We’re told “clean” energy is a viable and cost effective. But cut the government subsidies, and 97 percent of investors vanish (in Australia it’s collapsed from $2.6b annually to $80m). The truth is that renewables are almost totally dependent on taxpayer largess. No wonder they lobby like their life depends on it. It does.
Peter Hannam of the SMH:
“Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.
The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.”
Elsewhere investment in renewables has slowed from its peak in 2011 but still running at $64b a quarter, or nearly $700 million every day. Spot that vested interest! From The Australian:
“Global clean energy investment surged to $US63.6bn in the second quarter of 2014, up 33% compared to the first quarter and 9% compared to Q2 2013, according to the latest authoritative figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.”
The ABC runs free disguised advertising for the renewables sector
One oil and gas worker is worth 10 renewables workers, not that the ABC will say so. Today ABC online reports that “Mr George says 24,000 jobs are at stake – almost as many jobs as in the oil and gas industry.” Miles George is the managing director of wind power firm Infigen Energy, and chairman of industry body the Clean Energy Council. Obviously, he’s out to drum up sympathy for his industry.
ABC “resources” reporter Sue Lannin didn’t mention that those 24,000 people in the renewables energy sector provide only 6% of our total energy needs, while 24,000 or so in “oil and gas” provide 60%.
The photo chosen for the story on the poor plight of 24,000 not-very-useful workers subsidized by the taxpayer is this sunset shot of wind-turbines, where the turbines are almost the same color as the sky behind them. The caption implies Joe Hockey is being unreasonable thinking these almost invisible towers are “offensive”.
The ABC could’ve chosen to use the EIA graph instead, but you need to visit an unfunded blogger to get that sort of perspective. (At a billion dollars a year, the ABC’s role apparently is to provide adverts telling Australians to pay more tax.)
In ABC-world renewables are “booming” and “soaring”
The ABC reported the fall in Australian renewables investment as if everywhere else in the world was doing the opposite.
They didn’t mention that Europe is in the grip of a coal boom, or that Germany is cutting its renewable subsidies, as well as their RET (from 30% to 27%). Spain is retrospectively capping its renewables subsides, lopping 40% off the earnings of its largest solar operator. There were public protests about electricity prices in Bulgaria that were so bad, the government is demanding some subsides get paid back!
Our public funded broadcaster provides third party free advertising for the renewables industry. Mark Colvin made out that investment is “soaring” everywhere except Australia, but doesn’t mention that overall, renewables investment is lower today than it was in 2011. ABC listeners come away misinformed.
“MARK COLVIN: A new report shows investment in renewable energy is soaring around the world.
But the opposite is true in Australia.
The report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance says China and the US led a total renewable investment pool of $63 billion in the last three months.
The money mainly went into wind and solar projects. By contrast just $40 million was invested in renewable projects in Australia – the lowest total since 2001.
Analysts here are blaming the uncertainty over the future of the renewable energy target for the downturn.”
An ABC listener would never know how many other countries are pulling out of renewables, because neither ABC journalist David Mark or Mark Colvin asked hard questions of the Bloomberg “New Energy” Finance corp, or the Clean Energy Council representative.
“DAVID MARK: What do you put that down to?
KOBAD BHAVNAGRI: This is almost entirely, in fact this is entirely due to the Coalition Governments review of the renewable energy target, in which it’s considering options to lower the target or scrap it all together have put the complete brakes on investment in the sector. No one is prepared to invest dollars and put shovels in the ground in a policy that maybe torn up all together.
DAVID MARK: What does that say Kobad Bhavnagri, that countries like the United States and China, which were the ones which were seen to be dragging the chain on action on climate and also on renewable energy are now leading the way and yet Australia has almost slowed to a halt?
KOBAD BHAVNAGRI: Yeah will it shows that Australia on the policy front is really now going in a direction that’s counter to the rest of the world. For a long time there’s been a perception created that Australia was really leading the pack and that the rest of the world in particular China and the US were going slower and we were putting our neck out in front.
However the fact and the evidence never really supported that argument and now we see in stark detail, investment in China, the United States and Europe surging ahead as they have over the last few years whilst Australia has fallen off a cliff.”
The Clean Energy Council are an industry body here to sell their goods. Apparently we pay the ABC to do no background research and ask no hard questions.
“DAVID MARK: Kane Thornton is the acting chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.
KANE THORNTON: What that means is that projects have approval, there’s a lot of exciting projects right around the country that are ready to go, but those businesses can’t really get those projects financed, they can’t go ahead with them while there is so much uncertainty about the policy that really will provide the revenue to pay off those projects in years to come.
DAVID MARK: Kane Thornton says the uncertainty in Australia over renewables flies in the face of what’s happening internationally.
KANE THORNTON: This report really tells us that there is a global race on in renewable energy. This report tells us that many many countries right around the world are pushing very hard to move away from coal and from gas for their electricity generation and move towards renewable energy, because that’s what’s the most cost effective increasingly in those countries and that helps them to reduce their emissions and transition their energy sector.”
Time to privatize the ABC. It does not represent taxpayers of Australia.