The great renewable energy swindle

Throughout history there have been some great swindles. There’s been Perth Mint swindle, the original Ponzi scheme and now there’s the Renewable Energy Target where billions of dollars are effectively transferred from low and middle income households, to high income households in the form of energy subsidies.

The difficulty with the Renewable Energy Target is that few people understand it, and the people who do are usually the one’s making money off it. It’s a classic case of diffused costs and distributed benefits. The average person simply doesn’t have the incentive to understand the RET in any detail; by the time the average person discovers the true impact of the policy their electricity bill has already skyrocketed and it’s too late.

After all, who doesn’t like renewable energy? It’s clean, it’s green and it’s saving the planet. What’s not to like? Surely, there’s nothing wrong with having a target? Few people bother to ask: How does the Renewable Energy Target work? Is a massive investment in renewable energy the most effective way of Australia reducing its greenhouse gas emissions? Or even, What’s the true cost of replacing Australia’s electricity generation capacity with renewables? These are questions that the renewable energy swindlers don’t want you to ask.

The swindle requires energy retailers to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates. The scheme is broken into two parts, first is the large-scale renewable generating certificates made up hydro, wind turbines and large scale solar. The second part is small-scale technology certificates which are your residential solar panels and other small scale renewable energy sources. These certificates are produced when renewable energy is created and is sold to energy retailers. It is in effect a subsidy paid for by energy consumers to renewable energy producers.

The renewable energy swindle, like all good swindles has multiple parts. First, for over a decade state governments subsidised the initial cost of solar panels. Second, many state governments guaranteed a fixed feed-in tariff rate that was well above market rates, and third, the Renewable Energy Target created an artificial demand for the electricity generated from small scale solar. The effect of of these three policies was a massive energy subsidy for wealthy individuals with solar paid for by consumers buying their electricity through the grid.

We’ve all met people who proudly boast that they now pay $50 a quarter for their electricity; all while the pensioner down the road dares not to turn on her electric heater in the fear that it will bankrupt her. Kevin Rudd once said that, ‘climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time’, but how moral can any solution be that involves the poor subsidising the rich? The same people who were outraged that the Abbott Government asked the middle class to pay a $30 co-contribution to visit a bulk billed doctor, will gladly see the electricity bill of pensioners increase by hundreds of dollars. Where’s their outrage now?

At present renewable energy represents only 14% of Australia’s energy mix and this is set to increase to 24% by 2025. In addition to this, many state governments have set more ambitious targets such as Queensland’s 50% renewable energy by 2030 (Queensland currently produces around 4% of its electricity from renewables and is subsidising coal mining in the form of government backed loans). With elections looming, Labor is quietly dropping an increased RET from its policy platform. Last month Western Australia’s Labor Opposition (now Government) dropped the increased RET from its platforming saying it will ‘consult’ with the community after the election. (Pro-tip: This means they will reintroduce the target after the election).

If the damage done by the RET was limited to an indirect subsidy of electricity from one group to another then it wouldn’t be so bad, but the RET also has another perverse impact on energy markets. The dumping of subsidised intermittent renewable energy onto the market crowds out reliable baseload power such as coal and gas. We’ve already seen the effect of this in South Australia. Recently BHP Billiton has said they may not proceed with plans to expand their Olympic Dam mine due to the reliability of South Australia’s energy supply.  We can reasonably expect the energy prices to skyrocket and reliability to decline. It’s highly likely that continued issues with Australia’s energy supply will affect more long term projects doing further damage to the economy.

Even if one is convinced by the need to take action on climate change, the Renewable Energy Target is a poor tool for the job; it’s extremely expensive, unjust and distorting to the economy. It’s time to put an end to the swindle and abolish the Renewable Energy Target.

Justin Campbell is the general manager of LibertyWorks Inc and a campaign director for NoRET.org.au

 

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Justin Campbell

Justin works in technology and has degrees in accounting and economics. He lives in Brisbane, Queensland. He is a reformed leftie having previously been a member of the Australian Democrats and the Australian Labor Party. Justin is passion about protecting free markets and a free society. He is interested in free speech advocacy, social liberties and free market economic reform.

Can you read more of Justin's writing at www.justinscampbell.com
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230 Comments on "The great renewable energy swindle"

  1. And what about the great mining swindle where we subsidise them to the tune of $7 billion per year & in return the mining sector pay little or no taxes & leave us with enormous holes in the ground & huge environmental messes to clean up? Renewables are here and now.You lot remind me of the Red Flag Act at the dawn of the automobile age.That did not stop the decline of the horse industry as people still bought cars as they were cheaper and easier to look after than horses.Sound familiar ?

    • “we subsidise them ”

      Miners are net tax payers –massively so.

      “Renewables are here and now.”

      And imposing crippling costs on us.

      “huge environmental messes to clean up? ”

      And what of the environmental mess from e.g. mining the rare earth elements needed for wind turbine magnets and solar cells?

      “people still bought cars as they were cheaper and easier to look after than horses.”

      Indeed. But wind solar are NOT “cheaper and easier” than e.g. coal or hydro generating capacity. Hence the need for government mandates.

    • Actually solar is cheaper and easier than new coal plants. Our massive subsidies for coal are the only thing keeping that industry alive.
      Wind isn’t there yet, but it will get there. The only reason to stay with coal is on ideological grounds

    • “solar is cheaper and easier than new coal ”

      By what metrics? Including backup?

    • I read somewhere a the production of a wind turbine will use more energy than it will generate in its design life.
      The problem is wind and solar can not provide baseload power like coal can….. or nuclear but everyone is against that on ideological grounds.

    • Aaron Oakley Gina Rhinehart once admitted the coal industry wouldn’t survive without government subsidies. Her view enough for you?

    • Lachlan Miles Name the subsidies.

    • Solar IS now cheaper than coal generation to instal. Keep up.

    • Shaun, wherever you read this about wind turbines, it is not true, and hasn’t been true this century.

    • And yes, baseload is an issue that needs to be designed around. If we were to close down ALL fossil fuel generation tomorrow, it would be a huge problem. But nobody is seriously suggesting this. Energy storage will be built and incorporated in the system as first the dirtiest coal plants are phased out, and then the remaining fossil fuel plants (gas is HEAPS less problem than coal) are switched on and off as needed for windless nights, etc.
      There is a range of storage options, pumped water, stored heat, and of course, batteries, which get more efficient and cheaper each year.

    • Michael Noonan

      “Energy storage will be built and incorporated in the system”

      At what cost? Battery storage is still very expensive, with nowhere near grid capacity.

      “gas is HEAPS less problem than coal”

      Sure, but they STILL produce CO2. If the point is to reduce CO2 emissions, locking us into continued CO2 emissions is not a good thing.

      “get more efficient and cheaper each year”

      But remain v. expensive and v. low capacity relative to grid neeeds.

      I am not against renewables, but I do object to inflated claims to their ability to displace fossil fuels. In this regard, I endore the work of Australian Scientists on this:

      https://bravenewclimate.com/renewable-limits/

    • “Solar IS now cheaper than coal generation to installl.”

      I find statements such as this misleading. It might be true on a raw kWH basis, but solar power an night cannot be had at any price, and solar + battery backup is very expensive.

    • Hydro storage is very affordable and great for peak loads.
      Brisbane built one decades ago when it found coal completely and utterly useless for supplying peak load demands, blackouts have been unheard of ever since.

    • The coal industry is heavily subsidised, take those away it is on a near equal footing to solar and storage.

    • Molten salt can be used as both a battery and generator technology and is great for baseload power.

    • Gregory Bradley Australian geography severely limits hydro. We could build more dams in Tasmania. That will be fought by the greens.

      “coal industry is heavily subsidised”

      A green myth, no? Derives from counting things as subsidies that are not subsidies, such as the fuel rebate.

      “Molten salt ” … one of the most expensive forms of energy there is.

      If we are serious about decarbonizing, we need nuclear.

    • Solar & Wind is much more expensive when calculated correctly.

      The US Energy Information Administration has recommended that levelized costs of non-dispatchable sources such as wind or solar may be better compared to the avoided energy cost rather than to the LCOE of dispatchable sources such as fossil fuels or geothermal. This is because introduction of fluctuating power sources may or may not avoid capital and maintenance costs of backup dispatchable sources. Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) is the avoided costs from other sources divided by the annual yearly output of the non-dispatchable source. However, the avoided cost is much harder to calculate accurately.

    • Coal calculated to LCOE should be around $80 per mw/h where a generation 3+ nuclear to LCOE about $110 per mw/h where you’re offshore wind calculated to LACE looks more $200 per mw/h and solar pv $400-$500 per mw/h.

    • Energy subsidies based on energy generated (so you can compare apples with apples)
      Table page 5
      Coal 86 cents per megawatt, solar $412 per megawatt!!!

      http://www.minerals.org.au/file_upload/files/media_releases/Electricity_production_subsidies_in_Australia_FINAL.pdf

  2. John, that’s all to do with States mining royalties. If the GST went back to the state it was earned in all of that would be fixed; it’s actually an elaborate laundering scheme to keep the Federation from further strip-mining State revenue streams.

  3. It’s not a swindle if the renewables are coupled with decent storage.

  4. Massive swindle!! Solar panels cannot be recycled. Wind turbines hard to reach to service and also maybe hard to recycle… Windturbines are very ugly at night in the countryside-blazing lights light up whole countryside..move them offshore or they pollute our landscapes…

    • and kill many thousands of birds and bats, which goes to show how much “environmentalists” care about the environment.

    • Same “environmentalists” drive cars/SUVs, fly aeroplanes in holidays and overseas travel. Live in homes that need powered heating in cold winters and air conditioners blazing away on hot days. Use toxic lithium to drive their mobiles, powerwall 2, tablets, etc.. environmentalists really???

    • Name one thing about wind turbines that can’t be recycled.

    • Euan – and Mike T I’m guessing you’ve not seen a windfarm at night. Google windfarm at night images and see 1 navigation light per turbine. Compare with power station at night. Check data on bird kills per megawatt for wind farms and you’ll need to guesstimate overall life limiting effects of coal fired powerstations and their feeders eg open cut mines and uncovered dust emitting trains compared to wind or solar per MW.. All basically recyclable. I’m a scientist and I’ve lived with both! Denmark and Hunter Valley Oz. can’t be bothered dig into the other comments. Cheers and have a good day anyway guys.

    • I have seen many at night..horrible

    • “Name one thing that can’t be recycled” concrete base.

  5. Solar right off grid is now the way to go and if you are not conned to buy $12,000 “power walls” and use instead $1,800 proven technology lead acid batteries it can be quite affordable. A lithium technology battery in a passenger’s headphones recently caught alight in a aircraft.

  6. It’d be really quite funny if it weren’t true….

  7. Apart for some generally misleading information, LibertyWorks completely omits all consideration of the huge, huge costs, both financial and quality of life, that will be inflicted on Australians by climate change. It’s started already. It will be expensive enough even if we DO act now, if we don’t act the costs will be completely unmanageable.

    • Then we should be building atomic energy plants.

    • A few arguments against that. It’s an expensive form of power generation. The lead time, from approval to commissioning, is extraordinarily long, world wide. And….. Fukushima. I know very well that there are very few major problems with nuclear power plants, but when they happen (Murphy’s Law) the consequences are not only very, very bad, but can last for thousands of years, as well as being horrifyingly expensive to deal with.

    • “It’s an expensive form of power generation”

      So are renewables + storage. Also:
      http://www.biodiversivist.com/2017/02/globally-new-nuclear-power-stations-are.html

      “The lead time, from approval to commissioning, is extraordinarily long”

      A counterexample: Onagawa – 1 took 4 years from commencement of construction to Commercial operation. Also:
      https://climategamble.net/2015/12/01/how-fast-can-nuclear-be-built-weekly-pic/

      “And….. Fukushima.”

      …which killed no-one, as opposed to the tsunami itself.

      “the consequences are not only very, very bad”

      A very emotive approach to risk, no? Overall, atomic energy is safer than anything else by the most sensible metric: deaths/TWh

      http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

      “but can last for thousands of years”

      Not really true. Even today, the are around Chernobyl is a thriving wildlife refuge.

      http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)00988-4

      If science denial re climate is bad, so is science denial re nuclear energy.

    • Thanks for the link, Aaron. Very interesting. I don’t accept all of it, but it is very interesting and relevant information.

    • A bit silly, really. What do you choose to call “alarm”? I know far too many scientists, from a wide range of disciplines, who see the growing effects of global warming on life forms, on weather patterns, on the frequency of extreme weather events, on the migration of tropical diseases to places much further from the equator, on rising sea levels and shrinking polar ice, and who see absolutely no sign of this stopping, or slowing. Many of the predictions by respectable scientists of twenty years ago, reviled at the time for being extreme and alarmist, are now being exceeded. Sure, the odd bod who predicts the end of the human race in 9 years is just being silly (and unscientific!) but just talk to people from the military, and from the insurance industry, and see the dire climate events they are factoring in to their serious planning. The medium term prognosis ( twenty five years plus) is poor, and given that our response is still so lethargic, the long term prognosis is pretty diabolical. There are VERY few scientists who would disagree with this, whatever YouTube videos may say.

    • Alan Tumbridge, 31,487 scientist must represent the 3% of scientists worldwide, who disagree with the overwhelming evidence of climate change. You need to do more research.

    • The same 2-3% of paid academics and Big Oil floozies trundled out by every 3-headed numpty to justify their abysmal recalcitrence. Boring + repugnant

    • Michael Noonan If we hit our renewable energy targets, by how much will global warming be reduced?

    • “Apart for some generally misleading information, LibertyWorks completely omits all consideration of the huge, huge costs, both financial and quality of life, that will be inflicted on Australians by climate change. It’s started already. ”
      Name them.

    • LibertyWorks, if we, as already one of the worst CO2 producers per head of population, and one of the countries best able to afford practical action, aren’t seen to be doing our fair share, it makes it that much harder politically for other countries to hit their targets. And we urgently need all countries to be doing the best they can, because the costs of doing nothing are hugely larger in the long term, than of just doing our duty now, rather than being scabs.

    • Already? Significant increases in the frequency of extreme weather events, ask any insurance company, let alone any weather bureau. Sea levels have already started to rise, and the shrinking of ice coverage at both the North and South poles will only accelerate this. Some farmers are already suffering from climate change affecting their crops, some are benefiting, it’s hard to know what this will do economically, for better or worse, in the short term, but it’s certainly hurting quite a few. Dengue fever, Ross River Fever are having substantial increase and spread, that I know of, and others probably are too. These are serious diseases, with substantial economic and personal impacts.

    • that why the mangroves up in the gulf all died from the lower sea leavels

    • Evidence please. Insurance companies, like renewable touts, will never walk past a bucket of money.

    • I did actually watch this all the way through, with increasing frustration. It’s a mass of assertions and generalizations, the setting up and knocking down of straw men, the taking of isolated quotes out of context, with a slight sprinkling of actual facts and reasonable statements to lend it a hint of plausibility. I wouldn’t be basing my ideas of reality on such an amateurish, evidence weak presentation. It never once confronts the real evidence for climate change, and the anthropogenic influences on it. Crapping on about the weather on other planets, about which we have an infinitesimally small amount of information compared with our knowledge of where we live, is just silly.

    • Your description could be used on every single AGW/enviro-fret screed or mockumentary produced. The proponents have even admitted to “embellishment”.

      Please enlighten us to “the real evidence for climate change, and the anthropogenic influences on it”.

    • Michael – I applaud your reasonable and unemotive response to someone you disagree with. Refreshing to see. Thanks

    • Allan Noble – unlike Michael, your derisory and insulting response adds little to an informed debate. You don’t change people’s minds by insulting them

    • Ok, Paul. First, a couple of questions, so I know where to start. Do you accept that the global temperature is rising, and has been for the last couple of centuries, on average?

    • Been rising since the last ice age, excepting the Maunder Minimum and little ice age in the 19th century. Has not increased measurably for going on two decades, despite CO2 levels rising. Also sea levels are rising at .6mm a year in Sydney Harbour, a lower rate than pre-WW2.

    • Your information is well out. Over the last couple of decades, we have collected far, far more temperature information than has been collected in human history. If you only take certain measures of air temperature, what you say is true, if you don’t count the last couple of years of record global air temperatures. Deniers like to quote the highs of El Niño years, then say that temperatures haven’t gone up from there. What that ignores is that the temperature trend, averaging in the El Niño years, has continued to rise. More importantly, it also ignores the rises in ocean temperature, which have been much greater than the rise in air temperatures. And water being much denser than air, this actually involves a much greater thermal load on the planet’s surface than if just the air temperatures had risen that much. Taking the heat load on the planet’s surface overall, not just the air, there has been a sustained increase in the surface heat burden, and there has been no pause at all. The evidence is so overwhelming, that even the shills paid by the fossil fuel industries have stopped pretending that warming isn’t happening, and concentrate their efforts on denying that human activity is causing the rise.

    • Incidentally, I haven’t heard a convincing explanation for WHY the heat has been going into the ocean more than the atmosphere, but the ocean measurements have been taken in many places, and significantly, at many depths, to get such a clear picture.

    • I’ve heard the theory of heat being mysteriously absorbed by the oceans, unfortunately ARGO and other systems have only detected rises lower than the calibrated margin for error in the system. Way below predictions from modelling, as usual. The whole thing is a nice earner for all involved.

    • This is not “heat being mysteriously absorbed by the oceans”, this is measured temperature rises, very well above margins for error. In some places, at some depths, the rises were small. At other places and depths, over large areas, they were surprisingly high. I repeat, the increased heat load calculated in the oceans was much higher than expected. The substantial declines in polar ice (both poles, now, in case you want to quote outdated info again), the coral bleaching (not only the GBR) and other biological effects haven’t happened for no reason.

    • Proof please of correlation with minuscule temperature rises and coral bleaching. There’s more canards in the AGW schtick than a French duck farm. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the tidal meters in Tuvalu, on the verge of disappearing beneath the steaming sea. Except of course that some of the island group are actually sinking due to tectonic factors. A nice earner and permanent holiday for the cunning sods who scored that research gig.

    • You’re right about the tidal meters, all over the world, including Sydney. Land masses, whole continents, move up and down, tilt even, floating on the mantle. And oceanic islands certainly do move up and down, so treating the ground at a point as a reference for sea level movement is highly unreliable. But the information gathered by the research is certainly of value to the inhabitants of the islands, to plan their future. As to the temperature and coral bleaching, I’m no marine biologist, but that’s certainly what they reckon. Do you really think vast numbers of scientists are lying about this stuff? If anyone could actually prove that that warming wasn’t happening, or prove that the constantly rising levels of CO2 were having no effect on temperature, they would be famous, their careers would be made forever, and the grateful fossil fuel companies would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. So don’t think that a lot of them haven’t worked on it. Without success.

    • They also cannot prove rising CO2 levels are causing planetary temperature increases, but we’re expected to blow billions and lose amenity on the basis of at best a thin hypothesis, whose vocal proponents have been caught constantly fudging figures, inventing outcomes, and telling bare-faced lies. Some of course are straight out batshit crazy, like Bill McGibbon. Others are idiots, like Flannery. Then others are carpetbaggers, like Fat Albert. Governments think its great of course, as they can inflict rafts of legislation and further loot the peasantry. And of course there’s all the junkets.

    • Another question, then. Do you understand the concept of the greenhouse effect?

    • The technology that would have prevented the Fukushima disaster (Beryllium in fuel rods) from happening exists for the last 35 years. It was not licensed because of the green environmental organizations preventing any advancement in nuclear technology. This technology was recently used to restart an very old nuclear reactor in Belgian near the German border. Naturally you will never ever hear anything like this from the ABC.

    • There is no such thing as an “atmospheric greenhouse effect” much less an increase in it through human emissions of carbon dioxide.
      The hypothesis was debunked over 100 years ago, but like Copernicus to Galileo we are still waiting for the establishment authorities to acknowledge what is in front of their eyes.
      An atmosphere cannot “trap heat”. First of all “heat” is a State that only exists between two objects of different temperatures and in the absence of any other forces acting upon them always flows from the hotter object to the colder one.
      What the atmosphere at the surface of our planet experiences is better described as a gravitationally induced thermodynamic effect. It works independently of the composition of the atmosphere and therefore is not influenced by changes in the CO2 concentration in it.

    • Who, exactly, debunked the CO2 atmospheric Greenhouse effect? I learned about it in high school, not as any sort of contributor to global warming, which nobody ever mentioned, but as one of the many factors that regulate the planet’s climate, and help keep it relatively stable. We students did simple experiments with pure CO2 compared to the straight atmosphere, which worked a treat. Your definition of “heat” is not accurate. Possibly you mean thermal gradient. There’s probably much better definitions than this, but heat is energy, contained in substances by the vibration of their molecules.
      I’d love you to define what you mean by “gravitationally induced thermodynamic effect”. As a phrase, it seems pretty meaningless, and certainly non-specific, to me. And the thought of any gravitationally induced effect being independent of the composition of the substances being part of it is, on the face of it, absurd.

    • Sure do, CO2 seems to be a contributor to the greenhouse effect theory, however its low concentrations and lower heat retention than other gases such as methane make it a lower contributor to any planetary warming. Also historical and current records show little cause/effect between CO2 level and mean average temperatures. It’s only a scant few decades ago that many of the shills for dangerous warming were touting an incipient ice age, and trousering grants and flogging books. Reduced sunspot activity may make their former predictions more accurate, and we’re historically overdue for a cooling period, which would be far more destructive than warming. If CO2 is a major contributor we may have to start producing a great deal more.

    • Over time, over the last couple of hundred years, the correlation between CO2 concentration and increasing temperatures is much greater, very much greater, than between sunspot activity, solar flares, orbital cycles and variations, changes in the angle of the earths axis of rotation, variations in its orbit around the sun, sightings of UFOs, etc etc. There are no variables that have been put forward that come remotely close to CO2 concentrations for tracking the observed temperature rises. They almost all have small effects, some of which cancel out others, but none comes close to CO2. Yes, methane is a significantly stronger green house gas, but it is much more reactive than CO2, so it’s life in the atmosphere is much, much shorter, so unless there are huge increases in output, it’s nothing like as much of a problem in the long term. And it was a previous generation of scientists altogether that were talking about a possibility of ice ages, but that was based on a tiny fraction of the data we now have. I’d still like some insight into who debunked the atmospheric greenhouse effect, and some clarification of what you meant by”gravitationally induced thermodynamic effect”!

  8. Even if you don’t beleive in global warming we still need to reduce emmisions if only to maintain clean air. I don’t want to end up like bejing or other countries whre you can’t go outside on some days because of smog.

  9. Smog is mainly caused by cars not power stations and with the latest vehical emission stands its unlikely to be a problem here Max. http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/studies/the-facts-about-air-quality-and-coal-fired-power-plants/

    • Yeah so the pollution coming out of industry doesn’t harm you to breath in. After you tumbo 🙂

    • Co2 is a natural harmless gas, plants love it.

    • poor ignorant fkhds,ever heard of carbon monoxide along with a host of other toxic compounds,heavy metals ,not to mention sulphur which is acidifying the oceans,the major lungs of the planet.You make my skin crawl, you and all of the religious nutters with the denial gene.

    • Can’t make sense of your rambling post Ross, please try again.

    • Carbon monoxide is not the same as Carbon Dioxide. Nor does Carbon Dioxide come with “toxic compounds, heavy metals” or sulphur. Nor is sulphur blamed on “acidifying the oceans”. Carbon Dioxide in the great green swindle is blamed for all pollution, both real (like smog) and imagined (like ocean acidification).
      The truth Ross Purves is that CO2 is not a pollutant at all, but a nutrient, vital for sustaining life on earth. The green swindlers would have chosen something toxic, only the solutions to actual toxic substances have long been implemented in the West and do very little harm. Certainly not enough to rouse a global multi trillion dollar world government response.

  10. CO2 is not a pollutant it is food for plants,and a warm planet produces much more food than a cold one.not much joy in an ice age.

  11. you mean, instead of paying business’s subsidies for their coal generated electricity,
    it’s a swindle to pay householders who generate electrictity ??

    • At the expense of people who can’t afford solar panels, yes.

    • some people can afford solar panels and get subsidies, it is akin to any business getting subsidies.
      the subsidies are not borne by anyone in particular but by the community in general.

      it is not the low and middle income households who are actually bearing the expense.
      it is only that they are not in a position to become an electricity provider.

      also a solar setup is not particular expensive any more (but neither are the subisidies as large),
      and nor does every high income house have such a setup.

    • “the subsidies are not borne by anyone in particular but by the community in general.”

      Typical response from somebody who loves to spend other people’s money.

      Solar setups still cost thousands of dollars and there are still households that can’t afford them even with the help of subsidies.

      Can’t make sense of the rest of your post, sorry.

    • “where billions of dollars are effectively transferred from low and middle income households, to high income households in the form of energy subsidies.””

      obviously referring to solar panels,

      but everybody pays subsidies and not everybody has panels, it is not just lower income household paying the subsidies.

      the obvious questions for me are.
      1) what is the actual distribution of subsidies compared against household income (what percentage of households receiving are “high income”) ?
      2) what percentage of “high income” households actually receive subisides?
      3) what other factors have contributed to increased cost of electricity ?
      (including privatisation)

      it would be useful to refer to useful statistics when posting such an article.
      an opinion piece with no justification is only spouting hot air to the already converted unless it can prove the opinions contained have merit


      of course artificial renewable energy targets create an artificial market,
      solar tarriffs have dropped, and it was very obvious that immediately upon dropping, the cost of household systems dropped quite substantially.
      tarriffs are never meant to go on indefinitely, they are quick solutions to push a change into an otherwise static and ossified business model.

      we have always seen artificial economics, that is the whole point of government.

    • Agreed LibertyWorks! I am renting, so I have bugger all chance of having solar. Roger should take off his rose coloured glasses and have a good look at the real world

    • Yes, but with unreliable renewables, we are paying up to eight times the real cost.

    • the only rose coloured glasses here are those used to argue the case in the article.
      the simplistic statement that renewable subsidies are moving money from poor/middle households to rich households is based on myopic understandings of economics.

      ..
      and eight times the cost? where the hell does that figure come from.
      please understand opinions are only useful under two conditions.
      1) with background information to support your position.
      2) when your preaching to the converted who dont need to check your background information.

      opinion based articles really serve no useful purpose except as click bait.

    • Why did you read it then?

  12. Liberty Works is just a front for Big Coal,destructive parasites and physcopaths

  13. And the Climate Change nutters come out of the woodwork yet again. Don’t like doing actual personal research do we you guys?
    Just swallow every piece of dog shit the greens throw out and take it at face value.
    Yet again- the argument is not about scrapping research and development of renewables. Idiots!
    It is about using what we already have which is (or would be without Government interference) coal-fired energy until renewables are developed to the point they are actually a) reliable and b) affordable.
    You lot merely continue to regurgitate the same propaganda over and over and over. Completely ignoring what is happening under your own noses. Just virtue-signalling.

  14. If you’re not for nukes and hydro, you’re not for zero-emission power. Solar and wind are vanity projects for idiots and politicians, and long-term tax-harvesting schemes for the corporates. The debate isn’t about saving the planet from CO2 and it never was; we could have done that inside a ten-year span at the outset and the whole thing would be a memory; my kids wouldn’t be old enough to remember it.

    Instead we’re still name-calling and posing. If CO2 is going to kill us, we’re doomed: This, right now? This is what 20 years of near-total consensus, unprecedented political will, and TRILLIONS of dollars gets you: jack. How much low-or-zero emission stable base-load got built in Australia – or most anywhere else- in that time?

    Australian Greens: stop pretending you care. It’s embarrassing.

  15. The opposite is true. Rubbish to extreme stupidity.

  16. Renewable Energy is inevitable. Anyone who says otherwise is either brainwashed or looking for short term profit. Give it up. The deniers dwindle in number every day.

    • We’re not against renewable energy, we’re against targets and subsidies that do nothing to reduce global warming but do increase electricity prices, reduce reliability and cost jobs.

    • Actually…”Doc” the opposite is true. Didn’t get the memo? This climate change/global warming hoax is losing supporters quicker than ISIS is losing jihadis in the latest offensive.
      How about you consider for a second coming back to the real world?

    • Oh dear. Another Climate Change denier. Go and argue with 97% of the world’s scientists.

    • LibertyWorks; obviously renewable energy sources will be temporarily more expensive while the necessary infrastructure and technology is built. But to say that the use of wind, hydro and thermal power to mention just a few will do the same or more damage then a reliance on fossil fuels is ridiculous. Otherwise these things would have already cooked the planet. Either way, the future use of renewable energy sources is inevitable. The only question will be who will be relying on them. Humans may be extinct by then.

    • The only problem with renewable energy is that the only form of renewable energy worth it’s money is hydro electric power. Solar and wind energy are useless.

      The problem is energy storage for non hydro renewable energy technology. Unless the periodic table of the elements suddenly changed overnight then we are stuck with what we already know, and that is battery technology is not viable. The energy available from a molecular bond, and the density of appropriate “energy storage” material have firm limits. The only appreciable cost driver is plain old economies of scale.

      The supreme irony being that the same sorts of people championing “democratised”, distributed energy supply through renewables, storage & microgrids tend to be the same ones who reject centralisation of production at industrial scales – precisely what is required for economies of scale.

      Hydro electric and nuclear energy represent the best fossil free options with the best economies of scale.

    • Oh dear Doc Carter, you are still spouting the 97% consensus lie.
      Do you believe 9 out of 10 dentists recommend Colgate? Or that 8 out of 10 cats prefer whiskas? How gullible are you?
      https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/nasa-and-climate-dogma/

  17. Lol renewables are the way of the future and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, so suck it up.

  18. Renewables create poverty and unemployment

  19. the biggest energy swindle. were they wate for the Highest price to prived Power as we sore in SA they had the power but they wonted a higher price for it

  20. can I ask you to watch the 4 corners show the down fall of Enron were they keep closing down the power station for mateanis

  21. Libertarian click bait I am guessing anti solar and climate change is a fraud? Am I close? I bet I am.

  22. Possibly the only way to compete would be to buy a 20′ container full of panels from China and set them up in a paddock. That would require moving out of the city which is not such a bad idea.

  23. Yeah renewables are great for the environment – how many thousand bald eagles have been killed by wind turbines again ?

  24. Andy I really love the Identitarian push in your comments. Another idiot posing as someone who actually knows what they are talking about.
    Keep it up! Your idiotic and un-informed philosophy is gaining more momentum! Double down!

  25. What load of crap you dirty coal supporting lobby

  26. Our mythical ‘great energy crisis’ is proving to be a great distraction. Australians are so bloody lazy.

  27. And this page is deleted off my feed…

  28. It’s the inevitable outcome of a deadly combination – The Global Warming Swindle + Lefties.

  29. Our current high prices and reliability have nothing to do with defective, expensive, wind and solar technology. But firstly everything to do with political corruption and ineptitude of the mainly Victorian and SA Labour Governments who sold off the Transmission network to AusNet Services “the State Grid Corporation of China” who naturally will not invest in replacing outdated old transmission lines, and secondly because Labour party administrations created the corrupt and broken energy supplier network, with few too market players and too many rules and regulations for new local suppliers to enter the energy market. Only now have they partially acknowledged the real cause of the problem , but as sure as power outages will turn night into nightmare, it will continue to happen while we retain an obsolete political system that continues to let Noddies rise to the top through inner circle party selection and not on real organisational talent or skill.

  30. How about the swindle where mining companies get billions in subsidies then give some of that taxpayers money back to their owned political parties.
    Or the swindle that our former banker (wanker) prime moron wants to give already highly profitable corporate entities, like our big four banks, and companies that pay no tax anyway, a $50 billion tax cut, at a time we have an income problem and massive debt of $400 billion.
    That s a swindle.
    Coal isthe past, and the dinosaurs of that industry are screaming in their death throes.
    The renewable technology improves all the time, including offpeak storage.

  31. Replacing coal with wind and solar is like subsidising bicycles to replace cars. What could possibly go wrong?

  32. Who sponsors this page I wonder ?

  33. Absolute con one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history.

  34. Here in Tasmania, which is a totally Hydro state – fully renewable energy generation – we all have to pay for a ‘certificate’ on our electricity bills. It is an added cost for doing what is supposedly ‘good’. It is a rort. Theft. Distortion.

  35. Why just stop at energy? There is a thing called the “Market economy” designed solely to move money from those who produce wealth to those who accumulate it.

  36. as ( 1 .) the liberal party does not believe in climate change .and ( 2 ) therefore they do not have a climate change policy.===.they will never reach any climate change target no matter what it is set at .

  37. Tragic ! Wicked ! Stupid !!!

  38. Should ALWAYS HAVE BEEN and should ALWAYS BE one for one up to total usage. That way NO ONE makes money from a 58c feed in tariff, and if you install enough panels, you can easily obtain a zero electricity bill. Supply 1 kWh to the grid, and recieve 1 KWh from the grid. Fair exchange.

  39. LibertyWorks is a polluters’ shill and fake news.

  40. who is this site trying to kid? yes, some people that can afford sloar panels are getting cheap power, but that has nothing to do with any scam. the only scam is coming from the government. think about this logically. first, there is no denying climate change, it is real. even if it wasn’t, coal, gas, and oil are finite resources and are needed for industry, more than households. therefore we need to change how we get our power even if climate change wasn’t happening. second, the adani coal mine that the liberal party is so keen to push, is more than likely going to become unprofitable because it wants to sell to china and india who are moving to renewable energy to combat their huge pollution problems. even without the effects of co2 in the atmosphere, the amount of airborne particulates in the upper atmosphere is turning mountain and polar ice dark, meaning it absorbs heat, instead of reflecting it, so it melts more. third. if malcom can afford to “loan” 1 billion to the shell companies set up for the carmichael rail road, which we won’t get back, if the mine does go belly up, then why take the risk of losing OUR MONEY to a billionaire? if he subsidized EVERY HOME in australia, at least 50%, but he could do it to 90%, so every home had enough solar panels to power their own home and feed the grid, WITH a power wall for power storage, it would still cost less than the billion he wants to give to a billionaire. this doesn’t have to be sudden, it can be rolled out, but this would create LOCAL, LONG TERM JOBS and far more than the mine. in addition, this would free up extra spending money for EVERYONE, RICH OR POOR. this money would boost the economy, creating more jobs. in this way the government would get it’s investment back. also this would dramatically reduce the strain on the grid, give homes reliable power and reduce the need for base load power, thus reducing the need for more large scale generation of any type. this is the most logical way forward, but the government will not do it because it helps everyone, except the very rich, who don’t need help anyway.

  41. The true swindle is privatisation of essential services. Prices sky rocket just because they can and there is bugger all we can do about it.

    • Only if monopolies or oligopolies exist due to government regulation.

    • If public monopolies are privatised into private monopolies then this is crony capitalism where the private monopoly is protected from competition through regulation.

      The only true privatisation occurs when a public asset is sold off without any strings attached. If the new owner jacks the price up because they own a monopoly it will not be long before competitors enter the market as there will be good money to be made.

      This competitive privatisation almost never occurs in Australia. As a result we are now a nation of crony capitalism.

    • The goal of for many business is a monopoly – they don’t only exist due to government regulation. How do you guys feel about intellectual property rights? ever greening of pharmaceutical patents? These are monopolies also.

    • LibertyWorks no, they exist because they have the money and power to force the regulations governments make, so they are in their favour

    • The monopolies (such as Ergon where I live) exist purely because of Government interference in the marketplace.
      Socialism 101. Corporatism being it’s bitch sister. De-regulate the market and monopoly dies.

    • Gary Millsy On this point we agree. Crony capitalism is rife in Australia with some of our biggest companies cosying up to government in order to obtain favourable “regulation”. But the corporate renewable energy sector is exhibiting the same behaviour, seeking massive subsidies and favourable usage targets to achieve financial benefit despite clear costs to consumers, business and taxpayers. It should all end now.

    • LibertyWorks – excellent! I’d glad we can agree that crony capitalism is rife in Australia. I’d suggest that it is our largest economic problem and the root of the current housing in affordability problem that gets 20x the attention that corruption does. How do we address it? Federal ICAC?

    • Paul Matthew One way to address corruption is to take away the power that enables corruption. If the Federal government had limited responsibility as it should have under the consitution, the scope for corrupt behaviour would be limited to its responsibility. Nowhere in the constitution does it talk about the Federal government being responsible for regulating the generation of electricity however here we are……..

    • Paul Matthew Agree, it’s a massive problem. Regarding a solution, long term it’s what Karl suggests above. Crony capitalism isn’t “illegal ” so ICAC type bodies won’t help. Sadly there appears to be no quick fix. We must shrink government size, scope and power to regulate us…

    • Karl Degraa I’m not convinced of your argument here. It sounds like you’re saying that we can remove corruption by removing the regulations that the corrupt people are negating. In one sense this is simple logic but the larger picture is that then we rely on the morals of the corrupt people to not do the very thing that the regulations were there to stop them doing. Given that they’re prepared to corrupt the regulators in order to avoid doing that thing, I’m really skeptical that, in the absence of regulation and policing, they will just do it of their own free will.

    • LibertyWorks hmmm. ICAC can investigate certain forms of crony capitalism, such as the ‘donations’ made by property developers which regularly result in favourable planning decisions (admittedly a State issue) or the similar favourable regulations achieved by ‘donations’ to political parties at other levels.

      Ultimately, I agree, it would be great to shrink the federal government and reduce regulations but I don’t think it can be done in order to reduce corruption, etc. I think it can only be done once corruption and other ills are reduced. I don’t see regulation as the source of bad behaviour – it is the means that bad behaviour is revealed.

    • Paul Matthew the argument lies on the free market. Without regulation individuals will meet to supply & purchase goods and services to customers at a mutually agreed price. This is not to say a free market is perfect. Its not. However errors in the market will be corrected by price adjustment. If one player in the market is corrupt and uses force to twist the market to their own advantage, raising prices to make more money, this would raise the incentive for others to attempt to sneak in and also make some money. Nothing is perfect. However the current system we have of a small group of people who often have vested interests, meeting to decide upon policy that will direct a market under the threat of prosecution if one doesn’t follow their policy, has failed in the electricty system.

    • Paul Matthew there is a great deal of evidence to show regulation is the source of bad behaviour. For example there is the Beer Purity laws of Germany. My father who was German was very proud of these laws. However I learned the source of these laws was the desire of larger beer brewers run by men to stop house wifes making their own beer at home so the bigger brewers could increase the size of their market.

    • You cannot fix the problems Big Government has caused with even more Big Government.
      Every single time this ridiculous experiment is tried it fails. Socialism (especially Corporatist Socialism- what we are under) does not work. Never has. Never will. On any level whatsoever.

  42. The fossil fuel companies get mobs of subsidies. And still we have the dearest power in the world… Bring on the renewable energy and hurry up.

    • We’re against subsidies for fossil fuel industries as well as renewable subsidies. Perhaps you could outline exactly what subsidies fossil fuel industries receive?

    • LibertyWorks – you keep saying you’re against subsidies for all energy sources – when you will balance out your campaign against renewable energies? If you did you might find you get more support and less people thinking that you are shills for the fossil fuel industry.

    • ‘It is estimated that those in the fossil fuel business receive more than $10 billion per year in government subsidies, with the mining industry receiving the lion’s share. One of those subsidies is the enticingly named Fuel Tax Credit Scheme. It is worth more than $5 billion per year. Under this scheme if you use diesel for transport on non-public roads you do not pay fuel excise tax. Originally it was primarily aimed at farmers but the biggest beneficiary is the mining industry’. From the TAI report

    • No subsidies should exist period. When will you trolling idiots get that through your heads? Renewables, coal, hydro, nuclear- who cares? No Government interference AT ALL. This will create competition which means the best product at the lowest price.

    • Paul Matthew This is an article we wrote back in Feb, hope that eases your concerns over us being coal shills.
      http://libertyworks.org.au/australia-subsidise-clean-coal/

    • LibertyWorks – that’s a good start but why only mention clean coal? I’ll believe when I see your Facebook posts headline ‘no subsidies for any energy sources’.

    • Clean coal is a furphy argument anyway. If the technology existed, which it doesn’t, it would reduce carbon emissions from thermal coal down to only 70%. So it’s not a big call to say not to subsidise it, when it’s really a non-issue. Subsidies from government comes in all shapes, from providing funds for R & D, to setting up market mechanisms for new technologies to succeed (which is what the RET is all about). If government didn’t act as a financial risk buffer, we wouldn’t have half the benefits we enjoy today. So the discussion really is, what should our governments be supporting, for our benefit?

    • LibertyWorks In qld at least miners are meant to have a security deposit / bond of sorts, lodged with the government to ensure mine sites are rehabbed at the end of the mine’s life. Lots of comapnies are given discounts on the amount that should be lodged. the funds held by the state government are billions of dollars short of being sufficient to rehab exisitng mine sites. It is very common practice for a mining company to essentially liquidate itself at the end of a mines life, leaving the taxpayer to pick up the bill. This is a subsisdy if there ever was one.

  43. Seems the more assets the greedy self serving pollies sell the less satisfied the consumer. Prices rise. No maintenance on infrastructure. The less control we are having. Dictated to by foreign companies. Change the pollies then we can change our country

  44. It’s difficult to get an impartial report about energy subsidies online – everyone has an agenda. I’m willing to trust Wikipedia for the purpose of this exercise, and apparently 82% of Australian energy subsidies go to coal.

    I know you guys are against subsidies of any kind, but if the government stops subsidising energy then we all pay for it on our power bill – we pay either way.

    The thing that baffles me is why we’re subsidising existing technology which will become extinct at some point instead of subsidising the energy of the future which continues to become cheaper and more reliable.

    There were plenty of people who didn’t think people would be able to fly; there were plenty of people who refused to believe that the planet isn’t flat. Science moves on, we either move with it, or we end up looking stupid when we’re proven wrong.

    • Our research indicates few actual subsidies to coal (for example), although some green groups try to paint tax deductions for exploration expenses as a “subsidy”, it’ clearly isn’t. Miners do get a diesel fuel rebate which is a refund on taxes introduced to pay for roads but there’s’ not much other than that.

      Subsidies and renewable energy targets do make energy more expensive. Coal power stations can produce electricity at about one-third the cost of renewables (and do it reliably) but the renewables subsidies and targets drive coal from the market leaving the marketplace with less supply and consequently higher prices. Witness what’s happening in Victoria with the impending closure of Hazelwood. Now Hazelwood is old and needs upgrading or replacing but the current targets and subsidies make it uneconomical for investors to take such risks, so it closes.

      Consequently, instead of having some of the cheapest energy in the world, we have instead deliberately shot ourselves in the foot by implementing policies that have tripled the price of electricity. These policies hurt business and costs jobs, make the grid less reliable, cost taxpayers billions and yet do nothing to reduce global warming.

      It’s a situation brought on by political meddling and all our politicians argue about is how best to meddle more. Frankly it’s rediculous.

  45. At last someone not scared to tell the truth

  46. the only energy swindle. is Coal and you say it is clean that is a LIE

  47. Speaking at the Rio conference, Deputy Assistant of State Richard Benedick, who then headed the policy divisions of the U.S. State Department said: “A global warming treaty [Kyoto] must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”

    In 1988, former Canadian Minister of the Environment, told editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    I highly recommend this article, read it in full here, and bookmark it for future reference:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/05/in-their-own-words-climate-alarmists-debunk-their-science/

    • i read that whole article and there are a few points that i disagree with, but although it doesn’t have any dates for the emails that seem to suggest there are scientists pushing climate change for their own agendas, like funding and grants, doesn’t surprise me. but the main thrust of the article that there is little or no proof of us influencing climate change is outdated and wrong. my biggest problem with all climate change discussions, is that is only a small part of the massive problems we are facing today and all the climate change debate diverts attention away from the other problems. pollution and the wholesale environment destruction are just threatening

    • Pollution and wholesale environment destruction is not globull worming. Both are mostly 3rd world problems. By de-industrialising and impoverishing the first world this problem cannot be solved.

  48. All the lot are nothing but parasites on the world,

  49. So Liberty Works, is the most economically efficient way for Australia to meet its greenhouse gas emission goals and ensure energy investment is to scrap the RET and the taxpayer funed ERF and initiate a proper carbon market. In this way the generation of electricity will be the most economically efficient and abatement will be the most economically efficient?

    • Whether we meet our carbon emission targets or not makes no difference to global warming so the argument for any extra carbon taxes becomes redundant. Better we reduce taxation and subsidies, strengthen our economy through cheaper, more reliable energy and let market forces drive adaptation and change.

    • Andrew Cooper market forces will not drive adaptation or change. I know that this doesn’t make you feel better about your place in the world but we do contribute more than our fair share of C02 on a per population basis. That the concentration of C02 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is going up and that the rate of increase is also going up is a measurable fact. We are, incontrovertibly changing the chemistry of the atmosphere and the ocean. I don’t know about you but I’m sure that isn’t a good idea. So, how do you propose we fix this issue on a global basis? What i’m suggesting isn’t a tax, it has no stupid floor prices or market manipulations, it is not collected by governments. if a business wants to emit , it pays the market price for a corrresponding amount of abatement. No RET market distortion / subsidy, and the taxpayer doesn’t pay the bill that it currently does under the ERF ( Abbott’s direct action plan).

    • at the moment the ERF is a direct subsisdy, paid by the Australian taxpayer, for carbon emissions by private industry.

    • Rory Lynch If Australia reaches its renewable energy targets, by how much will global warming by reduced or slowed?

    • Andrew Cooper I don’t want Australia to reach an arbitrary renwable energy target, its a pointless manipulation of a market and can only lead to overinvestment in redundant capacity. If there is an appropriate and functional carbon market in operation, with a specific C02 (and equivalents) goal set, i don’t care if every watt of electricity comes from coal. I want the most economically efficient carbon and electricity markets possible.

    • my preferred solution is entirely outcome focussed, it doesn’t mandate any specific technology and also allows for innovative investments / technology. It also provides a high degree of certainty for investors in power infrastructure.

    • Rory Lynch The answer to the question you have avoided is zero, nothing, not measurable. In fact, if Australia disappeared off the face of the earth (zero emissions) the impact on warming would also be negligible. This is the math… given the math, why do you want to reduce society’s standard of living to achieve nothing? Is it to make you feel better about your place in the world?

    • Andrew Cooper No, your specific question was about the renewable energy target and the effect on climate change if it was achieved. I pointed out that I don’t care about the renewable energy target and that I want it abolished. The renewable energy target, if achieved would not reduce Australia’s carbon emsisions to zero. I don’t propose that we reduce carbon emissions to zero. The Paris accord targets are just fine at this point. I think you’re asking about why Australia should take any action at all. I think that the enitre world needs to take this issue on – note the bit above about how we are changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere of the entire planet. It is very hard for me to argue that if I don’t also believe that my own country, which emits its fair share of greenhouse gases, should also do its part. So, to answer your final question yes, in a way, it is to make me feel better about my place in the world.

    • Rory Lynch That is refreshing honesty which is appreciated. Our main quibble is basically we don’t think there’s a hope in hell that the world will commit to it’s targets (the achievement of which doesn’t do much anyway). The US is likely to withdraw from the Paris Agreement under Trump, China and India are unlikely to throttle their economies and slow growth… and without just one of those it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does.

      So our view is that there’s not much Australia can do to slow whatever warming there is. Doesn’t make us feel very good either but best we get used to it and prepare for adaptation with a stronger economy. I think we disagree but your comments are interesting…

  50. Renewable energy (wind/solar mainly) are intrinsically weak and inefficient. Coal-fired electricity and nuclear are about 100s of times more efficient in energy production per square metre, e.g. wind at its very best is 2.5kW/m2 and solar 5kW/m2 to 15 at its very best. It’s called energy density and without it, you might as well go back to burning wood for your energy needs:
    http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters

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