The AFR is doing a good job on climate change in recent weeks (several years too late), carrying the torch for carbon pricing. More today:
Households in the eastern states will pay an average $78 more for their power in 2018-19 thanks to the Hazelwood brown coal power station’s closure in Victoria – with South Australians and Tasmanians paying an extra $150 to $204 – the Australian Energy Market Commission says.
News that residents of the two poorest states will bear the greatest burden from the decision of Hazelwood’s French and Japanese parent companies to shutter the highly polluting plant comes as federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg prepares to host a tense meeting with state ministers on Wednesday.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily d’Ambrosio and Queensland minister Mark Bailey slammed the federal government for its lack of leadership ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting in Melbourne.
“Everybody is sick of the lack of leadership and silly political games being played by the Commonwealth, let’s get on with it and do what we were elected to do,” Ms d’Ambrosio said. Mr Bailey said the situation was “a hell of a mess” and there was nationwide disappointment.
Business and civil society groups, including the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the ACTU and the St Vincent de Paul Society, urged governments to act urgently to reform the energy system, saying the “status quo of policy uncertainty, lack of coordination and unreformed markets is increasing costs, undermining investment and worsening reliability risks”.
A carbon price would have accelerated the transition towards the cheapest new forms of low carbon power generation storage. As things stand that’s going to happen anyway via the much more expensive pathway of gas gouging, as it prices itself out of electricity generation in favour of a mix of renewable power and storage.
In lieu of a carbon price, all anyone wants is policy certainty. At least that way investments can be made.
Card carrying loon ponder, Do-nothing Malcolm, will deliver neither, adding to the staggering waste we’ve seen in the east coast market over the past decade:
- 85bn thrown away by distribution firms with shrinking demand;
- 80bn thrown away on Curtis Island LNG white elephants;
- some unknowable damage bill for households and industry thanks to gas gouging, and
- untold waste simply because we didn’t let a carbon price sniff out the most efficient options.
This epic failure goes to both political parties but the Coalition is number one.