I’m not sure if we are traversing a multiverse or working in a Bizarro world, but just reading the take The Australian has put on Angus Taylor’s coal keeper proposal makes my head spin. It is like two different worlds — one ruled by the laws of physics and economics and the other by 1950s ideology and coal-tainted money.
On Thursday, in The Australian (owned by Rupert Murdoch and decidedly pro coal), the front page headline is: “Grid and Bear it: Subsidize Coal.” Evidence that we need to do so comes from the recent experiences of the supposed failure of renewables in Texas and South Australia. These events have already been shown to be failures of fossil fuels, not renewables, but the editorial and reporting staff of Murdoch’s papers do not read those reports.
Graham Lloyd, Environmental Editor, conjectures that moving to higher percentages of renewable input is uncharted waters. The grid will collapse — blackouts and higher prices for everyone. I find it odd that he can use false examples of renewable failure, domestic and international, but cannot look at examples where grids have transitioned successfully without the arrival of the apocalypse. He should look at Portugal and Spain.
People are frightened — especially by the fear mongering of the federal Liberal/National government — and might need the reassurance provided by a coal-fired power station (or 6) kept idle and being paid for capacity, not generation. But are they frightened enough to pay the coal barons the estimated $7 billion it would cost to keep these plants on standby?
Returning to The Australian — the front page mentions all renewables except solar, which is odd, since that is the fastest growing energy provider. It states that the Energy Security Board has recommended keeping the coal power stations alive to keep the prices down. Who is paying the $7 billion then? Santa Murdoch?
The ESB plan was presented to the state’s energy ministers, and news reports seem to indicate that the states were behind it. However, all is not as it seems. Pushback is coming from states and territories, both Liberal and Labor. “I will not support any plan that unnecessarily prolongs the life of expensive and polluting coal and gas power plants,” Austrian Capital Territory Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Rattenbury said. ACT has a Greens/ Labor coalition.
NSW has a Liberal (Conservative) government, but a forward thinking Energy Minister, Matt Kean. The proposed New England renewable energy zone (in NSW) has received enough registrations of interest from investors to build a total of 34 GW of renewable energy and storage projects, four times more capacity than the government was aiming for. They won’t need a sleeping coal generator.
Neither will the rest of the country! Unless of course the sun don’t shine, the wind don’t blow, the dams dry up, and the battery goes flat.