This article was originally published in The Spectator Australia.
In this article, Saxon Davidson contextualises and disseminates the findings of the IPA’s research into energy security, conducted as part of the IPA’s Net Zero Program.
The IPA’s Net Zero Program aims to research the various ways net zero policies negatively affect Australia’s energy security, national security capabilities, and household electricity prices.
The Net Zero agenda is fuelling the cost-of-living crisis that mainstream Australians are facing as household energy bills and everyday expenses continue to rise at a rapid rate, particularly along the east coast.
Thus far, Western Australia has been able to avoid much of the energy crisis engulfing the eastern states, thanks in part to their vast gas reserves and booming mining industry. However, the energy crisis is about to cross the Nullarbor.
Quietly, while many Australians are still on summer holidays, the McGowan government announced its plan to legislate a state-based Net Zero target which will result in lights out for families and businesses across the state and destroy jobs in Western Australia’s regions that will not come back.
The proposed legislation sends a signal to investors that Western Australia is closed for business and that it cannot be relied upon as a trusted and reliable partner in a time of regional instability and uncertainty, particularly when it comes to energy security.
It is also a clear and present threat to the livelihood of mainstream West Australians who depend on the productivity of critical industries, such as gas and mining.
Previous analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs found that the policy of reaching Net Zero by 2050 will cancel the creation of over 186,000 jobs in regional Western Australia, which, according to the most recent census, accounts for over 80 per cent of the labour force in the regional parts of the state.
Additionally, analysis shows these jobs will not be replaced by jobs in renewable industries. Most jobs touted as part of renewable projects last for a limited time, primarily during the installation phase, with maintenance of the renewable projects being comparably low-skilled and low-paid to jobs in gas, coal, and mining.
In addition, with the cancellation of these projects, there will be a commensurate decrease in the supply of gas.
Western Australia is home to hundreds of years of gas reserves, such as the Carnarvon gas basin, which can provide reliable energy for years to come.
Previous research by the IPA has established that the policy of Net Zero requires the cancellation of all future gas and coal projects, such as the Scarborough Gas Project, which could power every household in Western Australian for an amazing 500 years.
The energy sources touted to replace the vast amount of gas at Western Australia’s disposal are wind and solar-powered energy, which are experimental on such an energy grid-wide scale and not for suitable baseload power, unlike gas and coal.
Instead of legislating a Net Zero target, Western Australia could have led the nation out of the Net Zero folly and easily expanded their reliable baseload power generation capacity. Yet the McGowan government has chosen the east coast option.
It should never be forgotten that on the first day of winter in 2022, the Australian Energy Market Operator said that gas rationing would need to be introduced along the east coast to make sure energy supplies didn’t run out.
A few days later, major aluminium smelters were forced to stop operating, and families across the nation were told to turn their heaters off to avoid blackouts.
Western Australia avoided this calamity as it was fortunate not to have been plugged into the east coast National Energy Market structure and had not yet legislated a Net Zero target.
No longer will this be the case.
The legislation of Net Zero emissions will, by design, increase energy prices and cost thousands of jobs in regional Western Australia that had, up until now, been protected.
The east coast energy crisis is now migrating to Western Australia. West Australians don’t have to look far to see what the consequences may be.