Could Turnbull succeed where Abbott failed, and kill large scale wind and solar?

Could Turnbull succeed where Abbott failed, and kill large scale wind and solar?

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Federal government has trampled over several key Finkel measures it supposedly has adopted. But as experts plead with Coalition to allow AEMO and Energy Security Board to get on with job, Turnbull may deliver Abbott’s wish, and kill new renewable projects.

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abbott_turnbull_130906_aap_0More reports that the federal Coalition government is seeking to take the “clean” out of the proposed clean energy target and try to find a way to structure it to support new coal-fired generators confirms the renewable energy industry’s worst fears.

Namely, that Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is seeking to achieve what his predecessor Tony Abbott only managed to do for a few years: bring an effective stop to large-scale wind and solar projects in Australia.

News reports this morning suggested that a revised policy had a simple goal: protect “baseload” coal and seek to limit the amount of renewable energy in the system to well below the 42 per cent contemplated by chief scientist Alan Finkel.

Let’s remember Finkel’s modest numbers included about 10 per cent for household and commercial rooftop solar, and so the share of large-scale renewable projects was imagined by Finkel at round 32 per cent by 2030, little more than business as usual and just an incremental gain from the 23.5 per cent required by the current renewable energy target by 2020.

If this 2030 target is lowered further by Turnbull’s political manoeuvrings, it suggests that he wants to do what Abbott failed to do: effectively kill the large-scale renewables sector, just as it becomes clear that wind and solar costs are way below those of new coal, or gas, or even the cost of extending the life of existing coal plants.

It is not yet clear how the Turnbull government could structure such a scheme, or how it could get it through parliament, although the compromises the Coalition struck with Labor on the CPRS in 2009 before it was finally dumped, and on the renewable energy target in 2015 might give them hope.

It could also be mere window dressing for the Nationals, grimly determined to prevent any new renewable energy investment and jobs in their electorates, and the right wing policy fringe dwellers – given ample voice in a three-page spread in The Australian today, and in most other editions.

Turnbull insists he is seeking to promote something that evidently doesn’t exist: “cheap and reliable” baseload energy. ITK analyst and RenewEconomy contributor David Leitch pulls those numbers and suppositions apart with deadly effect in this must-read analysis.

So much for Turnbull’s energy “trilemma” – it would be better served by renewables and storage, as anyone outside the ideological confines of the Murdoch press, the Institute of Public Affairs, or the Coalition’s right wing knows only too well.

Whatever the truth about the fate of Finkel’s CET, it does highlight that Turnbull is veering away from the recommendations of the Finkel Review.

It has supposedly adopted 49 of the 50 Finkel recommendations (with the exception of the CET), but in the past week it has trampled over some of the key ones by its deliberate misrepresentation of the two AEMO reports and its efforts to usurp the role of the Energy Security Board.

The ESB is designed to co-ordinate with AEMO and other key institutions to ensure that the lights stay on and enough dispatchable generation is in the system – both in coming summers and in the future – and provide advice so that policies and market rules are designed accordingly.

But as it met for the first time in Melbourne on Tuesday, the Coalition continued to misrepresent AEMO’s reports on dispatchability and grid security, and tried to force AGL Energy into keeping the Liddell coal generator open, or come up with its own plan to replace it.

That is not AGL’s role, or the government’s. It is AEMO’s role, in conjunction with the other members of the ESB, and its own expert panel.

And as AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman said on Tuesday: The message from its report on dispatchability was clear, it was about that very term, dispatchability, and that doesn’t include ageing coal-fired power plants.

Oliver Yates, the former head of the Clean Energy Finance Corp and a member of AEMO’s expert panel (listen to this excellent Energy Insiders podcast with panel chair Chloe Munro to understand its role) echoed the views of many in the industry in pleading for the government to allow AEMO to get on with its job.

“Just allow AEMO to get on with it as set out under the Finkel Review guidelines, then the government can back out of the way and let them get on with their job, which is to keep the lights on,” Yates told ABC Radio’s AM program.

And he pointed out how AEMO report’s had been misrepresented. “What they said was clear: If you want to do anything you need to have dispatchable capacity. That is not a baseload coal-fired power station – it has to be dispatched at any time.”

“Coal fired power stations .. will not respond the way as pumped hydro does, as batteries do, or demand response measures. It doesn’t suit the ever increasing dynamic market that we are moving into.”

It has already been made clear that Liddell is not only dirty, it is unreliable. AGL says so itself. It lost more than half of its capacity in last summer’s heatwave, just as the two biggest gas plants in the state also tripped, victims of heat-related problems.

Yet another report has been released by the Australian Energy Regulator that focuses on the failures of coal and gas generators in the heat, this time in Queensland on February 12, when five different “baseload” coal and gas generators shed a total of 790MW of capacity owing to heat-related technical issues and just as the state’s temperatures soared and demand hit record highs. And Queensland’s is a relatively young fleet.

As AEMO has made clear, ageing coal-fired generators do not meet the definition of a reliable, dispatchable source that it needs to call upon at these critical moments. Having a “baseload” coal generator capable of trundling through the night is next to useless if AEMO cannot call upon it at the critical peaks.

Leitch’s analysis says that not only are the coal-fired power stations unreliable, they are also costly – the fuel cost alone for Liddell and other plants suggests generation costs of at least $65/MWh. That is not cheap electricity.

Turnbull’s attempts to minimise the amount of large-scale wind and solar to please the Coalition’s dominant conservative faction is in contrast to the AEMO modelling, which shows that the risk of load shedding can be minimised under a modelled penetration of 45 per cent renewable energy.

Finkel’s proposal was already considered to be a watered down version of what was needed to address the climate issue, and was designed to be “political acceptable”.

Any serious attempts to meet the Paris target of keeping average global warming well below 2°C – and not just Australia’s initial downpayment – would result in a renewables share as high as 70 per cent.

But despite the declarations of the likes of Transgrid that even 100 per cent renewables is both feasible and affordable, the Coalition has apparently decided to erect policy road-blocks that would stop even the modest target being reached.

The irony is that Turnbull’s efforts to appease the conservatives means that Abbott appears to be having more impact from the back-bench than he did in government.

He succeeded in bringing investment in large-scale renewable energy to a halt for three years – one of the reasons why the lost capacity from Hazelwood closure is yet to be replaced – but the current boom in wind and solar is the result of his failure to kill the RET altogether, as he had wished.

As the build-out of wind and solar nears the level needed to meet the RET of 33,000GWh by 2020, any future investment in large-scale wind and solar will rely on other longer term policy measures, state-based targets like Victoria’s and Queensland (if it survives next year’s elections) and corporate demand.

Or, it could be promoted by a change in market rules, which currently favour the incumbents because they reward generators with low up front costs and high running costs, like the gas generators that currently set the market prices.

Efforts to change those market rules and encourage new technologies like battery storage have been delayed until mid 2021 at the earliest, and other rules that would encourage demand management, one of the favoured mechanisms of Zibelman to manage the grid, are also yet to be put into place.

The Clean Energy Council added its voice to the debate, saying that the solutions for Liddell are “here now and commercially feasible” and can minimise costs to consumers.

“Investors have made it clear that the future lies in these clean energy solutions rather than outdated and high-emissions coal-fired power which is becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate,” CEC boss Kane Thornton said in a statement.

“International and local investors are currently committing more than $8 billion to Australia’s clean energy sector this year alone as a result of the bipartisan support for the 2020 Renewable Energy Target.

“But with no long-term policy in place beyond 2020, investors are becoming nervous and this uncertainty will stifle the advances Australia needs to create a clean, affordable energy system. The blame for Australia’s high-cost energy system lies in decades of policy uncertainty, not the introduction of low-emissions technology.”

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  1. John Elliott 3 years ago

    Nice imagery, Giles. I love the “fleet” of ageing ironclad coal generators “trundling” into rising seas as the wind builds, Admiral Turnbull in command, and all their guns pointing upwards….

  2. Joe 3 years ago

    Two Tongued Turnbull ‘implementing’ the Abbott’s policies. …can it get any worse. The COALition have had 4 years in Government and still no Energy Policy other than asking Andy / AGL to come up with a ‘Plan’, those ‘magic letters by Christmas’, barcodes on invoices and helicopter joyrides over The Snowy. Australia, you lose again!

  3. JIm 3 years ago

    As far as I know, Abbott/Turnbull’s is the first national Australian government to actively and specifically seek a flight in capital, with adverse consequences that will flow right through the economy.

    • Mark Roest 3 years ago

      From that point of view, it’s betrayal of the citizenry.

      • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

        But ‘everyone knows’ the LNP are ‘better economic managers’!

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          Only at a two up game when every one is to pissed to notice their being screwed.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          In politics, “better economic manager” means “better at stealing money and shoveling it to cronies”. Nothing more. And boy, the Libs and Nats are better at stealing money and shoveling it to cronies!

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        And that’s treason isn’t it!

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      And GG sacked Whitlem for what. I think you what else I’d like to say.

  4. Rod 3 years ago

    I was feeling a bit depressed today with all this bad news. Then, (due to a Windows 7 update) my extension for changing Abbott into a cat started working. I haven’t stopped laughing since.

  5. Nicko 3 years ago

    The sellout by Turnbull is complete ………

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      His last grain of integrity has disappeared down the s-bend.

      He has also managed to win another set of hypocrite wings over the total sell out of the LNP doctrine of the free market. Staring down power bosses, attempting to club Vesey into submission. Its all sounding very despotic.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        It’s desperate bully boy tactics, all Vessey has to say is go FYS Mal and deal done!

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      His only goal seems to be PM, for its own sake. If he truly meant what he said about CC and renewables in past years, if he has any balls or integrity he would stare down his right wing and dare them to depose him, because the polls indicate that he is the Coalition’s only chance of retaining office, and a slim one at that.
      The man is wealthy enough to be able to walk away; he does not need the job to maintain a fabulous lifestyle. Maybe his principles were just to get him to where he is; its hard to be anything but cynical now.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Exactly what I said about the bastard the other day.

      • Mark Roest 3 years ago

        Is it possible that the somewhat more macho Abbott cowed him psychologically? That’s what I come up with in the context of what you are pointing out.

  6. Mark Roest 3 years ago

    So what are the upfront cost thresholds that will allow the building boom to go on with zero support from the federal government? What business design would allow equipment that undercuts those thresholds to seize the business high ground from the existing generators, and be resilient to attempts to throttle it? In other words, what approach, specs and prices would enable renewable energy to “roll up and over the incumbents”, as (I think) the Sunpower CEO challenged?
    If all the stars who are being undermined by the COALition and the Nationals team up and answer these questions with a set of ranges and explain the interactions, then entrepreneurs can focus on the combinations that they can work most effectively on, and bring a range of solutions to market that is unstoppable, at costs that are undeniable, and which lead to rapid payoff of financing, so that the people of the nation can have virtually FREE energy going forward from that point.
    I think this will include a serious focus on combinations of location, smart microgrid, and effective projections of what climates will be like as they are progressively disrupted, along with another focus on an arrangement of appliances that are designed to help people get through extreme weather and fire events that keep solar shut down longer than the batteries can store for. Then be right out front about what the limits are, and enroll people in making a game of making it work, for themselves and for each other. Make a meme of it!

    • GlennM 3 years ago

      Just have to fight every step of the way. They are getting very desperate and a cornered wild animal is most dangerous. However in the end they will loose, it looks like rooftop will go over 1Gw per year and keep growing. The ultimate solution is doing your own thing and going off grid.

      • Miles Harding 3 years ago

        One good thing is that the states are increasingly giving the national LNP the finger and going their own way with more rational energy policies.

        • GlennM 3 years ago

          Thanks Miles…as a Non Aussie,
          what are the chances of the states staying that way in the elections next year ?

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Fairly good, the majority of voters have accepted the change to renewables they just want it managed better.

        • Chris Drongers 3 years ago

          True. But the processes and longer-term planning horizons for connections to the grid, requirements for ‘dispatchability’ etc are still long and, I suggest, fairly opaque and expensive. While the national electricity market regulators are responsible for setting many of these things Qld, Vic, Tas and SA could gang up to get faster, more definitive action.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Good idea Chris, but don’t forget WA’s new Labor government, they got elected on RE platform.

    • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

      Your plan is wonderful, but the taxpayer handouts have historically been stilted in favour of fossil fuels, and the Coalition plan is to increase this widening gap. If only the lure of clean energy for its own merit was enough to wipe out coal and gas investment.

      • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

        People need to move their super to funds that don’t invest in fossil fuels.

        • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

          Do it because cleantech is where the growth is, if not for the planet. I did it for the latter, but am enjoying the former.

      • Mark Roest 3 years ago

        Hello Chris,
        Check out what I just wrote to Matt!

        • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

          … indeed that will be something to behold. Keep those technologies coming along !

    • Jeremy C 3 years ago

      You ask an interesting question, is it more a question of what mainstream Australian corporate exec will risk their position and status and stand up to the bullies in the LNP. The CEO of AGL isn’t from the Australian pvt school/mates network/corporate nexus so he is lukely to stand up to the bullying if AGL lets him.

      • Mark Roest 3 years ago

        I’m not talking about that kind of star! I mean people like Giles Parkinson, David Leitch, Audrey Zibelman, Oliver Yates, and possibly Kane Thornton and the leader of Transgrid, even though he was forced to back off by his fossil fuel bosses.
        People who can and do think without fear, and with great skill, outside the box of convention, on a whole systems scale. That’s who should design the future energy system for Australia, and how you can get there. I’m saying that I see enough disruptive technology to make a stack of it that blows incumbent systems out of the water.

        • Matt Howell 3 years ago

          All you need Mark, is a sprinkle of fairy dust. Seriously; noble idea, but who pays??? We are not technology merchants, but merchants of market competitiveness. If we design a system that is so clean and nobody can afford the cost, then it’s akin to ‘the operation was a success, but the patient died.’

          • Mark Roest 3 years ago

            Matt, you may be used to battery prices in the high hundreds of dollars per kWh, but the technology I’m involved with should be on the market at under US$200 per kWh within 2 years, and under US$100 by 2020. And you won’t be hit with an import tariff for your solar panels as we may in the US — in fact, that may create a bit of a glut and price cuts in the rest of the world if it slashes sales in the US. You too can ride the transition from monster fossils to renewable sun and wind.

            The upshot is that if you have financing (and I strongly favor arranging it), your customers can enjoy no net negative cash flow. Meanwhile, you might watch Tony Seba’s video on Disruptive Technologies, for a more accurate perspective on costs than you have been receiving, and not just me claiming it for my (at present) vaporware. 🙂

    • neroden 3 years ago

      At this point, no support is needed by the federal government.

      But what is needed is to stop the active *attacks* from the federal government — the bid-design-rigging to require fossil fuels and exclude solar/wind bids, the distorted “market” rules designed to subsidize fossil fuels, the *direct* subsidies for fossil fuels, etc.

  7. solarguy 3 years ago

    Surely every one else is feeling as completely enraged as I am at the moment, please don’t tell me it’s but a mere few of us. Please all tell me that!

    This f%$k wit and his FF mates are scuttling any chance we have of getting ahead on C/Change agreements. Why doesn’t this genius tell the coal incumbents to divest from that black shit and make even more money from renewables and storage before they all go broke.

    These corpulent bastards are pissed at the wheel of the shiny new cruiser and are steering a course for the rocks, all the way laughing like mad men!

    And why aren’t we trying them for treason.

    • brucelee 3 years ago

      That’s a good question, why aren’t we sueing the government for not acting in the best health of its citizens.

    • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

      They are making us a whole load of shit sangas. Hopefully we will be able to watch the cabinet eat them eventually.

    • Pete 3 years ago

      I’ve been completely enraged ever since Abbott became PM in 2013. Am also enraged at Turnbull for replacing Abbott in 2015; it just showed that Turnbull was more interested in the PMship than the good of the country. If he’d left Abbott in place the coalition would have been wiped out last year and we’d now be well on our way to a renewable future in Oz with all that means for “jobs and growth”. In fact, imho, if Albanese had been Labor leader I think we’d have a Labor government now. I’m not a huge fan of Labor either (they have their own problems) but they’re vastly preferable to the coalition.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        The Coalition just keep on delivering… leaders that are an EPIC FAIL.

    • Matt Howell 3 years ago

      Could it be that the true cost of your renewables utopia is coming home to roost? I love the practical reality of renewable energy; heck, I have PV on my roof to run my energy hungry appliances during the day. But the moment you perpetuate the myth that renewables can power our heavy industries is the moment you lost my attention. This isn’t a binary debate. Renewables have their place; but pretending we need to shut down baseload thermal under the deluded belief that we’re somehow saving the planet is infantile at best and reckless at worst.

      • riley222 3 years ago

        Two words Matt. Pumped hydro.
        If we had enough, powered by renewables, then we could power heavy industries. That is where we should be devoting our efforts, not coal plants.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        Comparing modern power electronics like inverters to traditional rotating generation is like comparing a smartphone to a dial phone, the anti-renewables cannot accept that we are in a significant technology shift and it’s more than capable of meeting the challenge.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Just goes to show you have no knowledge and far less comprehension of what renewables can do. Infantile is a label that describes you very well and your deluded if you think it can’t happen re: 100% RE, as my home is, because it has always been about storage. If you don’t have a battery your only getting half the deal.

        Smarten up!

      • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

        Renewables can power our heavy industries though – electricity doesn’t have to come from centralised large sources. The combined output of rooftop solar in Queensland is in effect the largest power station in the state. The unit consuming the electrons doesn’t differentiate between electrons coming from a solar panel or electrons coming from a coal fired power station.

        • Ian 3 years ago

          Your concern regarding heavy industry requiring baseload-type generation is an interesting one and definitely needs review. Why is the beast “heavy industry” so dependent on baseload? Do they need surgical-grade electricity anyway? What efforts are they making to match their demand to the available generation profile? And have they been free-loading on our home exorbitant electricity payments as a sort of cross-subsidy all this time? We know that industrial users consume roughly 50% of the electricity generated and pay 20% of the expense. Maybe it’s time to stop bashing renewables and look at these silent industrial parasites.

      • neroden 3 years ago

        No. What’s going on is that the true cost of corrupt Libs and Nats is coming home to roost.

        Wind and solar are cheaper than rotten old coal. Batteries + solar is cheaper than rotten old coal. Libs and Nats are trying to shovel government money to subsidize coal. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

        Libs and Nats are supporting the Enron-style market manipulation which allows the privateering coal plant owners to seize obscene amounts of money, too. Wind and solar and batteries can stop this market manipulation… so corrupt Libs and Nats are trying to stop them.

      • Richard 3 years ago

        I beleive more and more heavy industries in Australia are investing in their own renewable generation. So what you are saying is bollocks.

        In fact the moronic and corrupt Liberal party are actually pushing the accelerator to the floor on renewable uptake in Australia because of their pathetic headless chook approach to energy policy.

        If they had taken a more sensible managed approach years ago, we wouldn’t be getting whole industries taking energy production into their own hands. In the end it will be house holders without solar and battery that will be hurt the most by the the hollow man Turnbull.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        Could it be that the end of your SWEET industrial energy contract deal era is now at an end? The deal where you large industrial players jimmied extremely cheap electricity contracts to the detriment of us ordinary residential consumers? You won, we lost.

        Go and suck on that mate. Don’t whine to me about jobs, because you have it in your own power to keep those jobs if you decide to get real about the future of energy instead of being welded to the past like a whiney loser. Any jobs lost from Tomago are YOUR own fault for being so hopeless.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      There must be an Environmental Lawyer somewhere who could launch a “crimes against humanity” or “crimes against the planet” court case. But I was watching ABC program ‘The Business’ last night (13/09/17 ) and Mark Collett from Energy Australia was interviewed. He has basically poo pooed the idea of Nu Coal being a goer. Like Andy / AGL it seems that the odd Gas Peaker, Demand Management and new supply from renewables is the way forward. The economics of Nu Coal don’t work compared to the alternatives. Ironic then isn’t it that ‘the market’, which The Libbies trumpet, will make Nu Coal economically unviable despite all the current boosting from The COALition and Rupert’s newsrags.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        The coal money powered Lib and Nats are going to bung this one on and I saw it coming from a long way off. They are going to argue that for power security they will use taxpayer payers money to refurbish Liddell and run it past 2022. Plus there using all media to convince people that coal is cheaper and more reliable, “a must have capper”. And from listing to talk back radio there seems to be plenty of weak heads, who don’t know the arse from their elbow falling for it

    • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

      Calm down SG, Turnbull and his mates are just pissing in the wind. They know that “Electricity ” Bill has stolen a march on them, and the writing is on the wall as far as coal goes. Just look here:

      AGL will close Liddell and probably a couple of others well before 2022 regardless of what the Government wants. It is simple economics and supply. Unless new coal fields are opened, and that is not going to easily happen, Liddell and its mates will run out of fuel soon.

      Anyway, the next election is in 2019, so Turnbull and co will be chucked out, and a good thing too.

  8. brucelee 3 years ago

    What’s the deal with the Nats, so openly pro coal, I though they were the country party representing the farmers etc. By ignorance CC they are purely representing their constituents

    • Joe 3 years ago

      …yes, The Country Party…ah…The National Party… do represent farmers that would be….COAL FARMERS.

    • neroden 3 years ago

      Labor represents actual farmers who want to farm.

      The Nationals represents people who own land who want to “strike it rich” by leasing the land to strip miners, and resent that they currently have to labor and grow crops / herd animals on it.

      Does that about describe it?

      • disqussion2 3 years ago

        I once saw some graffiti that sums it up very concisely – ‘Grow dope, plant a redneck.’

  9. Cooma Doug 3 years ago

    I remember hearing a member of parliament in 1973……a famous LIB, on John Laws talking about compulsory seat belts. He said in a very eloquent manner that seat belts would cause postate and bowl cancer. The government is now chalking up a new record of stupidity in the energy argument.
    The clean coal, base load talk is worse than the seatbelt issue.

    What a wonderful and amazing economic opportunity it is if we go the way of logic and science. AEMO has a great plan in the making.

    Worst PM in our history. Only topped on the odd day his deputy takes the helm.

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      Too right!

  10. Rebecca 3 years ago

    Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to have control of his LNP. Rupert Murdoch appears to be backing Tony Abbott. And Sydney in strife over Coal Mining near the Sydney Water supply. But still we are controlled by lies from the press, and the people associated with mining interests. When will government develop brains, or at the very least a backbone. Great articles

  11. Jeremy C 3 years ago

    Isn’t time these fanatics in the LNP were referred to the AFP under the terrorism laws?

  12. John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

    I just watched Ellen Fanning on the Drum ask, “Why don’t Australian students choose to study STEM courses at university?”

    Sadly, the answer is becoming increasingly apparent. “Because there is absolutely no need for any science, technology, engineering or maths in any of this country’s possible futures under the LNP.
    Barmy Choice believes the only reason we should have renewables is to meet international obligations which he doesn’t believe in. Why doesn’t he have the courage and the honesty to call for Australia to withdraw from the Paris Agreement?

    • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

      They call the Paris cuts “substantial”, as though it’s some kind of Christmas diet. They don’t understand that it’s just to get Nations moving on the path to zero emissions. Backing coal is daft because coal doesn’t go to zero.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Certainly no argument from me on that statement Carl.

  13. Lorraine Bates 3 years ago

    Looks like Turnbull is done for. The hard right has won. Turnbull himself has solar panels, and loves the Tesla cars, but the hard right has nobbled him completely, bought the media and lined their pockets with coal money. Power over power.

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      He only wins when we give up and we will not give up Lorraine, will we!

      • Ron Horgan 3 years ago

        It’s catch 22 “They can do anything to you that you let them”
        Work on formulating Catch 23!

  14. Guy Stewart 3 years ago

    To add further insult to the injury, have a read of excerpts from a speech that Malcolm Turnbull gave regarding stationary energy policy in 2010.

    What Faustian bargain is worth the total loss of personal integrity? To claim that we need a zero emissions future to have any hope of leaving a safe planet for future generations and then in a few short years be in a position to act on that and then give us this. Absolute disgrace, no money or power is worth it.

    Malcolm’s Speech:

    The science tells us that we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got.

    We are told that 2010 will be the warmest year on record since records began in the late eighteen hundreds. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on.

    But let me say this to you, concentrated solar thermal is a more proven technology than clean coal is. *Audience applause* Now when I was your environment minister, I spent a lot of your taxes on technologies designed to reduce our emissions including clean coal, including solar energy, including technologies to economically store electricity so that renewable sources of energy could provide baseload power, but one of the things and it’s a sobering thing to bear in mind and those of us who follow the literature on clean coal would be aware of this, that despite all of the money and all of the hope that has been put into carbon capture and storage there is still, as of today, not one industrial scale coal fired power station using carbon capture and storage, not one.

    Secondly lets remember governments should not be picking technologies. It’s tough enough for the private sector to pick technologies. It’s almost invariably the case that governments will get it wrong, that is why in the long term and really sooner rather than later, we must have a price on carbon.

    We need to send that price signal to the market that encourages the step changes in technology that will transform our economy and it may be that concentrated solar thermal wins the day, it may be that super efficient photovoltaics sprint ahead, it may be, despite my rather gloomy prognosis, it may be that carbon capture and storage suddenly leaps into the fore or it may be that they all have a role to play but without that carbon price you will not and can not unleash the ingenuity, the infinite ingenuity of millions of people around the world who once they know what the rules are, once they know what the price is, will then start to work to ensure that they have presented to us and to the world the technologies that enable us to move to that low emission future.

    Government support for innovation and investment in clean stationary energy is important, particularly at the early stages. It is much more important to focus on cutting edge technologies as to provide support for research into the basic science than with appallingly designed policies such as the recent cash for clunkers policy which delivers carbon abatement at a price almost $400 a tonne. I mean it is really a mockery of a climate change policy. Now we must give the planet the benefit of the doubt, we must act now.

    We work together, I trust, to a zero emission future, we know, is absolutely essential if we are to leave a safe planet to our children and the generations that come after them.

    – Malcolm Turnbull
    Stationary Energy Plan Sydney Launch: 12 Aug 2010

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      Yep, a sell out of the highest order this prick. He shames not only the office of PM, the people, but also himself. A complete and utter disgrace and for what!

    • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

      We should flood his email inbox with that speech

      • Joe 3 years ago

        …and Rupert’s Liberal Party Newsletters could use some page fillers.

    • Robert Comerford 3 years ago

      why isn’t someone reading this out in parliament to Malcolm ?

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