It takes world-class idiots to give Australia not just world-record electricity prices, but blackouts, too.
Your bills have doubled in a decade and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) on Wednesday warned of summer shortages.
You think “idiot” is too strong? Then how could a country with huge resources of coal, gas and uranium run short of electricity?
How could AEMO now warn that “we face an increasing and unacceptable risk that there will be insufficient capability in the system”?
“Unacceptable” hardly begins to describe what we’ve done, driven by irrational superstitions and green scares.
It was already “unacceptable” that we banned nuclear power here, despite exporting uranium for some of the 449 nuclear plants overseas that safely produce more than 10 per cent of the world’s electricity.
It is also “unacceptable” that we’ve now banned fracking for gas in Victoria, Northern Territory, Western Australia and much of NSW, also thanks to unscientific green scares. Our Chief Scientist says this technology is “completely safe” when well regulated and it’s been used in the United States to unlock such vast new supplies of cheap gas that it’s driven down prices and made the US self-reliant on energy.
So for no sane reason we’ve banned two major sources of electricity. But even more “unacceptable” is that we’ve decided that coal — our biggest source of all — should also be banned.
Coal-fired stations produce 73 per cent of our electricity and the cheapest and most reliable. Yet activists convinced politicians these stations were heating the world dangerously by releasing lots of carbon dioxide, the gas which feeds plants. Never mind that the world has, in fact, barely warmed over the past two decades.
Never mind that the predicted disasters have not occurred, either: cyclones haven’t got worse, our dams have not drained and harvests have not shrunk. And never mind that Australia’s emissions are so small that nothing we do will change the world’s temperature.
In fact, anyone mentioning those facts is screamed down as a “denier”.
But the ultimate act of idiocy was when governments helped to destroy our coal-fired stations without ensuring we’d still have enough power, cheap and steady.
In South Australia, the Labor government forced shut its last two coal-fired stations with green policies making people use more wind power instead. The blowing up of the last station, Northern, was actually celebrated in a video distributed by a public relations company.
Yes, proud to be nuts.
The thing is, wind power is so expensive and unreliable that South Australia has since suffered two huge blackouts and has the world’s most expensive electricity. That’s driven businesses broke, including, ironically, a plastics-recycling company. Now, terrified of even more blackouts, the government has bought nine diesel turbines as backup for its wind farms.
Doesn’t all that qualify as idiotic?
Or take Victoria. This year, it forced shut the giant Hazelwood coal-fired station, responsible for 20 per cent of the state’s electricity.
The Andrews Government had made the station too expensive to run or upgrade by setting renewable energy targets to make Victorians switch to heavily subsidised wind power. In a final blow, it tripled the tax on the coal Hazelwood used, so the station shut, 700 jobs were lost and power prices spiked.
More closures are coming as federal Labor scares off owners and investors by promising to force Australians to take 50 per cent of their energy from wind, solar and the existing hydro power.
Owners of coal-fired generators say they now can’t justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade their ageing plants, let alone invest in new ones.
Result: the giant Liddell power station, Australia’s third biggest, is set to shut in 2022, despite frantic offers by the Turnbull Government to help keep it running for another five years.
What a brutal wake-up from the airy dreams of Kevin Rudd, who as Labor leader claimed cuts to emissions would cost us peanuts, “something like $1 per person per year”. In fact, electricity prices last month alone jumped by between 16 and 20 per cent.
Hear from the power distributors what’s driving up your bills. Energy Australia blames “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”, including costs caused by closing the Northern and Hazelwood stations.
AGL blames “high gas prices and limited gas availability on the East Coast, the closure of ageing coal-fired generators and an uncertain policy environment”.
Yes, our electricity crisis is entirely man-made. Idiot-made, actually.
So when will this idiocy stop? Or is this the start of Australia’s decline?