The only thing that qualifies Angus Taylor to be in charge of the most important portfolio in the government is his overweening self-belief that he is the smartest guy in the room.
Who needs expert advice or evidence? Certainly not Angus.
As bushfires ravage a drought-stricken country, as rivers dry up and reefs bleach, as species become extinct due to habitat loss – Angus applauds himself for overseeing rising greenhouse gas emissions.
We must have more coal says Angus, in total contrast to every person who has a clue.
When Taylor first entered parliament, he fought to have the renewable energy target scrapped altogether and was successful in having it slashed by a third. He was instrumental in the sinking of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target and the National Energy Guarantee, both of which would have provided the policy certainty needed for private investment to go ahead.
Instead, Angus wants the government to give money to coal and gas-fired power with some pumped hydro also getting the nod. Solar, wind, batteries, transmission grids, demand management – pattooey!
Addressing the AFR Energy Summit in Sydney last month, Angus said we have too much renewable energy.
He wants policies supporting the uptake of renewable energy to be “scaled down and phased out”, and said that energy sector investment must focus on securing greater reliability of supply, adding that “the extraordinary distortions we have seen need to be addressed.”
Ima guessing he wasn’t talking about fossil fuel subsidies. Or his new you beaut UNGI slush fund where he will use public money to underwrite his pet projects.
The Minister for reducing greenhouse gas emissions has called for a rapid increase in natural gas production and for the lifting of gas exploration moratoria, despite the fact that our already huge increase in LNG production for export is what is causing our emissions to continue rising.
According to Angus, the only solution to high energy prices and perceived reliability challenges is to keep baseload power stations open.
Which is completely at odds with what the chair of the Energy Security Board, Kerry Schott, said at the same summit.
“What we actually need in the market is energy that is both firm and flexible,” Schott said. “The thing about coal plants, because they have to run all the time, is that they are not flexible at ramping up or ramping down. They are dinosaurs in that sense for being complementary with renewable energy.”
Schott said it was clear that solar, wind and battery storage are emerging as the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity and flexible supply, and propping up an ageing coal fleet is not a long term solution to Australia’s energy troubles.
“We’ve got a grid at the moment that’s not fit for purpose. The reason why it is not fit for purpose is that it was developed decades ago to take power from large coal generators to the cities and those coal-fired generators are in the Latrobe Valley and the Hunter,” Schott said.
“Renewables are not in the Latrobe Valley and the Hunter, they happen to be in rural areas, and we need to change the grid to so we can get from that new generation source to the cities. What we’ve got at the moment is a long skinny string into town and Australia is well known for having one of the largest geographic grids in the world.”
Meanwhile, coal baron and LNP donor, Trevor St Baker’s proposed upgrade of the Vales Point coal power station in NSW, gets the nod on the short list of things we will pay for.
Scott Morrison has also handed over millions, supposedly for a feasibility study into a new coal-fired power plant for Queensland but in reality, it was just to shut up the Nats and Craig Kelly.
There is absolutely no question that the problems our energy market is facing, coupled with our rising emissions, have been caused by the decisions of governments, and whilst they continue to prioritise propping up their donors, we will continue to suffer from their greed and incompetence with dire consequences.
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