Green Carpetbaggers Named

Posted on Mon 02/04/2019 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

Spot prices for electricity soared a week ago from around $70 to $14500 a megawatt hour in Victoria and South Australia, which managed to run out of electricity when wind power dropped. So who is cleaning up from electricity systems corrupted by green politics.

Alan Moran of Regulation Economics says the money trail is obscure, but he names the chief suspects:

Notes on 2019 energy developments

It is impossible without all data on contracts to determine who the electricity industry’s winners and losers were from the January 2019 high priced events.

With the electricity there are multiple markets but it is best to think of them comprising just two markets. The first is the spot market which we see every five minutes; the price peaked in late January in some states at $14,500 dollars per megawatt hour.

The second is the contract market whereby sellers and buyers agree beforehand on the prices of which they will supply and demand electricity for all the various periods of time. This contract market really comprises probably 95% of the aggregate market and the prices are fixed in advance.

In other words, for the vast bulk of electricity produced any given five minute period the prices are set well in advance but any extra production that can be eked out is very valuable. The price at $14,500 compares to the market price that used to average $38 four years ago and even with the effects of wind subsidies now evident still is only $90 per MWh. Contract prices are related to market prices, generally with a premium of about 10 per cent. That premium is likely to increase with a higher price volatility.

Those making the gains from this month’s high p[riced events are generators that are less than fully contracted. The losers are retailers that are less than fully contracted. To the degree to which retailers are short, AEMO has disciplines that require cover in times of price stress and has not indicated that any retailers were at risk of non-performance. The blackouts would have helped in this regard.

In terms of winners and losers, on the days concerned is likely that they were relatively small.

  • Energy Australia had their Yallourn plant operating below potential but are likely to have contracted additional supplies beforehand
  • AGL had supply down in its Loy Yang A plant but other sources – gas and hydro were powered up
  • Origin energy is short generation in Victoria but for that reason was very is likely to have been very highly contracted and its gas facility was operating strongly.
  • Alinta owns the Loy Yang B plant which was previously fully contracted to the smelters but less so now and may have been able to make short term gains as a result.
  • Both Snowy and Tas hydro were generating strongly and may have had some uncontracted supply in which case they would have made money on the days concerned.

With regard to wind almost all of that capacity is fully contracted – it has to be in order for the wind generators to get the bank financing. Banks abhor any suggestion at risk so the wind generators whether they were operating not would not have made a great deal more money than they expected to make.

The big effects of the two days were

  • Businesses forced to shut down – usually with a compensatory payment made by the consumer
  • Forced outages but it should be noted that these are less than under the general standard set by the market management.

Above all the effect is a ramping up of the contract prices. These closely follow the spot price and as a result the contract market will continue the rise we have seen since the renewables destroyed the previous low cost reliable market especially following the closure of Hazelwood. Killings have been made by all generators – AGL ‘s profit from electricity generation was $2217 million in 2018. In 2015 with 10 per cent less output the profit was $426 million. The Vales Point plant sold for just $1 million is now worth over $800 million and so on. The latest high price events will further boost the contract prices on which these profits are largely based

The losers are the consumers.

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.

Read more excellent articles from Andrew Bolt’s Blog .