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Crazy Power Wars Down Under

The Australian federal parliament recalled to pass energy legislation, gas companies threatening to withhold supply, massive war profits from the Ukraine crisis, coal-fired power stations breaking down, government legislating a price cap, utilities jockeying for EV charging business, renewables taking a large bite out of energy grid supply — all this has become normal in the crazy power wars down under.

The good news is that Shell’s threat to withhold supply (remind anyone of Putin?) in reaction to the Australian Labour Party’s new legislation clearly demonstrates that gas companies are not here to serve the Australian people. This gives the government more “moral power” to pursue them. In order to pass the legislation, Labour has had to negotiate with the Greens, and this has led to some improvements. A package will now be implemented to help the less affluent to de-gas their homes — similar to what the author did one year ago.

Coal is no longer the villain, it is gas.

“In the last few days the gas lobby has shown that it is determined to ensure that nothing will get in its way as it plunders our sovereign public assets to line its own pockets,” Tim Buckley, the head of Climate Energy Finance, noted.

“I think as we go through the transition to net-zero emissions, ultimately most houses, if not all houses, will convert to electricity,” Australian Electricity Regulator Chair Clare Savage told ABC Radio last Thursday.

Gas companies are crying foul and demanding compensation for the loss of profits and the stranding of their assets.

“The Greens, meanwhile, hailed the package as the ‘beginning of the end of gas’ and said gas has joined coal in losing its social licence thanks to its war profiteering, price gouging and contribution to the climate and environmental crisis.”

“Gas is as dirty as coal, causing power bill pain as well as the climate crisis,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt said. “Gas is not something to transition to, it’s something to move away from. The Parliament has made that clear.”

It is a welcome change from when Scott Morrison (former Liberal Prime Minister) brought a lump of coal into parliament.

Hopefully we have seen the end of the crazy power wars. Watch for the death throes.

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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