The claim that wind and solar guarantee falling power bills is being revealed for the big fat lie that it truly is. It’s a reality that is catching up with a vengeance for Australians gullible enough to have bought it. Tens of $billions have already been squandered on subsidies to chaotically intermittent wind and solar and, under the truly deranged leadership of Anthony Albanese and his Energy Minister, Chris Bowen, there is much, much worse to come.
Retail power prices are already amongst the highest in the world; the hot tip is for power bills to jump somewhere between 30 and 50% in the next 12 months.
What that means to small businesses and households is the subject of this timely piece by the Australian’s Gemma Tognini.
Green zealotry will not save battlers from power pain
12 November 2022
Up the road from where I live, there’s a lovely and lively neighbourhood strip. More a village, really. Half a dozen cafes, a dry cleaner. A decent Thai takeaway joint. Most days it bustles along in a steady, easy rhythm. People know each other either by name or the name of their dog. Eyes are met with a smile and handshakes are firm. It’s a great little pocket of the greatest country on earth, but like the rest of Australia, its feeling the electric shock of fast-rising power costs.
This week I was chatting to one business owner and, like most in the neighbourhood, his is a family affair. They pay just shy of $50k annually in power bills. They’ve been told to expect that to double next year. Yep. From $50k to $100k in a year.
This is a scandal. There’s no other word for it. And the awful reality is, small businesses in neighbourhoods like mine, all across Australia, will be hit with this body blow. It will land on families that can absorb it, albeit resentfully, and those for whom it means they won’t eat some nights. Homes, families, neighbours and businesses like yours and mine.
Australia is hostage to this energy crisis by its own hand, and the drama is playing out in a crowded echo chamber, where fear-driven absolutism reigns. Where middle ground is not allowed in discussion, let alone policy development. Where ideology trumps intellect and to hell with the consequences. Where cautioning against a reckless rush towards over-reliance on renewables gets you shunned as an unbeliever.
And it’s not that there weren’t any warnings, either. Our last great reforming prime minister, John Howard, in a 2017 interview, cautioned that Australia’s overly zealous pursuit of growth in renewables targets would lead to massive increases in the cost of energy. He said it would prove to be a scandalous policy failure of the first order. It’s true then, that a prophet is never welcome in his own land. No one was listening then, not even his own party.
We’re here at least in large part because for decades, conservatives lacked the vision, the discipline, and the ticker to tackle this head-on. Tony Abbott was knifed before he got the chance, Malcolm Turnbull was Malcolm Turnbull, and Scott Morrison suffered from a bad case of Covid interruptus among other things.
Squandered opportunities are just as bad as making false promises, though, and Anthony Albanese swore on the ballot box that our household power bills would fall by more than $250 per household per year. What’s worse? Knowing it was a lie or not realising it was never going to be possible?
Which brings us to the here and now. A fraught environment in which the loudest voices outside of government pushing the green dream are elites who, from Australia’s largest homes, private planes, islands and yachts, lecture to the rest of us with an “okay proletariat, line up for your soup” kind of vibe. In a cute but not unexpected plot twist, their individual carbon footprints are the largest in the country, according to international aid agency Oxfam. Meanwhile, everyone else braces themselves for what’s to come.
In the same week federal MP for Curtin Kate Chaney suggested a resources super-profits tax would “help Australia’s most vulnerable”. What an odd concept. Let’s further take a bat to one of the only reliable, affordable energy sources, which will drive prices higher still, which in turn will hit lowest income earners the hardest, so we can – wait for it – help the most vulnerable. You’d be hard-pressed to make this stuff up on a bad day. This is what you get when the conversation is half-baked and full of half-truths. When nobody is allowed to even mention longer-term solutions like nuclear. When only one view is allowed.
When respected Indigenous leader Marcia Langton this week warned that the green economy would have worse consequences for Indigenous people than mining, because of land clearing, who stopped to pay attention? Langton spoke about the “fantasy” narrative around the green industry. The silence from Labor, the teal faux independents and their foot soldiers was typical and so typically hypocritical.
It feels like Australia is driving blindfolded off the edge of a cliff. The Albanese government, which inherited the problem, instead of steadying the ship seems hellbent on punting it to the bottom of the ocean. It needs to lead. And by leading, I don’t mean price mechanism intervention. That’s not a solution, it’s a panicked admission of policy failure. A Band-Aid on a severed femoral artery.
Mine are not the views of a politician (god forbid) but those of a taxpaying business owner. An employer. A person who is horrified at the ideological single-mindedness with which energy policy is being addressed. Who is like all of you, bracing herself for the hit.
I’m on record, repeatedly, as saying any sane person wants the cleanest energy mix possible, without plunging the most vulnerable in the community into energy poverty, fuelling inflation, crushing small business, or making Australia even more repellent as a place for others to invest.
Policy absolutists are just as bad as the Christian who takes one verse from the Bible and makes a doctrine out of it. In this case, it’s the doctrine of renewables-at-all-costs that is the threat. Heaven help us all.
via STOP THESE THINGS
November 23, 2022 at 12:32AM