Power Out, Prices Up, Jobs Gone

The climate change movement and green activists have claimed another victory in their war on carbon, electricity and industry. A victory which of course is at the expense of the rest of us in terms of a higher cost of living and more unemployment. This is the impending closure of one of Victoria’s coal fired power stations at Hazelwood in the state’s Latrobe Valley region. The carbon tax may be long gone but the push for more expensive renewable energy hasn’t stopped, it has just shifted to other policies.

It appears clear that the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria has refused to learn anything from South Australia’s experiment with heavy reliance on renewable energy. That reliance on renewables results in them having to import coal fired power from Victoria which was a major factor in the state-wide blackout last month. The state already has one of the highest electricity prices in the world. But no Andrews sees no problem, he is eager to remain on the green bandwagon and be patted on the back from activists by implementing a clean greener future. Victoria has a renewable energy target of 25% by 2020 and then up to 40% by 2025 which is predicted to increase electricity prices by up to $30 per year.

It should be no surprise then that the coal fired Hazelwood power station would be the victim of these government policies. It was not just the renewable energy target which led to the near certain decision of the French Engie which owns the station to close it. It was also the policy of their own government in France to encourage energy companies to exit coal investments and switch to renewables. It is also because it was impossible for the company to finance any extra investment in the station as most big banks in western countries now have a policy of not lending money for coal investment thanks to lobbying from the green activists.

This perfect storm of government interventions in the energy market and the success of lobbyists in demonising investments in coal is bad news for Victorians. Hazelwood supplies Victoria with 20% of its energy needs and it is estimated that electricity prices will soar by 25%. It will also mean that up to 1000 people will lose their jobs in the Latrobe Valley which could have ripple effects throughout the area which already has an unemployment rate of 19%. Experts have said that we shouldn’t experience blackouts in Victoria because we will just be able to import coal fired energy from News South Wales. What will happen when News South Wales then starts closing down its coal fired power stations? It appears bizarre reasoning that we in Victoria can’t use coal fired power but it is okay for other states to use it and import it here. Isn’t coal always meant to be bad? Of course this assurance that blackouts won’t happen demonstrates how unreliable renewable energy is in delivering electricity in a world where access to it is essential.

We should not be having this energy crises in Australia, it is an entirely self-inflicted phenomena because of blind adherence to the new climate change faith. Australia has some of the world’s biggest coal reserves and also uranium deposits yet we are making electricity prices much higher than normal market conditions would have them. It is always low income earners who suffer in switching to less efficient renewable energy as climate activists are normally wealthier and can absorb the increase in cost but the less well-off have to go without heating or cooling during times of the year when it is needed. It also makes our local industries and businesses less competitive in a global marketplace when high electricity prices increase production costs which contributes to many companies moving operations offshore. Plus these 1000 people need not lose their jobs either as in a truly free market their jobs would be in demand.

Despite that the fact that we will see our cost of living increase through the closure of this power station, both sides of politics are sitting back and letting it happen with Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg doing nothing to prevent this closure. Premier Daniel Andrews has tried to placate fears about the destruction of the economy in the area by personally heading a taskforce to attract new business to the Latrobe Valley, in other words he is going to fix a problem he created. The biggest indictment in this sad sage is that of the unions with CFMEU happy to see the station’s closure as long as it is staged and believes workers can be redeployed in rehabilitating the area. You would think a union would fight to the death to make sure its members don’t lose their jobs but they are happy to sell them out to their mates in the Labor Party who have completely committed to the climate change program.

The embrace of these economically destructive policies won’t be reversed unless the people make their voices heard. Vote in politicians who will question the climate change faith and question leaders who want to make the cost of everything more expensive. We are living in a world of abundant resources, we need to stop this attack on industry, development and economic progress by regressive green ideologues.

  • Fredd

    You are to anti green to see the benefits of going green. The modern world is going electric, cars, busses, trams. In 50 years houses have gone from 2 power points to more than 50 power points.
    The World needs to clean up power generation. Solar, wind, and nuclear, are the cleanest and cheapest for the massive increase in electricity use.
    Ownership of power generation and distribution is essential for the country’s economy. Germany buy’s nuclear power from France. We have our own but sold it to the yanks. We will have. MASSIVE power costs.
    Oil is the cheapest for half a century and we are paying the highest in history. Need more reason to buy it back from USA?

    • Dave

      Nuclear is the way to go. Renewables like solar and wind are just not up to the task.

      • Tim Wilms

        Greens are against nuclear too, that’s another roadblock.

  • The cost of solar power in the Western US has dropped to 25 percent of the cost of coal-fired power. Our big utilities have been building utility-size solar power and windpower installations for 20 years now. Sure we still have a few coal-fired power plants but they are already scheduled for closure, to be replaced by a mixture of renewable energy and smaller natural gas power plants that can rapidly ramp-up if emergency power is needed.

    The way I hear it most of your major export customers are also moving away from coal as fast as they can, which will within 10 or 20 years leave your coal mining industry in the same boat ours is in, with lots of still minable coal and very few customers to sell it to.

    Have you read about all the negative health consequences of burning coal, such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer, ephysema, mercury poisoning, and many other health issues too? Living downwind of a coal-fired power plant can shave a decade off your life expectancy. Other coal-inflicted problems include pavement damage due to overweight trucks hauling coal as well as acid rain that eats pavement especially concrete right up, raising road maintenance costs too.

    Within 20 years more than half of current coal demand will have switched to other power sources. We don’t see a good future for nuclear power either as its costs are very high and there are ancillary costs such as ruinous health impacts to miners and at processing mills. In one such case in Utah more than 40% of a town’s residents got cancer or leukemia thanks to a uranium processing mill there. Uranium processing tailings are radioactive and all too often aren’t disposed-of properly either. Here in the US uranium processing firms have given away radioactive tailings to be used as roadbase. Would you want to live alongside a radioactive road? How would you know if you weren’t told?

    The coal industry has been a big industry for 2 & 1/2 centuries and if we want to leave our own children a viable planet to live their lives out on coal and oil-fired power as well as straight gasoline or diesel engines have got to be replaced by non-carbon-polluting technology with the next 20-25 years.

    Worried about a high jobless rate installing renewable energy creates more jobs than does keeping dinosaur power technology open polluting our air, water, and food, so why not embrace the green revolution and in the process lower the local jobless rate?