Coal-mad Coalition embarrasses itself

Cross-posted from Reneweconomy.

[Coalition] Senators Chris Back and Jonathon Duniam – were included in the dissenting report to the Senate inquiry into the resilience of electricity infrastructure in a warming world...In essence, the Coalition’s report was a collection of renewable energy myths that might have been collected from far-right anti-wind and climate denying websites:

For example:

“Energy generated by wind turbines do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the electricity sector by the amount claimed. In fact, there is some evidence that the addition of wind energy onto the grid actually increases carbon emissions.”


“It is a legislated requirement that 600 million renewable energy certificates (RECs) will be issued between now and 2031, adding a cost of at least $50 billion to power bills. This represents a significant wealth transfer to wind power companies from Australian power consumers and achieves no measurable benefit to the environment.”

This assumes that the 600 million RECs will all be traded at the current price of $80. They won’t, and it is ridiculous to suggest they would. There is every chance that with a surplus from 2020 as more wind and solar farms are built, they will have negligible value.

That the Coalition allows such palpable nonsense to be issued in its name is staggering. But the main source of their information seem to be from the notorious anti-wind campaigners and economic analysts Alan Moran and Brian Fisher, who the two Senators quote throughout their report.

And the fossil fuel lobby:

“With Australia emitting less than 1.5% of the world’s GHG’s, our greatest contribution globally may be to supply high energy, low polluting coal to the burgeoning economies of China and India as they transition their populations from subsistence living to middle class aspiration.”

But perhaps the greatest piece of idiocy and ignorance came in this following paragraph, relating to the proposed change of the 30 minute settlement period to a 5 minute settlement, to align with the dispatch period.

“Coalition Senators comment that the market price is currently averaged over 30 minutes. If generators were expected to jump on and off the grid every 5 minutes, the stability of the grid will be compromised. “

Are you kidding? That is pretty much what is happening now as the generators suddenly withdraw capacity to push prices within a short period and then flood the market with suddenly available capacity

“Many generators need more than half an hour to synchronise to the grid and have set forward contracts.”

Er, yes, and that would be why people are proposing 5-minute rules to encourage fast-reacting and even instantaneous responses from new technologies to take over from the dumb, slow moving machinery that currently dominates the grid. If you can’t respond in 5 minutes, don’t. And don’t expect to be paid for something you can’t do!

Indeed, the Coalition presumptions on coal and the whole energy debate appear to be based on the very same climate denial conclusions of Roberts. Even the highly conservative IEA concedes that solar will dominate the world’s electricity grid if climate targets are to be met.

The only circumstance where coal does remain dominant is if climate science is ignored – something that the Coalition has, for all intents and purposes, chosen to do in its first four years of government.

More here…


  1. Tassie TomMEMBER

    The senate passed the motion unanimously to change the settlement period from 30 minutes to 5 minutes (even though this motion doesn’t carry actual power and isn’t law).

    What are the Coalition senators on about given that they voted for this motion?

  2. Jake GittesMEMBER

    Another day and shock over such tactics are difficult to galvanise into any type of reaction. Perhaps a meteor might save us and hit Straya and end it all quickly before the next election.

  3. .In essence, the Coalition’s report was a collection of renewable energy myths that might have been collected from far-right anti-wind and climate denying websites:

    Who would be surprised by this? Even now our PM is trying to give away coal to Adani, just like with every other resource we, the people, should have ownership of. e.g.. According to Sunday’s Age, Qatar will be overtaken by “Good Ol’ Oz” as the worlds’ biggest LNG exporter by 2020. The Qatari government is paid $26.8 Billion in royalties for their gas.We get $300 million.
    Good thing we’re the Lucky Country because we sure as hell aren’t the Smart country

    • Tassie TomMEMBER

      Kevin Rudd’s RSPT would be a good start.

      Except that, at $100/tonne cost of production, the RSPT would be compensating Adini 40% of their losses below the Aust. Govt. bond rate from your and my tax.

      Sorry – I can’t explain the Adini thing. They talk about the “triple bottom line” – Adini fails on economic and environmental grounds – that just leaves the “social grounds” which is probably a break-even at best.

      Usually when one side or the other (or the third) of government says something that you think is crazy, if you look at it from their point of view and their perspective on life, you can sort of see how it makes sense. But no matter which angle I look at it from I cannot justify Adini. It just doesn’t add up from any angle.

      • Yes TT. Even on social grounds, it is hard to justify when you compare it to say, the auto manufacturing industry. eg.. Around 40,000 jobs scrapped to save $500m in the auto industry and the loss of major manufacturing ability, or 3000? jobs for the largely automated Adani coal mine and no RSPT, no knowledge of the full cost, but knowing that several billion flow directly to the Adani family tax free.
        Is that “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” I hear playing next door?

      • HadronCollision

        You’re missing the 4th metric of the quadruple bottom line.

        The graft : h00kers, bl0w and suitcases full of benjamins (or coal jobs as proxies).

        This deal ticks (50000 times) the 4th metric

        Someone, somewhere, is partying down on this.

  4. BenjaminMEMBER

    These people should be locked up in the future, under the same principles in which war criminals are incarcerated.


    Anything and everything will be said to justify the ‘deal’–it’s how they have been trained ( the fine ‘art’ of ROI and ROE) and they really don’t understand the consequences-yet. But they will. The anomalous heat increases that have arrived in OZ are part of a global development; the consequences of trapped greenhouse gasses are here now and they will become more severe. Polar regions are heating the fastest now- heat seeking a condenser.
    Many, including ‘our’ Dr Bill Hall ( UniMel) believe that the extraordinary ‘departures from normal’ are the announcement that a runaway period has already begun.
    Note: will also cause some downward pressure on property values, I’m afraid. This may be good or bad news for many.
    The age of consequences.