Australian news, and some related international items

Giles Parkinson on Australia’s Energy Comedy Show

Nationals demand “coal target” as energy politics spirals into loony fog, REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 11 September 2017 It barely seems believable, but the politics of energy has just gotten worse. A week that began with a bizarre push to extend the life of a decrepit, 50-year-old power plant in the hope of keeping the lights on, finished with the Nationals demanding that no further subsidies be given to renewable energy.

Instead, they said, they should be given to last century’s technology: coal. At their annual conference on the weekend, the National voted, in effect, for a coal energy target. It wants the federal government to give out loans to support the coal industry.

Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce continued his bizarre riff about people being stuck in lifts, desperate to go to the loo, if the energy system had too much wind and solar. He seemed to think that closing Liddell in 2022 would cause the lights to go out in 2017.

Former resources minister, and Joyce’s ex chief of staff Matt Canavan, joined in, describing renewables as a “short term sugar hit” for jobs….

One sane voice at The Australian is Alan Kohler, who points out that despite the bluster of the Nationals and the conservatives within the Liberal Party, everybody knows coal-fired power stations must close if Australia is to meet the 2 degree commitment that everybody agreed to in 2015.

“The task of leadership is to prepare for that, not yearn for coal,” he writes.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator has made it clear the closures can be handled through demand management and some NEM redesign, with even more renewables and batteries, which is what’s happening anyway because that’s what businesses and investors want to invest in.

“There won’t be any new coal power stations, and the lives of existing ones won’t be extended unless the government, bizarrely and unnecessarily, pays for it.

“If that happened, it would bring about the final divorce of business and the Coalition, and the final retreat by Malcolm Turnbull into the loony fog inhabited by Donald Trump and the coal dancers on the Coalition’s right.”

September 11, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics

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