Lack of energy leaves burden
I’m not a commentator but...
AS THE security fencing goes up around Parliament House this week, we can feel the slight pangs of regret, the fence wasn’t erected in time to keep the blighters in. Because parliament has now risen; allowing all those federal pollies to go free range until October 16.
This last session was dominated by two issues: dual citizenship and electricity. For all of Labor’s huffing and puffing, nothing can be achieved concerning the former until the High Court makes its ruling. So Labor’s constant disruptions to Question Time were absolutely pointless.
On the second issue, our politicians continue to be in a state of paralysis. Like most things, when they get hold of an issue and use it to flog each other with, a state of chronic numbness sets in, preventing any real progress.
Some couldn’t resist the temptation to lay the blame on the power generators. But surely, the responsibility for this mess lies squarely at the feet of the politicians.
Particularly in the southern states, the sell-off of power assets to the private sector was all well and good. But the past decade or so of policy failure by both major parties has resulted in an environment hardly conducive to said power generators being encouraged to invest to the level that was required to guarantee either reliable supply or affordable power. So, it seems really disingenuous for the current Federal Government to be strongarming power companies over keeping the coal fires burning.
After all, in the free market economy that the politicians laud so much, why would any company want to continue to pour money into keeping costly and antiquated stations running. Isn’t profit the prime consideration in a free market economy? So, why would they when the market is driving the bus towards other energy sources, regardless of what the political agenda of some would dictate? It’s a whole new level of bizarre when you have some National Party MPs attacking the power companies for pandering to the loopy left. It’s just too easy to blame someone else, when it’s politically popular to knock the power companies.
Sure, the ALP and The Greens moved too quickly down the renewables track, but at least they were showing some form of movement on the issue. The unfortunate reality is that energy policy has become mired in the short-sighted focus on the three year election cycle, rather than taking the long-term view.
At some point (and by their very nature) fossil fuels are going to be exhausted. Conveniently, it won’t be in the next couple of election cycles and hence, the belief that we can continue to run coal and gas fired plants until at least the current mob have left the building (both metaphorically and actually). However, the market is clearly dictating an energy future based on advanced renewable technologies. Reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long term and the longer our politicians continue to put obstacles in the way of development then, the further behind we will be, compared to our trading partners.
Conservative politicians, in particular, have this mantra when it comes to fiscal policy that we should not be leaving our grandchildren to pay our debts. So, aren’t we also doing them the same disservice by leaving it to them to make the advancements in affordable and reliable renewables because it’s too politically damaging for US to be biting the bullet? Of course it’s expensive at present. Of course the technology is still in its infancy.
But what companies are going to invest when they have no clue as to policy direction from one election to the next?
The National Party’s decision to push back on the chief scientist’s advice for a Clean Energy Target shows absolute, mind-boggling arrogance. Apparently, the boys from the bush think they know better than the actual experts. Their call to put a ceiling on the development of renewable technologies in favour of so-called “clean” coal is a mid-term remedial fix at best. It provides government with a licence to continue to do nothing for the next 30 or so years. It provides them with a licence to leave the burden to the next generations.
On the second issue, our politicians continue to be in a state of paralysis.