National Energy Guarantee, or National Energy Gimmick?

Australian Politics, Energy, Malcolm Turnbull, Pauline Hanson, Rundown

For months, the Turnbull Government has been discussing a National Energy Guarantee (NEG) but has not had much success in gaining support from the community at large, or even in the Coalition party room. Both Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have threatened to cross the floor if they deem it to not sufficient to relieve the cost burden on households, as reported by Joe Kelly in The Australian.

Labor has already signalled that it will block the NEG if they believe it will subsidise coal-fired power. They have also expressed their concerns that the building of new High-Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) coal power stations will cripple our ability to meet our international agreements to limit atherogenic climate change. What Labor ignores is the fact that the HELE technology is advanced enough to reduce emissions down to negligible levels, as opposed to burning brown coal to meet our ever-increasing energy needs.

The article also mentioned Nationals MPs are concerned that the NEG will fail to boost investment into baseload power generation, the result of which is a much more detrimental effect on regional areas than the cities. With the politicking within the Coalition parties and the usual Labor-Liberal bickering, the main points have been missed by the leaders of the major parties.

Suppose that the NEG is agreed to as is, without amendments being pushed by National Party MPs; how is it really going to reduce the costs of energy for the average Australian? Pauline Hanson put her name to an article in The Australian a little over a month ago slamming the inadequacies of Prime Minister Turnbull’s much-vaunted Snowy 2.0 scheme that is part of the NEG. She was backed up by another journalist who cited business concerns as a reason to oppose it. In other media outlets over the past year or so, Turnbull has mostly received a drubbing for his idea.

What it comes down to is this; if the Nationals don’t get what they have (rightly) asked for as part of the NEG, then it is no guarantee, it is just another gimmick.