Victoria’s Green Disaster Is Just A Taste Of Gillard’s

Posted on Thu 04/07/2011 by

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Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

The Victoria mentioned in the title refers to Australia’s second largest State by population…..TonyfromOz

The real surprise is that anyone ever thought these targets were remotely realistic, and why the media kept treating them as serious:

Victoria’s renewable energy record was savaged yesterday by the state’s auditor-general, who also highlighted how the former Labor government had failed to perform basic checks on key projects. Auditor-General Des Pearson found renewable energy generation as a percentage of power consumption had increased from 3.6 per cent to just 3.9 per cent over seven years. This compared with a target rate, set in 2002, of 10 per cent by 2010.

As I have warned many times, as soon as a politician calls a project “green”, he no longer bothers to check the price:

Mr Pearson found Labor had failed to properly assess or substantiate the cost and benefits of the key incentive mechanism for attracting private investment in solar energy generation.

This is precisely the story with the $12 billion in government programs nationally to cut emissions that have in fact delivered next to nothing. And it is now exactly the same story with the Gillard Government’s planned carbon dioxide tax, which will deliver virtually zero change to the temperature – giving us no gain for terrible pain:

The documented failure of Victoria’s renewable sector to supply a larger share of the state’s power and reduce reliance on carbon-intensive brown coal-fired plants will increase state government and industry concerns about the impact of the proposed carbon tax on electricity security.

The Australian revealed this week that electricity generators could be paid by the federal government to shut down high-emission coal power plants such as Hazelwood and Loy Yang B in the Latrobe Valley, which together generate about 40 per cent of Victoria’s electricity.

So many millions have been spent in Victoria, and so much landscape despoiled by wind towers, and for what?

The auditor-general’s report noted how little of Victoria’s electricity had been generated by renewable energy in 2009, with wind accounting for 1.93 per cent, hydroelectricity 0.94 per cent and solar a mere 0.05 per cent of the state’s power.

And remember how the Brumby Labor Government promised to make Victoria the “solar capital of Australia” when its key solar project had already gone bust?

Mr Pearson singled out for criticism two of Australia’s key solar power projects, which had already attracted $150m of taxpayer money.

The Gillard government said last night it was still considering using some of the $1.5 billion Solar Flagship Program funds to help advance one of the projects, TRUenergy’s Victorian Large Scale Solar Project, south of Mildura, in northwest Victoria.

This was despite Mr Pearson questioning the absence of documented evidence of why the proposed generator project was needed and a completed business case before state Labor approved a contingent investment of $100m.

He also questioned the way the government had assessed its second major solar project, the Solar Systems/Silex Project, which is in the research and development phase.

“While both involve public funding totalling around $150m, neither was supported by a business case that demonstrated both the need for the project, or its alignment with government policy,” he found.

Be warned. What is true of these solar projects is true of the far bigger – and potentially devastating – carbon dioxide tax. No cost-benefit analysis has been done. Billions will be spent for no gain to the climate. And in time we will look back and wonder how governments came to lose their senses – with so many journalists thinking it their duty not to even notice until it was too late.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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