Sack Bowen, install Turnbull as energy minister

Energy Minister Chris Bowen has no idea what he is doing. Literally, no idea:

“But we would need to take that through parliament, there’s no legislative basis at the moment,” Mr Bowen told ABC RN Breakfast.

“One thing this government will not do is … respond with an ad hoc reaction…we’ve had enough knee jerk reactions.

“There are real challenges, when we have a reform process we will explain it, we’ll take it through parliament and we will seek it.”

“No legislative basis”. What is he talking about? He is the legislative basis. It’s like Bowen is saying “I don’t exist”. It’s perverse.

And ad hoc? The gas crisis has been running for seven years. His own side of politics was committed to stronger domestic gas reservation in the leadup to the 2019 election.

Coal is another question but can easily be dealt with via an export levy. The Teals and Greens will obviously pass it.

Eastern energy markets have failed:

Victoria and South Australia have joined Queensland and NSW in having controlled prices set for wholesale electricity after prices broke through a set threshold late Monday in a further escalation of the nation’s energy crisis that could see blackouts later on Tuesday.

The Australian Energy Market Operator early Tuesday said power station owners had contributed to forecast shortfalls in supply, by withdrawing plants from the system in response to the imposition of $300 a megawatt-hour prices.

In WA and NT there are two serene energy markets operating without any issues at all. They are both decentralised, pulling out “poles and wires” aiming for micro-grids and protected from global prices by domestic reservation.

The Bowen plan is to do the exact opposite. More poles and wires, more centralisation and less domestic reservation.

At times of such extreme national crisis – which is what this is with a house price crash and gutted banking system fast coming down the pipe – it can be useful to reach across the aisle and form governments of national unity.

Chris Bowen should be sacked and Malcolm Turnbull installed as a special minister of state to fix the energy crisis immediately. He’s making sense:

Earlier, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the Albanese government to work with the states to impose export controls on gas.

Mr Turnbull said the LNG giants would quickly capitulate and find cheaper gas to solve the energy crisis in the eastern states.

“This will involve imposing force majeure on contracts,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

“It’ll be resented bitterly by the industry … but we have a crisis at the moment, and hopefully, it won’t go on for too long.

“The minute they say they’re going to do it, the gas companies will find the gas … they will agree to offer it at lower prices.”

Mr Turnbull called on the government to work with the states and the National Energy Market to impose gas export volume and price controls for a period of 90 days.

“So in other words, make sure that all the gas we need is available here,” Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull said the last thing gas companies wanted was the precedent of imposing regulation.

“But unless you’re prepared to stare them down … we’ll have the situation where we have electricity prices or wholesale prices $400 a megawatt hour and higher,” he sa

Coal will need an export levy as well.

If not, TAS and SA will surely be tempted to secede from the National Energy Market (NEM) and copy the WA/NT model before long.

If Albo’s cowards are captured by mining interests then who could blame state leaders for looking after their own people?

Houses and Holes
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Comments

  1. Why are they so scared to tell the Gas companies to reserve some product? Just coz they got $700k in donations from fossil fuel companies they let them gouge the population for $45B over the next 2yrs.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Chris Bowen may be the Energy Minister, but he has no understanding of energy polices. That’s the trouble with factions determining who should be Minister, rather than allocating roles due to interest and competence. He does not want to burn any bridges as that may endanger a future push to be PM.

      • What Politician knows anything about any portfolio they inherit? On the downside, they can f^ck it totally and there is no upside!! Where instead are all the Public Servants… or “insert sounds of crickets chirping”

        • Arthur Schopenhauer

          Howard started the politicisation of the Public Service and Morrison finished it. (With help from Gillard and Rudd.) It’s “Consultants” all the way down.

        • “What Politician knows anything about any portfolio they inherit? “
          They “drink from a fire hose” early on. I’m hoping progress will occur when they work out the RBA cant (and shouldn’t) do all the work here.

    • It’s getting to the point where the tax payers/ citizens should bribe the government to look out for our interests, take advantage of how cheap they are!

      • MT’s NBN was simply a nod to the reality which is unfolding anyway.
        Most Individuals paying for “high-end” internet plans want mobility so they buy the best 5G plan that they can justify and often these plans have so much off-peak data that they simply don’t need household NBN.
        My son lives in Sydney in a shared apartment and told me that they just decided that NBN hookup simply wasn’t needed everyone has their own wireless data plan which is all they were using anyway.
        NBN should have been a largely wireless end point plan from day one. so MT’s hybrid compromise system is silly but not as silly as $10K costs to rip up concrete driveways just so an optical fiber can be routed for the last 20m.

        • Anyone telling you a wireless technology is better than fibre – in scenarios where the user isn’t mobile – does not know what they are talking about.

          • I didn’t say anything like that. what I said is that Premium customers value the ubiquitous access of a high data wireless plan more (as in they’re willing to pay more) than they value extreme speeds possible with fiber to the home.
            If NBN fiber-to-the-home cannot attract the interest of premium customers than it must compete (as in discover its value) elsewhere in the market.
            Sure there are customers that want both plans but IF they find that wireless is good enough to meet their needs then they’ll often drop the plan that they don’t really need.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            All the “premium customers” I know have both NBN and mobile data plans, except for a few who can’t get decent NBN service (typically FTTN and a long way from the node).

            Even the ones with “5G internet” have that *in addition* to their normal mobile plans (ie: aren’t tethering off a phone), so there’s little to no practical difference to having NBN.

            The only people I know with only mobile plans – and they aren’t many – are the yoof in share houses and relatively little need for “household internet”, typically watching every penny and only mobile devices to use anyway, and extremely low volume users (<10GB/mo) who can't justify dedicated internet.

            That mix may change going forward, but it's certainly what I see today.

    • I never voted for him or his party and never will.
      The best description I read of Turnbull was posted here, an always on the make smarmy grifter, or something like that.

      But I can learn something from every man (or woman) and Liberal scum sometimes can make valuable criticisms of Labor scum or Green scum. That is why I sometimes listen to what they say.

  2. Turnbull always sounds sensible. That’s his schtick. He’s very good at impersonating a leader. He’s a shadow boxer who doesn’t last when he’s put in the ring.

    At least Rudd had the decency to fight like a a rabid hyena on crack for his ideas when they came for him. Turnbull waited til he was out and then began the cosplay of being pm material again.

  3. TheLambKingMEMBER

    “No legislative basis”. What is he talking about? He is the legislative basis. It’s like Bowen is saying “I don’t exist”. It’s perverse.

    I don’t think you understand how a democracy works! Any war profits tax, changes to domestic reservation, price setting requires legislation passed through parliament. You may not have noticed, but parliament is not currently sitting.

    • Display NameMEMBER

      I get all the frustration. No-one who counts is making the right nosies. Its a bit like the last 8 years of the RBA coming out and professing ignorance as to why wages are stagnant at the same time the government issues 2.7M tmp visas, runs NOM 240 K per year and allows 900 K intl students to work with no limitation. Could not possibly work out why wages are low OR why we have an energy crisis right now.

      This slavish devotion to anything that might look like a market (read privatised) with little to no checks and balances is and ALWAYS was going to fail.

      We need a few politicians to stand up for the country and the average tax payer.

    • Oh Totes where art thouMEMBER

      If the minister has discretionary powers then Bowen needs to use them now. If legislation is required, then “accidentally leak” a draft or two and the cartel will get the hint. Failing that call Turnbull and get some ideas.

      • “call Turnbull and get some ideas”
        Yep, and then order more (un)conventional diesel subs without proven track record.
        The pleasure of dealing with the foreign gov owned manufacturer – priceless ($3.5bn)

  4. Do nothing had his chance to so something, but as the name suggests he did nothing!
    Malcolm is good for one thing looking at himself in a mirror and wobbling his head.
    Maybe that counts as two things?

  5. Doesn’t help that spinning reserve has been taken out of the system and replaced with intermittent sources that aren’t available when you need generation.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      Doesn’t help that spinning reserve has been taken out of the system and replaced with intermittent sources that aren’t available when you need generation.

      No, it has NOTHING to do with taking out spinning reserves, but everything to do with:
      1) 7, count them, SEVEN coal powered stations are off line for planned and unplanned work. Read that again – 7 coal power stations are currently OFF LINE. These are not being ‘taken out and replaced with renewables’, but are part of your ‘reliable baseload.’
      2) Gas it too expensive so the existing gas power stations are not bidding because they can’t make money at the current price.

      Wind, solar and hydro are working perfectly. SA (the highest renewable mix) has a wholesale price of -$93 where NSW and QLD (lowest renewable mix) has a price of $300. SA is currently running on 95% solar wind – with 5% with gas. I

      https://aemo.com.au/Energy-systems/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Data-NEM/Data-Dashboard-NEM

      • Exactly investment $ have gone into renewables that simply aren’t available in the 5pm-9pm peak.
        Will SA be running on solar at 5pm? Maybe they got in touch with Maui to affect sun rises down there?
        Hydro is fine where you have capacity rivers/lakes and wind is OK if it happens to be windy.

        Asian countries running modern cc plants are laughing at us and the clapped out infrastructure, while consuming our gas.

  6. MB readerMEMBER

    The ABC’s The Business had an excellent summary of ownership issues and non-payment of taxes by the gas cartel last night. It should be on iView somewhere. I have no idea as to its accuracy but appeared to be consistent with the discussion found here over the past years. I was surprised to see it and the numbers it presented are worse than what I expected. A pity it didn’t include an interview with HnH.

  7. This is politics. The pain must be felt by the prolls before the elite will act. The simple folk must be calling for Kevin Gallagher’s head on a pike before labour will act.

    Labour already know the moves they’ll make, they’re just waiting for the right time.

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