Our Renewable Rollercoaster

Over the past two weeks the author rigorously read through all the primary documents relating to the NEG. From the Finkel Report to Tesla’s response to the Energy Guarantee Draft Consultation.

It was so as to be able to competently write a fully informed four part overview (with bibliography) of the momentous and crucially important integration of the national energy and emissions reduction policies.

A seamless symphony of policy to make energy reliable, securer, more affordable and ideally renewable — but at the very least clean.

When the government announced a decision: we all whinged and whined. Snap meetings, conference calls on Zoom, whip Webinars. It wasn’t good enough.

They say one doesn’t really appreciate good health until one’s unwell. This country’s energy policy is poorly indeed today.

Imagine if you will. . .

A country with a surplus of sun. 70% of the landmass arid. 35% of it literally technically desert. Absolutely ideal conditions for power production that utilises solar energy. Actually as if purpose-built by nature for it.

This country, however, was colonised before the first photovoltaic cell was ever invented. To keep up with Crown standards of industry, compete economically internationally and just generally ensure the quality of life that had come to be expected — this country mined coal.

Coal, in course of time it was discovered, damages the environment monumentally when burned to produce power. Everyone knows it. The majority, the best and the specialists — Aristotle’s full panel of public opinion acknowledges the fact.

For it is a fact. And a fact, as the devil says in Master and Margarita, is the most stubborn thing in the world.

It is equally well a fact that the technology for PV power is there. There is no excuse for not investing in it as a reliable renewable source of electricity. It costs less than coal, does no damage to the environment and coupled with battery storage developed by a caliber of companies like Tesla in the US and sonnen in Europe — can be a key and maybe majority component of a successful national energy policy. And this country’s always had the sun and the space.

Now picture, if you please, the floor of that nation’s House of Representatives being taken by a balding chap. Glasses astride his snub nose above a schoolboy grin. Sweating smugness — with the punishment for naughty children Christmas morning pigheadedly in his hand.

No. You are not about to enter the Twilight Zone. You are in Australia.

And that coal-carrying chap’s no longer a mere member of the House of Representatives.

He’s the Prime Minister.

How Hard and So Slow to Build, How Easy and Quick to Knock Down

In about a week at the top he’s separated the energy and environment portfolios.

Named an adamant enemy of the standing Renewable Energy Target to the former and a former mining company’s lawyer to the latter.

His chief of staff is a previous deputy CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia and formerly arch-lobbyist for the country’s biggest coal-producer Rio Tinto.

And the NEG? Stands the sausage fallen on the floor at the dogs’ paws chances of surviving.

The Precarious Circus

ACCC suggests cutting the SRESNEG is approved. Labour offers a new rebate for Victoria — Morrison takes over the government.

Up—down, up—down.

This ceaseless vacillation increases insecurity, scares off investment, undermines consumer confidence and threatens the reliability of the national energy market.

The Federal energy policy is a precarious circus. Renewables, a rollercoaster — and an unsafe one at that.

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