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ScoMo spends $1 billion on another band-aid subsidy for failing grid

Posted By Jo Nova On October 30, 2019 @ 9:43 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Just another renewables subsidy

Bandaid on electricity grid. The Prime Ministers office has announced $1 Billion boost for power reliability which translates as a billion dollars spent on emergency measures we wouldn’t need if we hadn’t spent billions recklessly and artificially on a transition we didn’t need to have.

Ten years ago Australia didn’t have to spend a single dollar, on any batteries,  pumped storage, or “grid stabilizers”. And it didn’t need extra interconnectors. For decades the FCAS was largely free, thanks to giant turbines from coal plants. If we wanted grid unreliability back then, we’d probably have had to pay for it.

The Liberal National Government will establish a $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund to support Government investment in new energy generation, storage and transmission infrastructure, including eligible projects shortlisted under the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.

This is a government fund to support governments “investing” in energy generation?

The new $1 billion fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), drawing on the energy and financial markets expertise that has seen the CEFC invest more than $7 billion in clean energy since its establishment in 2012. The Fund represents the first new capital provided to the CEFC since it began.

It’s tin tacks in terms of solving the problem. The Snowy 2.0 anti-generator will need 5 to $10 billion. Any new major interconnector chews up $1.5b.  South Australia spent $500m on batteries and bandaids, and it’s only 6% of our total NEM Grid. Pfft.

Warning: goal posts on the move

Look who’s aiming to keep electricity only twice as expensive as it was a few years ago before Australia added all the unreliable generators:

The Grid Reliability Fund is an important initiative in the Government’s A Fair Deal on Energy policy and will contribute to meeting our $70 per MWh price target and maintaining and increasing supply of reliable electricity.

Average price for twenty years was $30/MWh. No one is even aiming to get back there. When we close coal plants electricity prices rise. Is there any nation on Earth where that’s not true?

In a PR move the CEFC has been retasked

This is another billion tossed at green fairies, and given to a group that has spent $7b of taxpayer money wrecking our grid. There are better ways this could have been spent. It’s a fence-sitting move, feeding the crocodile. Axing the CEFC and setting up a new group would have been a red rag to the XR-mob. Perhaps ScoMo is afraid of being called a “climate denier”, so the PM has retasked them instead.

Eligible investments will include:

  • Energy storage projects including pumped hydro and batteries,
  • Transmission and distribution infrastructure, and
  • Grid stabilising technologies.

The CEFC may do less damage than it used to do, or maybe not. These band-aids are still subsidies to industries that are destroying grid stability, and will make more of them possible. Instead we should be figuring out a way to get the unreliable generators to pay for reliability-fixes.

The CEFC doesn’t look like they get much say in anything:

Jennifer Hewett, AFR, has a few details.

The new CEFC-administered “grid reliability fund” will centralise the government’s financial support for new generation and storage from sources such as batteries, pumped hydro and gas, as well as some of the investment needed to upgrade transmission networks. But the money is primarily designed to provide a form of a banking facility or guarantee designed to unlock additional private sector investment, mainly by underwriting new dispatchable generation projects.

This includes underwriting most of the 12 projects the government has already shortlisted for federal backing, although it is still negotiating the details of this with the individual companies selected. All involve pumped hydro or gas projects in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland with the one exception of the upgrade of a coal-fired power station in NSW.

The energy policy blueprint is here: https://www.energy.gov.au/energy-policy-blueprint-fair-deal-energy.

Malcolm Turnbull’s happy – so we know it’s a bad idea.

Art: Compilation of Hydrabad wiring by   McKay Savage from London, UK and band aid cartoon by Nina Garman from Pixabay

 

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