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Wednesday 14 June 2017

Finkel Finkel every where, leads an energy rethink!

Despite a valiant effort by our chief scientist to insert an acceptable energy strategy into the milieu, it has ignited a civil war at least within the LNP. Energy strategy was never going to be easy. With passionate advocates of climate change pushing for the highest possible emission reduction targets and their opposites pushing for none, it is a chasm impossible to fill.

Notwithstanding one's belief in climate change , as I have indicated elsewhere (see Warmer, Wetter, Greener ) I believe it is real but not as dangerous as the tipping point advocates would have you believe, we face a very real dilemma.

How do we encourage energy companies to invest in energy supply when our political parties keep changing the rules?

Lack of planning and rampant politics have squandered Australia's once abundant cheap energy advantage.

The energy landscape has many pot holes; -

  • Our base-load power stations are aging and require investment either for replacement or at the very least extension
  • Renewables remain more expensive than fossil fuels and suffer continuity issues
  • on again, off again carbon taxes by different parties have made investment in new non-renewables very risky
  • battery storage is not yet of age and remains expensive
  • electricity prices are already too high to encourage manufacturing
So it is no wonder that energy companies have been reluctant to invest in new supply and our manufacturing industry, what little there remains, is looking for greener pastures. 

No doubt these are some of the constraints Dr Finkel faced when contemplating a viable energy strategy. Yet his solution also presents problems. His CET (Clean Energy Target) is an effective 42% RET much greater than LNP's current 24% but less than ALP's 50%.

In effect he has advocated what amounts to a line between the two parties. A Solomon-esque solution dividing the difference by slicing the baby.

His strategy was to present something that was half acceptable to each party and had a chance of bipartisan support. Indeed it may even work out, but it carries enormous political risk for the LNP and if adopted would force more of their support towards One Nation.

Was there any other way? 

I believe so, but will leave my suggestions for another day.

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