Australia: Why you’re about to pay through the nose for power

Australia: Why you’re about to pay through the nose for power, by Ian Verrender. Basically belief in the carbon dioxide theory of global warming is causing policy changes that make electricity more expensive, despite Tony Abbott’s best efforts.

It was a rare moment of triumph for a Prime Minister frustrated in his dealings with a difficult Senate. Just on three years ago, a jubilant Tony Abbott — having just secured agreement to vanquish the carbon tax, the handbrake on the Australian economy — appeared on national television.

Australian households would be $550 a year better off with the removal of the “toxic” carbon tax, he declared. Gas prices would fall 7 per cent. Electricity prices would drop 9 per cent. Everyone would be a winner, he told 7.30’s Leigh Sales.

“Because the price of power is a component of just about every price in the economy. When the price of power falls, other prices should go down as well,” he said.

Yep, it should. Except when it doesn’t.

Ever since the carbon tax was removed, power prices have only headed one way; upwards. This, at a time when oil prices have halved and coal slumped. …

Why didn’t prices fall? Too much intimidating talk about the future of coal scared off investment in coal power.

What wasn’t expected was that the power industry began to make good on its plans to mothball its antiquated coal-fired generators. …

The Hazelwood power station closure in March — which is expected to cause blackouts across the eastern states this summer — may have brought the looming crisis to a head.

What’s less understood is that within the next two decades, 68 per cent of our coal-fired generators will be more than half a century old and ready to be retired. There are no plans to replace any of them, at least not with coal.

If the situation is dire now, it will only get worse. No bank is willing to finance a new coal fired power station and no amount of argument in the Parliament will alter that. ..

Canberra’s climate war (actually a war on science, but never mind, let’s pretend):

Under Finkel’s recommendations, coal will continue to supply around 53 per cent of our electricity generation in 2030, only marginally lower than the 57 per cent if we did nothing. Right now, coal accounts for 76 per cent of our electricity generation. …

It’s pretty clear few of the dissenting voices [within the ranks of the Federal Government] … continue to wage a war that, at its heart, is a dismissal of science and scientific research. … It’s no secret Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is an avid fan of renewables. …

Ex-Liberal … Cory Bernardi has just plonked a bunch of solar panels on the roof of his Adelaide home. … “Don’t fret, I haven’t drunk the renewable energy Kool-Aid,” he told the Australian Financial Review. … Apparently, he just wants to ensure he has a reliable source of electricity.