Big news, at the AFR:
Domestic gas will play an increasing role over coal in backing up the growing renewable energy sector over the next decade.
But, beyond that, cleaner technologies including concentrated solar thermal power, hydrogen and even small-scale nuclear reactors could be used instead.
The federal government’s long-awaited technology road map, which charts a course towards a clean energy future, suggests gas, which it says is 10 per cent cleaner than coal, and pumped hydro are the preferred back-up options.
How can this be reported in this way? We knew twenty years ago that gas was the logical transitional fuel as renewable back-up. Indeed, that was always the national plan.
The ONLY thing that went wrong with it was a gas export cartel was allowed to dominate the reserves and ship it all to Asia, leaving us short of our own gas and pricing us out of our own plan.
The Coalition then spent years blaming renewables for the electricity price hikes that were flowing directly from the gas cartel, recalling that gas-fired power sets the marginal cost of electricity owing to the bidding structure of the wholesale power market.
This act of ribald theft by the cartel, protected by the Government, was bizarrely reminiscent of the scandals that first boosted then crashed Enron at the turn of the century.
Yet there is no such justice in Australia. Here the theft has gone unchallenged for six years until today when the Coalition announces with great fanfare that gas is the future!
Well, it’s now the past, I’m afraid. The alternative to gas is energy storage and it is already cheaper and building on that advantage all of the time.
This is even more the case given the Coalition appears dedicated to keeping the gas price high. Ignoring its own agreement with Centre Alliance to install tough gas reservation, the Government has set on a course of producing more supply, which is all very expensive, given the cartel has stolen all of the cheap reserves.
So, what we now have is Chapter XIIXIIX in Coalition energy policy failure:
- kill carbon price ensuring no energy storage for baseload power;
- reserve no gas ensuring sky-high prices for it and basleoad power;
- blame renewables for said prices, and now
- champion expensive gas as baseload power for renewables transition when storage is the obviously cheaper and cleaner future.
The dark hilarity of this atrocious scam is that Australians have been bullied and bamboozled into:
- voting against a carbon price that charged polluters for decarbonisation, while voting in favour of paying for it themselves, and
- today voting for a defacto carbon price charging them directly in the form of an effective gigantic private sector energy rentier tax kept by the polluters!
There’s no doubt that the Coalition is the architect of this great energy robbery but at a certain point you also have to wonder about the sanity of the Australian polity.