This article was originally published in The Spectator Australia.
In this article, Dr Kevin You 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.
It is claimed that Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’
Now, whether or not Honest Abe actually uttered the words is moot, however they are a perfect descriptor of the behaviour of Australia’s cadre of renewable energy pushers.
For years the renewables lobby has been saying that there is nothing to fear from switching to renewables and that they are the cheapest source of energy around; just ask the new Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen.
This week, however, at the Australian Financial Review’s Energy and Climate Summit in Sydney, a few fundamental and uncomfortable truths were exposed about the future of Australia’s energy market.
Alinta Energy’s chief executive, Jeff Dimery, told the summit that next year, ‘using the current market prices, tariffs are going up a minimum 35 per cent’. The Australian also reported that Dimery was, ‘deeply concerned about the level of investment needed to fill the gap left by coal plants closing and keep power prices in check’.
The CEOs of Origin Energy, Momentum Energy and Energy Australia have all confirmed that they too expect to raise their tariffs next year by a comparable margin. Energy Australia’s CEO, Mark Collette noted, ‘Just go back a year, wholesale electricity prices are up four times from $60 per megawatt hour to $240 per megawatt hour … it’s massive. It’s putting a lot of upward pressure on tariffs.’
What Dimery and his colleagues said this week is not new, in fact, the Institute of Public Affairs has been warning Australians that dramatic increases to energy bills are inevitable as a result of their ideological obsession to remove affordable and reliable baseload power from the National Electricity Market under the policy of Net Zero emissions by 2050. We have been saying, for some time now, that pursuing this policy is a recipe for disaster.
Finally, energy market leaders are beginning to be honest with real Australians about the damage the switch to renewables is inflicting upon our country.
Recently, the IPA conducted a study to estimate the power price implications of the closure of six coal-fired power stations, which are set to be decommissioned by the year 2030, under the policy of Net Zero.
The research found that the closure of these coal-fired power stations could, by the year 2030, result in more than a quadrupling of annual wholesale prices and more than a doubling of annual retail electricity bills to households. This will have the effect of increasing the typical Australian family’s annual electricity bill from $1,650 to $3,250.
As the power stations analysed in the study prepare for decommissioning, others, like Loy Yang A in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, have been forced into early retirement to sate activist shareholders. The market has been distorted by the heavy hand of the government and this will only make the crisis worse.
What is becoming clearer by that day is that it is mainstream Australians in the suburbs and regions will be the ones who pay the price for the policy of Net Zero emissions by 2050, a policy designed by and for the cossetted inner-city elites. And with each bill they will continue to pay a greater price so long as ideology trumps engineering in our energy market.
It should never be forgotten that on June 1, 2022, the first day of winter, the Australian Energy Market Operator made the extraordinary emergency assessment that energy rationing may be required in Australia to avoid shortages and explosive price hikes.
A fortnight later AEMO was forced into the unprecedented position of imposing rarely used energy price caps amid soaring wholesale electricity prices which was the first sign of the crisis dawning on the NEM.
The energy supply crisis is here, and it is not an accident but an essential design feature of the policy of net zero emissions by 2050. On top of this, Net Zero induced neglect, technical faults, and coal supply issues have also caused recent breakdowns and outages in traditional power generators, which has forced the NEM to increasingly rely on erratic supply from solar and wind farms.
Energy Security Board Chair, Anna Collyer, said as much: ‘The fact is that Net Zero is going to fundamentally change our lives, in ways we haven’t yet imagined … many of those enormous changes will be made in very small ways by non-experts in homes, small businesses and on the road.’
In other words, mainstream Australians and small business owners – those ‘non-experts’ – have no option but to bear the brunt of Net Zero for the elites, who ignorantly call our sacrifices ‘very small’.
It might be okay for billionaires and inner-city elites to live with expensive and unreliable energy. They can afford such an extravagant fashion statement and have private generators on standby for when the rolling blackouts come around.
However, it is the mainstream Australians in the regions and outer suburbs that will feel the relentless blows through ever-increasing power bills, making it difficult to make ends meet. It will be the power plant workers and miners who will lose their jobs, and regional communities built around coal and coal-fired power generators, that will be the most devastated by the elites’ vanity project.
The imminent power price hike coming to households and small business are not ‘very small. It is contributing to the cost-of-living crisis suffered by Australian families and sheeting home the cold-hard reality that more renewables under Net Zero means higher prices and lower reliability.
These are the truths that those who stand to make a fortune out of renewable energy are desperate to keep real Australians, literally and figuratively, in the dark.