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Energy In Australia And Why The Federal Government Lacks Any!

On Facebook this morning, a “promoted” site popped up asking me to sign a petition to stop the closure of the Hazelwood power station. Now, being a helpful sort of a chap, I thought I’d like to point out to the creators of the site that Hazelwood is being closed by its French operators, not the Labor State Government. Private operators don’t tend to take much notice of petitions about how badly this will affect workers; they’re more concerned with their bottom line.

However, on visiting the site energyinaustralia.org, I couldn’t find any “Contact Us”. In fact, I couldn’t even find who was behind it. No names, no organisations, nothing. Just a site telling me all about how dangerous and insignificant renewables are. So I decided to search to see where it’s Domain Name was registered. Strangely, Energy In Australia had something which said: “IP Location France France Roubaix Ovh Sas”.

Ok, well there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, I don’t know how these things work. Maybe it was just cheaper to register the site in France for some reason. And who really cares who’s behind a site, eh? If a group of Frenchies want to educate us on the dangers of renewables, then we shouldn’t be xenophobic about it. Not when the site consists of such wonderful stories and information. Yes, when we ask them to please explain they can tell us that we have the “14th Highest Power Bills in the World”.

Which means, of course, that there are thirteen countries where power bills are higher, and given that some of the countries who have lower power bills would be third world countries where people don’t have very high power bills because they don’t have power supplies in the first place, 14th is hardly something that we should be shrieking about. Surely we should be saying thank heavens that we’re not in one of those unlucky thirteen. I can’t tell you who they are because there were no links or information about where they were getting their figures from. With a bit of googling, I found this, but this has Australia a lot lower the fourteenth.

It also had a few nice little stories on energy under the title of “Recent News”. These weren’t attributed to anyone, so one assumes that they were written by the creators of website. Recent News included the following:

Storm Clouds Gather Over SA Businesses
February 15, 2017
Oh, Canada… Learning From A Nation’s Mistakes
January 31, 2017
Hazelwood Closes, Electricity Prices Rise
January 31, 2017
3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters
January 24, 2017
Renewables Push To Hit Poorest Customers Hardest

I particularly liked the 3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters. The three reasons were 1. North Queensland Needs It, 2. 10,000 jobs on offer and 3. More Much Needed Schools & Hospitals. Each reason was accompanied by a paragraph which – like the assertion that our power prices are the 14th highest in the world – had very little evidence to back it up. But not just a paragraph. Each also had a little video, though I can’t for the life of me see what the final one had to do with anything. To save you the trouble of looking it up, here it is:

http://giphy.com/gifs/reaction-excited-fx-h01OpEeFWverS?utm_source=iframe&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=tag_click

The Hazelwood Closes story conveniently ignored the fact that it wasn’t a government decision to shut it down, but rather a commercial decision based on the fact that it was reaching the end of its lifespan and would cost too much to upgrade the plant.

Anyway, I had two minds about drawing attention to these anonymous people who don’t even have any comments on their website yet, but I thought it’s only a matter of time before someone in the current Coalition quotes them in justifying their decision to subsidise a new coal-fired power plant. For those of you who haven’t been following lately, the Federal Government position goes something like this: “Labor spent a lot of money and got us into debt and we all need to live within our means and now we’ve taken over, we’re going to try really hard to make things better by clawing as much money out of those who can least afford it, which is only reasonable because if they had a job they would be contributing and not forcing those pour workers on 457 visas to support them, and when it comes to energy prices we’re not going to tell people that if they’re energy prices are too high, then maybe they should cut back on something else and live within their means because that’d cause a backlash, so instead we’re going to suggest that it’s all because of renewables, even though NSW has some of the highest bills in the world and they’re not even part of those Labor states with unrealistic targets. No, renewables are ideologically wrong and they cost too much and need to be subsidised, and we can’t afford to subsidise them because we’re too busy trying to find ways to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to make energy cheaper because that the way the free market works!”

Of course, anybody who’s paying attention may notice one or two little inconsistencies in their whole approach: Like the fact that Prime Minister seems to believe that he’ll lose more votes by failing to keep Pauline Hanson happy than by actually pointing out that most of her candidates think that the jury is still out on the flat earth, and have so much certainty about things they know nothing about that it’d be more appropriate if they named themselves the Dunning Kruger party. (One day in the future, I expect to see Dunning Kruger change its name to “Donald Trump syndrome”!) Or the fact that if the Liberals had managed to get their spending cuts through then we would have had two quarters of negative growth and been in the first recession since Paul Keating gave us the one “we had to have”.

Anyway, the Liberals are expected to lose in WA next week in spite of their decision to screw the Nationals and preference One Nation ahead of them. I guess the question is whether someone is waiting till after that to challenge Malcolm on the grounds that they don’t want to be blamed for the loss. The risk, of course, is if the Liberals limp back then Trumbull may be safe.

Interesting times, if you like that sort of leadership musical chairs. Otherwise, you’re probably just wondering why the Federal Government shows less movement than a constipated sloth!


11 comments

  1. Jaquix

    Well spotted, sir.

  2. metadatalata

    Although it imight seem hard to believe with all the current corruption in politics, energy politics is probably the most corrupt organisation in Australia. We are heading for a funny situation where in times past, energy suppliers have had all Australians over a barrel and have profited handsomely from it. Now we have a situation where the whole country can choose tomorrow to go off grid and there is nothing that these greedy bastards can do to stop you.
    However, now that this reality is starting to hit home, politicians are seeking to enforce a whole raft of new regulations to ensure they are still able to price-gouge those seeking clean and cheap energy such as introducing maximum limits on the power a private home can generate to stop them from being self-sufficient.
    There is no good reason for these new regulations other than to benefit private corporations and the politicians they own. They certainly aren’t good for the environment or encouraging Australians to become energy self-sufficient but this is what we will have to deal with as they get more desperate to control our money flow.

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Rossleigh. I hope your piece will be read by some of those people who insist that it’s a waste of time to supply links when making pronouncements!

  4. leighton8

    “less movement than a constipated sloth” !!! Perfect description of Fizzer and his crew …..

  5. Susan

    Great article thank you.

  6. Kronomex

    It is a good article but the title is rather misleading, the LNP gummint is full of energy, bullshit and hot air, both of which are highly potential sources of power. If, and I hope they do, lose Western Australia it will be interesting to what the spin is going to be apart from the usual, “The federal LNP can’t be blamed in any way for the loss.” If Labor loses then they’ll be crowing about how the voters rejected them for “stable and fiscally responsible gummint” for months (the miners and corporations will heave a sigh of relief and more brown envelopes will change hands). Mal Feasance won’t be able resist rubbing Shorten’s nose in the loss while the rest of the carnival of the insane will be laughing and pointing fingers at the opposition. In other words, bullshit and hot air as normal.

  7. Henry Rodrigues

    Typical of the great Fizza, in 2010, he puts out wonderful motherhood statements to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, and then in 2017, vomits out garbage because he’s feeling the heat of the blowtorch from his crazy party, I hope those people who voted for this fake, remember not to put their faith in this charlatan again. He nothing but a self serving lying coward. Why he demeans himself in such a crass manner, still boggles the mind.

  8. jim

    The incentive to spend $45Billion on our poles and wires was supercharged in 2006 by state governments: they wrote the rules for the regulator to enforce, thanks to a deal with former prime minister Johnny Howards LNP, who gave them rulemaking authority in exchange for their blessing to replace state-based regulators with one new federal regulator body. Thats $45 Billion which has to be paid back by the user.

    As Australia becomes a leader in solar and battery power, our electricity bills will continue to skyrocket thanks to a massive over-investment in the network that we didn’t ask for and will never need, writes Jess Hill.

    Australia is on the cusp of an energy revolution. Investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2030, 2.4 million households will get much of their electricity, day and night, from rooftop solar panels and battery storage.

  9. JeffJL

    Nice article again Ross.

  10. Wam

    Loved the self acclaimed outstanding leader, hanson, on insiders this morning, listing rent and electricity charges for small business as so exorbitant that it justifies cutting wages?
    As usual such a compelling reason for wage cuts, went straight over hopalong’s head.

  11. Kyran

    Soooooo, wait a minute.
    A French website pops up asking you to sign a petition to stop a French company from leaving a business in Victoria by petitioning the government?
    Sacré bleu.
    Is that the French company that has operated Australia’s dirtiest coal mine since 1996? The coal mine that was noted by the WWF in 2005 as “one of the most polluting power stations in the world”?
    Is that the French company that didn’t think fire prevention was a valid business expense?
    Yeah, ok, they sort of got belted for that. 10 Worksafe charges with a potential for more than $10mill in fines. The EPA issued charges against four companies which appear to have been subsidiaries of GDF Suez/Engie (potential for another few mill in fines). A ‘reparation’ bill that will likely include a ‘health fund’ to continue monitoring the lives of those effected by the fire, a la James Hardie. At least they haven’t yet paid the $18mill bill from the CFA. They have a superb defence. They paid the FSL through insurance (and rates, after 2011) which magically amounted to $18mill in the previous ten years. What could go wrong?
    The moral of the story appears to be we need French corporate citizens. If you believe that, you will believe their government would never perpetrate an act of terrorism. The ‘Rainbow Warrior’ incident was merely a misunderstanding.
    By way of update, the website still hasn’t had any comments. One can only wonder as to how their petition is doing.
    By way of nit picking, what is the deal with the Sloth reference?
    “They are named after the capital sin of sloth because they seem slow and lazy at first glance; however, their usual idleness is due to metabolic adaptations for conserving energy. Aside from their surprising speed during emergency flights from predators, other notable traits of sloths include their strong body and their ability to host symbiotic algae on their furs.”
    Are you suggesting they can’t give a shit, or they couldn’t be bothered giving a shit?
    Oh, I get it now!
    Thank you, Mr Brisbane and commenters. Take care

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