Joyce and his dinosaurs on power

Joyce and his dinosaurs on power


Opinion
Mal Peters is tired of politicians like Barnaby Joyce using the energy conversation to recharge their own careers. Photo by shutterstock.

Mal Peters is tired of politicians like Barnaby Joyce using the energy conversation to recharge their own careers. Photo by shutterstock.

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Farmers instinctively know private industry is best placed to run the electricity sector and government interference has only driven power prices up writes Mal Peters.

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Farmers instinctively know private industry is best placed to run the electricity sector and government interference has only driven power prices up.

Equally they will have no appetite for Barnaby Joyce and his cronies creating an unmanageable firestorm for new National party leader Michael McCormack by advocating for $5 billion fund to build coal fired power stations and have a royal commission into the sector.

The perception will be Joyce is trying to return as leader and sheer bloody madness.

It was only a few years ago the incoming NSW Liberal-National party Government assured us Government owned coal fired power stations had to be sold off as private enterprise was much more efficient.

Some were flogged off at huge discounts but now we are being told by Joyce and his mates we must put $5 billion aside to purchase and build coal fired power stations.

Now either Joyce has forgotten what they did, or he thinks farmers too stupid to see the hypocrisy.

The baseload power issue has been blown out of all proportion because Joyce’s claim that when the sun does not shine, or wind does not blow in parts of Australia we need coal.

Not only is it a chronic waste of public funds it is trying to fix a problem that is not there according to a conga line of people who understand the complexity of the sector. One such person, chairman of Sustainable Energy Development and University of Sydney professor Anthony Vassallo, said the concept of base load power shortage is as current as dinosaurs.

The concept is both misinterpreted and outdated.

CSIRO energy director Dr Glenn Platt said: “things are much more dynamic and the difference between the minimum and the peak amount of electricity we use these days is huge.”

Researchers argue that this “base load” of supply from coal-fired power stations has been falsely translated as a baseline of consumer demand.

According to professor Andrew Blakers director of the ANU centre for Sustainable Energy systems, technology has moved on from baseline power and now we need flexible power like demand management batteries and pumped hydro.

For the past decade Governments of all persuasion has made a complete hash of the energy debate while electricity prices for farmers has gone through the roof.

The National Energy Guarantee is an opportunity for the Turnbull Government to establish a policy that will in time bring prices down. Tony Abbott and Joyce using it as a tool to further their personal ambitions and return to their former roles by undermining it only shows their selfishness.

We are all sick of high electricity prices and  it is now time to sign up to the NEG and stop trying to take us back to the future then maybe electricity prices will start dropping.

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