Australian Electrical Power Generation – Sheridan Versus Kelly: Sense Versus Rage

Posted on Fri 04/06/2018 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

A superb column by Greg Sheridan, contradicting the howl of rage from warmist Paul Kelly:

An example of a new Chinese HELE coal fired power plant. This image is of the steam turbine/Generator Units at the ultra-supercritical Waigaoqiao No. 3 (Shanghai) (photo courtesy of IEA CCC) (click on the image to open it on a new and larger page)

The Turnbull government’s energy narrative has completely collapsed in a welter of indecipherable internal contradictions and ridiculous figures plucked from the air in a way that inevitably brings to mind the last days of the Gillard-Rudd years.

It was only five minutes ago that the Prime Minister was lamenting the fact that Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter yet does nothing clever or hi-tech in coal-fired power stations.

But now Scott Morrison says that’s all a waste of time because these new coal-fired power stations are way too expensive anyway…

The contradictions are endless. Why on earth now would anyone consider investing in a new coal-fired power station after the government, allegedly a friend of the coal industry, has just spent the day trashing the very idea of new coal-fired power stations?

[Energy Minister Josh] Frydenberg can supposedly tell us exactly how much the National Energy Guarantee will save consumers, yet allegedly the composition of the energy sector is up to the market.

It is of course standard free-market practice for a government to step in where there is market failure. The politics of Australia clearly makes it politically impossible for any company to invest in a new coal-fired power plant.

So it is perfectly respectable for a government to make the investment instead.

The government’s pathetic hope that an existing station might limp on for a few extra years does absolutely nothing for Australia’s long-term energy generation.

All this talk about the market deciding is contradicted by every other action the government takes. Is the market deciding Snowy Hydro 2.0? Is it deciding the renewable energy target?

How can it be that China, Japan and Germany are building so many new high-energy, low-­emission coal-fired power plants? Have they not had the benefit of Scott Morrison’s analysis?

Paul Kelly, however, is wrong in his own piece on virtually every point, because he once again makes two fundamental mistakes. First, he instinctively sides with Malcolm Turnbull. Second, he assumes what he should challenge – that we need Turnbullish global warming policies which slash emissions, thus making coal-fired generators bad investments:

The idea that drives the latest core conservative revolt — a new coal-fired power station run by the government, if needed — is delusional and flawed at every point. It fails on policy, politics and consumer grounds. The conservatives are becoming coal power socialists. They are losing the plot.

In anger, agenda and judgment, this howl is the exact analogy of Kelly’s angry outburst in 2009, when Turnbull as a floundering Opposition leader faced a revolt from conservative Liberals, again against his global warming agenda.

Here is what Kelly wrote then about the Liberals wanting to oppose Turnbull’s push to endorse a Labor plan for a form of carbon tax:

I believe that the (Liberal) party room will endorse a series of amendments (to Labor’s emissions trading scheme) which will be the basis for negotiation with the Rudd Government. I mean frankly if they oppose that, that would be signing their own political death warrant… This raises the prospect that the legislation won’t pass and that the election next year will see climate change as a frontline issue. Now this will be a mortal political threat to the Opposition.

Instead, it was the issue the Coalition under Tony Abbott used to eventually storm back into government.

Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.

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