Time to Drain the Energy Swamp

The Australian electricity market has become a stinking swamp covered with a tangled net of treaties, laws, rules, obligations, prohibitions, targets, taxes and subsidies. The swamp conceals the rubble of demolished coal generators; another plant destined for destruction (Liddell) is gradually sinking into the green ooze.

The swamp is slowly claiming paddocks of subsidised solar panels that, at best, only work for six hours per sunny day. The scene is uglified by spec-built regiments of ailing wind turbines that are often idle, but sometimes whirling madly. To distract the gullible media from this mess, big diesel generators charge a gigantic battery which pumps water uphill and then lets it run down again. A garbage dump of dead lithium batteries fills a nearby gully and the swamp is fenced by locked green gates.

The stagnant water is stirred on sunny days by luxury launches carrying academics-with-models, green media evangelists, climate alarmists, emissions inspectors and power regulators. Speculative sharks constantly patrol the swamp snapping up every smelly subsidy morsel scattered by politicians in posh yachts fishing for votes.


Helicopters full of unelected UN officials hover overhead, creating choppy waves of uncertainty. A pleasant hill overlooking the swamp houses the air-conditioned offices of the power regulators. They have no windows to the world and few power engineers; they stare at screens, run models and press buttons.

The way out of the energy swamp is to retrace the way we got in.

First, get to the root of the problem – UN Climate Alarmism. Disown the Paris and Kyoto Treaties and dump all the obligations, costs, hobbles and distortions they have created. Stop their pointless war on carbon energy. Carbon dioxide does not control climate but it does support all life on earth.

Abolish green energy targets and renewable energy certificates – they belong in museums beside the WW2 ration cards.

Then de-fund and boycott the rotten core of climate alarmism – the UNIPCC. Shun their never-ending climate conferences and cease funding all of their green tentacles. Cancel the tax exempt status of political activists posing as honest scientists.

Then unravel the electricity regulations mess. Stop politicians from banning or promoting their energy favourites – speculators should be permitted to build wind, solar, geothermal, wave, coal, gas, nuclear or pig-poo power generators free of all special taxes, subsidies and market mandates. But no electricity distributer, retailer or consumer should be forced to accept unreliable or expensive electricity.

Then abolish all guaranteed returns on inflated capital for those who gold-plate power lines and poles, or expect big returns on under-used connections to remote wind farms or other green energy toys. Consumers should not be saddled with these hidden green taxes.

All electricity producers and retailers should face competitive market prices, get no special subsidies and obey the same tax laws. But they should be encouraged to enter into long term contracts to supply base-load or peak power at agreed prices. Such contracts could underpin construction of new reliable generation capacity.

De-centralise decision making. Politicians should stop backing losers. Test energy theories properly by letting green states go deep green on intermittent energy (and pay for gas to fill the gaps), while others place their bets on long-term contracts from efficient modern coal generators running on solid reliable “fossil sunshine”. Allow isolated communities to try sealed transportable nuclear power packs.

The choice for our crippled electricity industry is stark – swift surgical reform and practical innovation; or let the lights go out as our once-cheap-and-reliable grid drowns in the smelly regulatory swamp.

Further Reading:

Political Dickheads have Created Australia’s Electricity Shambles:
http://catallaxyfiles.com/2018/07/15/david-bidstrup-the-dickhead-factor/

http://joannenova.com.au/2018/05/australias-national-energy-market-is-run-by-a-lawyer-and-climate-changey-activist/

If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

Another Opinion on Australia’s electricity shambles:
http://www.bryanleyland.co.nz/uploads/2/9/7/1/29710909/bryan_leyland-death_spiral.pdf

Australian Carbon Tax Contortions – a 50:1 bad bet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5Lda06iK0

Even the Government Regulator recognises the green power poison in Australia’s grid:
https://stopthesethings.com/2018/07/14/competition-watchdog-slams-subsidised-wind-solar-demands-government-investment-in-reliable-affordable-coal-fired-power/

But Ontario shows the way ahead:
http://joannenova.com.au/2018/07/ontarios-government-cancels-758-solar-and-wind-contracts/
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/malcolm-liberals-carbon-tax-racket-is-coming-to-an-end

Green Energy Pollution on a monster scale:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

Viv Forbes

PDF version: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/drain-the-swamp.pdf [PDF, 370 KB]

[Originally published at https://carbon-sense.com/2018/08/01/drain-the-swamp/]

2 thoughts on “Time to Drain the Energy Swamp”

  1. Thanks for a very colourful (pun intended) article, Viv. I am sure that most if not all of your prescription for curing these ills is correct, but (to continue the medical analogy) I doubt that the patient will get it filled, because (ironically) he is in denial about his disease, or alternatively like the self-inflicted crippled beggars of certain 3rd world countries, relies on his disability for his income.
    I hope that recent events, such as the current severe cold snap in the USA caused by the ‘arctic vortex’, and the power blackouts and huge price spikes in NSW, will be sufficient to trigger some long-suppressed survival instinct in pollies.

  2. Ah what fun! I remember when I was an electrical apprentice during the golden age of political strikes during the 1970s. I worked for a major manufacturing company and every time the power was shut off I needed to run to a dozen switchboards in several buildings to switch off the circuit breakers to prevent a surge tripping the circuit breakers in the whole suburb when the power was restored. I then needed to switch everything on again gradually when the power was restored. Running, running, running upstairs and downstairs.

    The company eventually installed a pair of massive diesel generators. When first operated one of the electricians was flung aside by a cable that had not been anchored properly – broke his watch – that will learn him.

    Every manufacturing company’s risk manager should be aware of the need to be energy self-sufficient. Move your factory to the country and build a water wheel when the rain is restored.

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