A post about electricity generation in Australia.  Happy New Year, Aussies.  Are you feeling relaxed and comfortable after the Christmas and New Year festivities?  My hope for the new year is that a federal election is called in the next couple of weeks.  

Even though the government has no majority in the house, I am concerned that this parliamentary term will be dragged out just long enough for a new coal-powered station, underwritten by the Australian taxpayer, to be announced (and contract signed).  There was $9 billion of decisions taken but not yet announced in the Mid-Year Economic Outlook statement.  I reckon that could go some way to subsiding a new coal-fired power station, don’t you?   In fact, in July 2018, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan estimated the cost of a new coal-fired power station at between $8 billion and $27 billion.  The same AEMO report also predicted that new investments in renewable energy and storage, combined with flexible gas power and transmission efficiencies, could provide more than enough capacity to offset the closure of old coal-fired power stations.

In case you missed the news, as you might have done since it came out just before Christmas, the CSIRO and AEMO released a joint report, GenCost 2018 (20 December 2018).  In this study, CSIRO and AEMO benchmarked the cost of alternative power sources.  It found that new solar and wind, inclusive of 2-6 hours storage, was considerably cheaper than any fossil-fuel alternative.  So what financial institution is going to invest in new coal power?  Can anyone else see the irony of wanting to reduce the power prices of Australians on the one hand, while on the other hand, making Australians pay for that electricity through the tax system?  And, with or without the capital subsidy, the operational cost of providing that electricity will likely be higher than that for renewables.  So who pays for that additional cost?  Will future investment in renewables be stymied by a new coal-fired power station underwritten by government?

The pessimist in me thinks no matter the timing of the election, that a proposed new coal-fired power station is going to be announced before the election is called.  You’ve gotta leave a legacy I suppose.  Let’s hope no power company tenders for this opportunity.

So I am already counting down 2019.  Let’s get it over with.

Regards
Tracy

Response to the Ragtag Daily PromptAnticipate.

28 thoughts on “Counting Down 2019

  1. I share your concern and I think I heard something about it on the news today suggesting that there have been expressions of interest in building the wretched things. I think that the government will try to drag it out and call the election for May if they can. In the meantime, I see that Clive Palmer has already started advertising his party.

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  2. The writing is on the wall, the days of coal generated power are numbered. Through out Canada coal fired electrical power generation is being phased out. It will be replaced in some cases with natural gas fueled power generation or in other cases by types of green energy. Canada is planning to export liquidfied natural gas to the Far East. Thus in theory helping to mitigate the dependence on coal in the Far East. Currently world wide natural gas is cheap and the trend away from coal will continue globally. I suspect that expensive coal powered electricity generating power plants increasingly will be regarded as the legacy of the ‘dinosaur thinking political parties.’

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    1. This is all about links that the coal industry has to political parties. And a matter of stupid male pride. Now, don’t get me started on gas, Sid. Coal is the bogey man here, which is good for the gas industry as it takes the attention off them. Carbon emissions from gas are growing rapidly in this country. It is definitely not a good substitute. Okay, get me started, I was going to write about it anyway. How tedious for my readers. 🙂 Perhaps I should leave it to the experts. I eat less chocolate that way.

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      1. Tracy the burning of fossil fuels is the main political issue in Canada. Canada is implementing a carbon tax which appeals to the majority of Canadians but is vehemently opposed by about one third of Canadians. In this phase out of carbon based fuels the arguement is made that natural gas emissions are about 50 % to 60 % cleaner than coal. It is a short sighted harm mitigation arguement used to justify stopping coal and replacing it with natural gas for the sake of harm reduction and the Canadian economy. The big threat made is that by going off fossil fuels the Canadian economy will crash. So fear is one of the cards being played and many people can not see that a transition to a cleaner economy is necessary and possible. Many claim that such a transition is not possible but that is the propaganda of the opposition. Our most successful province, British Columbia is quickly building a green economy.

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      2. The same arguments were used here. The economy went gangbusters, and lots of people made a motza. When my husband and I visited my family in one of those areas under development, we saw a young family going through the drive-thru at McDonalds in a convertible porche. It was quite obscene.

        Meanwhile the Aussie dollar went through the roof and our manufacturing sector was badly affected. And then when the CSG trains were built, the local economies in those areas tanked. Now gas prices in Australia have gone through the roof. And then there is the fracking and the risk to ground water. And the fugitive emissions, etc. I am sure the usual suspects are involved in the gas industry in Canada.

        It is fabulous to hear that economic success and a green economy can go together. I think those stories are really important in convincing people that there is another way.

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  3. Be careful what you wish for. We are discovering the hard way that elections are not about who has the fairest policies, the best arguments. Money talks. Dark money best of all. Or is Australia above all that kind of thing?

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  4. It does seem so ridiculous that they are not pouring the money into solar and wind power that we have an abundance of. Sell the coal to China, but that will not help the planet. The election will certainly be sooner than later. I think it will be a turbulent year in Canberra

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  5. Such a sad irony, that the fossils in politics will leave a legacy of fossil fuels. This will always be a true test of political resolve versus business power. While I’m a pacifist and abhor violence, there is a line in Spartacus where someone says upon entering a villa “Kill them all” well – at least at the ballot box do it by vote.

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