1bn arm at the green bank to allow it to invest in nuclear generators, high-energy, low-emissions (HELE), coal-fired power stations and carbon capture and storage technology.
The Nationals’ move comes as a survey of 71 Coalition backbenchers conducted by The Australian revealed that 48 were in favour of lifting the longstanding prohibition on nuclear power in the EPBC act.
Liberal MPs Andrew Laming, John Alexander and Gerard Rennick are among backbenchers who want Scott Morrison to take a repeal of the nuclear ban to the upcoming election — a move that would open a new divide with Labor as the nation sets a course for a low-emissions future.
“I’m very keen to see the prohibition lifted,” Mr Laming said. “It is something that has to be taken to an election so Australians realise there is a significant change in energy policy.”
Mr Alexander said it was like “trying to fight Muhammad Ali with one arm tied behind your back if you are going to ignore nuclear energy”.
“This is a new era; let’s be right at the cutting edge,” Mr Alexander said.
On Wednesday, the government was forced to delay a vote on a key piece of legislation to establish the Grid Reliability Fund after Barnaby Joyce pushed an amendment for the fund to be allowed to invest in HELE plants.
The fund would sit within the CEFC’s remit and support low-emissions dispatchable power projects, as well as transmission and distribution infrastructure. It is aimed at stabilising the energy system and balancing the growth of intermittent renewables.
The new amendment proposed by the Nationals would go further than Mr Joyce’s push by ensuring the CEFC — established by the Gillard government in 2012 to invest in green energy initiatives — could help kick-start nuclear projects as well as new clean coal plants.
Senator McKenzie said: “We compete against the world with one hand behind our back while other nations avail themselves of cutting-edge, low-emissions technologies. For too long, Australia has blocked energy innovations such as nuclear and carbon capture technologies in addition to allowing (HELE) projects.”
Out of the 71 Coalition backbenchers surveyed by The Australian, only Queensland senator Paul Scarr was opposed to changing the nuclear prohibition enshrined in the EPBC Act, citing a lack of community support “at this stage”. A further 22 backbenchers were undecided or did not respond to questions.
Other supporters of lifting the ban on nuclear generation, including Trent Zimmerman, Ted O’Brien and Rowan Ramsey, believe the government should not move ahead with legalising the energy source while the proposal is bitterly opposed by Labor.
In-principle support for lifting the nuclear prohibition is prevalent by members in every faction of the Coalition, which has been divided over climate change action since Tony Abbott became prime minister in 2013.
|Coalition backbenchers on whether nuclear energy ban should be lifted|
|In favour (48 total)||Opposed (1 total)||Undecided/won’t say (22 total)|
|John Alexander (Bennelong, NSW)||Paul Scarr (Senate, QLD)||Bridget Archer (Bass, TAS)|
|Katie Allen (Higgins, VIC)||Celia Hammond (Curtin, WA)|
|Kevin Andrews (Menzies, VIC)||Steve Irons (Swan, WA)|
|Russell Broadbent (Monash, VIC)||Gladys Liu (Chisholm, VIC)|
|Vince Connelly (Stirling, WA)||Fiona Martin (Reid, NSW)|
|James Stevens (Sturt, SA)||Melissa McIntosh (Lindsay, NSW)|
|Jason Falinski (McKellar, NSW)||Gavin Pearce (Braddon, TAS)|
|Ian Goodenough (Moore, WA)||Lucy Wicks (Robertson, NSW)|
|Craig Kelly (Hughes, NSW)||Wendy Askew (Senate, TAS)|
|Julian Leeser (Berowra, NSW)||Slade Brockman (Senate, WA)|
|Tony Pasin (Barker, SA)||Claire Chandler (Senate, TAS)|
|Rowan Ramsey (Grey, SA)||Andrew McLachlan (Senate, SA)|
|Dave Sharma (Wentworth, SA)||Matt O’Sullivan (Senate, WA)|
|Rick Wilson (O’Connor, WA)||Scott Ryan (Senate, VIC)|
|Tim Wilson (Goldstein, VIC)||Angie Bell (Moncrieff)|
|Trent Zimmerman (North Sydney, NSW)||George Christensen (Dawson, QLD)|
|Eric Abetz (Senate, TAS)||Garth Hamilton (Groom, Queensland)|
|Alex Antic (Senate, SA)||Phillip Thompson (Herbert, QLD)|
|Andrew Bragg (Senate, NSW)||Andrew Wallace (Fisher, QLD)|
|David Fawcett (Senate, SA)||Pat Conaghan (Cowper, NSW)|
|Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (Senate, NSW)||Tony Smith (Casey, VIC)|
|Sarah Henderson (Senate, VIC)||Ross Vasta (Bonner, QLD)|
|Hollie Hughes (Senate, NSW)|
|James McGrath (Senate, Queensland)|
|Jim Molan (Senate, NSW)|
|Gerard Rennick (Senate, QLD)|
|Ben Small (Senate, WA)|
|Dean Smith (Senate, WA)|
|David Van (Senate, VIC)|
|Warren Entsch (Leichhardt, QLD)|
|Ted O’Brien (Fairfax, QLD)|
|Llew O’Brien (Wide Bay, QLD)|
|Ken O’Dowd (Flynn, QLD)|
|Julian Simmonds (Ryan, QLD)|
|Bert van Manen (Forde, QLD)|
|Damian Drum (Nicholls, VIC)|
|Barnaby Joyce (New England, NSW)|
|David Gillespie (Lyne, NSW)|
|Matt Canavan (Senate, Queensland)|
|Perin Davey (Senate, NSW)|
|Susan McDonald (Senate, QLD|
|Terry Young (Longman, QLD)|
|James Paterson (Senate, VIC)|
|Nicolle Flint (Boothby, SA)|
|Anne Webster (Mallee, VIC)|
|Andrew Laming (Bowman, QLD)|
|Bridget McKenzie (Senate, VIC)|
|Sam McMahon (Senate, NT)|
City-based Liberal MPs who back strong action on climate change — including Jason Falinski, Tim Wilson, Katie Allen, Andrew Bragg and Dave Sharma — argue that nuclear should be an option in a technology-agnostic approach to Australia finding a pathway to zero-net emissions. Conservative MPs who are cautious about green-energy policies — including Mr Joyce, Senator Canavan, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly, Kevin Andrews and Tony Pasin — say nuclear energy could provide an option for a zero-emissions dispatchable power source to balance out the growth of intermittent renewables.
The Prime Minister has signalled he will not move ahead with legalising nuclear energy unless there is bipartisan support with Labor. MPs told The Australian Mr Morrison was unlikely to pursue a policy change on the issue in this term of parliament. However, small modular nuclear reactors were included as a potential technology in the federal government’s technology investment roadmap discussion paper.
Nuclear energy, which does not produce direct carbon emissions, is used in nations that have set zero-net emissions by 2050 targets, including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea. The Biden administration is also supportive of nuclear power.
West Australian Liberal Vince Connelly said Australia was being “held back by an outdated ideology that seeks to paint nuclear technology as inherently evil”.
Ms Allen said, it was “hugely significant” the US was progressing with prototypes for small modular reactors.
South Australian senator Alex Antic said nuclear was “effective, reliable, safe and virtually emission-free”. “The radical left cannot have their ideological cake and eat it too when it comes to energy generation,” he said.
Mr Wilson attacked Labor and the Greens as nuclear science deniers. “You aren’t serious about climate change if you oppose nuclear outright,” he said. “Only nuclear plus baseload renewables can deliver Australia a sustainable net zero future with cheap, reliable electricity.”
Many government MPs acknowledge the power source is not currently competitive on price, but say investment decisions should be a matter for private companies and lifting the nuclear ban would encourage technological advancement.
Other Liberal MPs in favour of lifting the prohibition are: Warren Entsch, Russell Broadbent, James Stevens, Ian Goodenough, Rick Wilson, David Fawcett, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Sarah Henderson, Hollie Hughes, James McGrath, Jim Molan, Julian Simmonds, Bert van Manen, Ben Small, Dean Smith, David Van, Terry Young and James Paterson.
Nationals MPs who want the energy source legalised include Anne Webster, Damian Drum, Perin Davey, Llew O’Brien, Sam McMahon, Susan McDonald and Ken O’Dowd.
Boothby MP Nicolle Flint has previously publicly backed nuclear power.
Labor senators back anti-nuclear energy rethink
18 February 2021
Labor senators Raff Ciccone and Alex Gallacher say the ALP should reconsider its long-term opposition to nuclear energy at next month’s national conference amid vast support within the Coalition to lift a ban on the controversial fuel source.
Senator Ciccone, the convener of the Victorian Right faction, said there should be a debate on whether nuclear energy could be an option to help Australia lower its emissions, after The Australian revealed two-thirds of Coalition MPs back lifting the ban. “We have got to look at all options in the lead-up to the national conference,” he said.
Senator Gallacher, from South Australia, said it would make “perfect sense” to lift the ban on nuclear power, given the vast uranium resources in his state. “If you want to advance the climate change agenda, you need firming power and nuclear should be in the mix,” he said. “Slow to build but lasts for a long time.”
Anthony Albanese said he did not support nuclear energy, while it was also strongly opposed by opposition assistant environment spokesman Josh Wilson and Victorian Labor MP Josh Burns.
“I am not a supporter of nuclear energy in Australia because it doesn’t stack up,” the Opposition Leader said.
The office of opposition energy spokesman Chris Bowen did not respond to calls on Thursday.
Some 49 of 71 Coalition backbenchers have endorsed lifting the prohibition on nuclear power, after Nationals MP Pat Conaghan on Thursday threw his support behind changing the regulation.
Just one Coalition MP has voiced opposition to lifting the nuclear prohibition while 21 MPs are either undecided or did not respond to questions.
The Australian reported on Wednesday that Nationals senators have drafted legislation allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in nuclear generators, high-energy, low-emissions (HELE), coal-fired power stations and carbon capture and storage technology.
Scott Morrison has signalled he will not move ahead with legalising nuclear energy unless there is bipartisan support with Labor.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the government should be “open to all forms of energy that can contribute to the reliable, affordable and clean energy system we need”.
“It would be principled to replace the ban on nuclear electricity generation with a workable regulatory regime to protect the community,” Mr Willox said.
“If innovative designs and mass manufacturing change the game in future, that openness would stand us in good stead.”
Australian Workers Union secretary Daniel Walton urged the Prime Minister to push ahead with lifting the ban on nuclear power, given the strong support from his backbench. “Everyone likes to doubt that nuclear will play a role in Australia but there is one thing I’m sure of: if a ban remains in place, it will never get off the ground,” Mr Walton said.
via STOP THESE THINGS
February 22, 2021 at 12:32AM