Claim: Aussie Renewables Could Have Prevented Higher Bills and Blackouts

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to Professor Liam Wagner, if the Aussie government had encouraged more renewables 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Rolling blackouts and higher bills: The energy market is going to give Australians a Christmas present no one wants

By Daniel Jeffrey –  2 days ago

Picture this: it’s the peak of summer. Temperatures across Australia have finally warmed up, and people around the country are reaching for their fans and air conditioners – only to be stymied by the threat of rolling blackouts.

It might seem unlikely, but according to one energy and environmental economics expert, it’s a genuine threat.

“I think we’re more than likely going to have a repeat of June,” Liam Wagner, associate professor at the Centre for Food and Resources at Adelaide Univesity, told

“A majority of (coal-fired generators) are far too old to be operating,” he said.

“But they are continuing to operate because we haven’t had an energy policy in Australia that’s conducive to replacing their capacity with something else.

“You would see a significant drop in price on the wholesale market (by) injecting more renewables into the grid,” he said.

“It’s not happening quickly enough. It should have happened 15 years ago. I’ve been shouting at the top of my lungs, I’ve been blue in the face for the last 15 years.”

Read more:

Professor Liam Wagner believes renewables are cheaper than coal.

If renewables are so cheap, why is government policy even needed to encourage investment in renewables? Why don’t people flock to building renewables of their own free will, to replace Australia’s ailing coal plants, and address the shortfall of electricity which I agree is likely during this Southern Hemisphere Summer?

Genuine money driven energy revolutions don’t require significant government policy support – the new energy source rapidly displaces the old energy source, as investors flock to the new opportunity to make money.

When a clean-burning kerosene lamp invented by Michael Dietz appeared on the market in 1857, its effect on the whaling industry was immediate. Kerosene, known in those days at “Coal Oil”, was easy to produce, cheap, smelled better than animal-based fuels when burned, and did not spoil on the shelf as whale oil did. The public abandoned whale oil lamps almost overnight. By 1860, at least 30 kerosene plants were in production in the United States, and whale oil was ultimately driven off the market. When sperm oil dropped to 40 cents a gallon in 1895, due to lack of demand, refined petroleum, which was very much in demand, sold for less than 7 cents a gallon. …

Read more: San Joaquin Valley Geology

This rapid replacement of traditional energy sources is simply not happening with the green revolution, because green energy is too expensive. Regulatory hostility is destroying the old energy, coal and gas – but new energy production is not being built at sufficient scale to replace the destroyed fossil fuel plants.

The other option to resolve blackouts would be to relax political pressure on coal plant operators, to restore enough market confidence to repair existing plants, and build new coal plants. Plenty of coal plant construction is happening around the world, because burning coal is cheap, even when it has to be imported from Australia. Global coal consumption hit a historic record of eight billion tons this year. But regulatory hostility in Australia is preventing this obvious resolution to our energy shortages.

Fixing this deadlock will require Aussie voters to wake up and elect different politicians. So long as Australian people keep electing politicians who support Net Zero, so long as the Australian people continue to swallow the mistruth that renewables are cheap, and will eventually bring down prices, the risk of blackouts and skyrocketing energy prices will continue.

via Watts Up With That?

December 26, 2022 at 12:43PM

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