How many mistakes can the Climate Change and Energy Minister make in three sentences? According to Mark Ludlow and Angela Macdonald-Smith, writing in the Fin Review last Friday (20th), Mr Bowen said (1) the war in Ukraine was responsible for 90 per cent of the global electricity price rises last year. He said(2) the move towards renewable energy would make Australia’s energy market less exposed to global shocks.
And (3) “This targeted short-term response was necessary, but so is the long-term plan to increase the uptake of affordable, firmed renewable energy, to reduce our reliance on volatile overseas markets and power Australia’s future as a renewable energy superpower.”
Reality check. 1. Energy prices were going through the roof in Britain and the Continent early in 2021, a year before the invasion of Ukraine that started on Feb 24, 2022.
2. Regarding the impact of global shocks, we benefit from high export prices for coal but that does not inflate the price of coal burned locally. We would have no shortage of gas if the state governments in Victoria and NSW would only allow it to be extracted
3. As for becoming a renewable energy superpower by way of firmed wind and solar power, this is just a very bad joke.
What is going to provide the firming if we exit from coal? We have effectively no grid-scale firming at present and no amount of so-called “big batteries” will help. Do the maths and compare the capacity of “big batteries” with the demand in the grid. The same applies to pumped hydro. Even if Snowy2.0 is completed, it will provide intermittent power that only matches a fraction of a the output of a coal station like Liddell that it is supposed to replace.