Features Australia

Renewable idiocy

Australian reliance on luck is a risky strategy

Rebecca Weisser

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Rebecca Weisser

24 September 2022

9:00 AM

Green woke idiocy is the greatest renewable resource of our times but despite an over-abundance of it in Australia, the nation will almost certainly outperform its allies and adversaries. Why? Because the sabotage inflicted on us by our ruling class will be outdone by elites in other countries.

Europe is a world-class performer in this respect recklessly indulging in decades-long green moralising while placing its energy security in the hands of a deranged dictator.

Last week, President Putin mocked the Europeans’ energy crisis rightly blaming it on their green agenda and reminding Germany that all it had to do to end its economic and energy meltdown was lift its sanctions on Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has the capacity to transmit 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

Germany embargoed the pipeline days before Putin invaded Ukraine, doubling Europe’s gas prices. Europe has accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the invasion. Seriously, what did the Europeans expect? Russia is not Myanmar. As Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pointed out recently, ‘Sanctions work when deployed by stronger actors against the weak.’

The pain in Europe and the UK has been immediate and profound, with manufacturing shuttering, fuel lines growing, and businesses going bust and worse is to come over winter. It was a measure of the European Commission’s desperation that it labeled nuclear and gas ‘sustainable’ to the horror of global warming alarmists whose primary concern is achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. But European leaders are now engaged in the more urgent task of sustaining energy flows over the winter and generating enough good will to stave off a popular revolt.

Russia is suffering too. The ‘special operation’ in Ukraine went from a cakewalk to quagmire in three days. Sanctions are biting, particularly on goods needed to maintain gas and oil production. Russia has been forced to sell its gas for less than it would like to the Chinese who, for all the talk of being an eternal ally has driven a hard-nosed bargain and is making a handsome profit reselling Russian gas to Europeans at a mark up.

Putin’s military incompetence coupled with his paranoia has made the world a dangerous place for his allies. The most graphic measure of how badly the war is going is the vertiginous escalation in sudden deaths among his friends and associates. His assent career from KGB agent to kleptocratic president has been built on waging wars and assassinating critics but the pace has picked up in the latter as his success has faltered in the former. Indeed, Putin seems to have had more success killing off his allies than his rag-tag collection of soldiers, reservists and mercenaries have had in Ukraine. Everyone from executives in Gazprom and Lukoil to the founder of Sputnik news agency and even the editor-in-chief of Pravda, Putin’s favourite paper, has died suddenly by an assortment of defenestration, stabbing, hanging and old-fashioned shooting.

Compared with Putin, it might seem that Xi has been masterfully machiavellian, allowing Russia and the West to weaken each other and themselves. Yet Xi has not been sitting idly on his hands. Rather he has been engaging in his own incomprehensible economic destruction with Chinese characteristics.

Xi’s zero-Covid zeal has zero chance of succeeding but comes at anything but zero cost. All 31 of China’s regions have reported outbreaks over the last month, with more than 70 Chinese cities in full or partial lockdown affecting more than 300 million people. Goldman Sachs estimates that the restrictions are suppressing the level of GDP in China by 4 to 5 per cent and a third of the economy in GDP terms is subject to lockdown. Analysts expect growth to slow to 3.9 per cent, the slowest rate since 1990.

All this should be bad news for Australia. Almost 40 per cent of our exports went to China last year and exports to China are down 11 per cent over the last year to July. But thanks to Putin and the Europeans, our gas exports have boomed, more than doubling from $30 billion to $70 billion and are projected to rise to $84 billion in the coming financial year.

Not only that but to the chagrin of Greens everywhere, coal is enjoying unprecedented profit margins. Trade in global seaborne thermal coal reached an all-time high in July of 98 million tonnes, up almost 10 per cent year on year. Add to that, prices for Newcastle thermal coal – the global benchmark – are at almost record levels trading at $429 a tonne last week, just below the record high of $483.50 in March, up $176 a tonne this time last year.

With Russia no longer providing 70 per cent of the EU’s thermal coal and 40 per cent of its natural gas, Europeans have been forced to stop preaching to Australia and instead purchase as much fuel as they can stockpile, reopening mothballed coal plants. Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals have had to be abandoned and CO2 emissions are expected to increase by 1.3 per cent. Of course, if renewable energy was such a great source of power, governments would be rushing to build wind turbines and solar arrays. They are not. Yet at least Europeans weren’t as foolish as Australians who, full of hubris, blew up their coal-fired power plants.

Naturally, the painfully learned lessons for Europe have been completely lost on the Albanese government. Far from adopting gas and nuclear as green sources of energy, the federal and state governments are allowing dispatchable power generators to accelerate their plans to close coal-fired power plants, despite an ‘urgent warning’ from the Australian Energy Market Operator of a shortage of wind, solar, storage capacity, and new transmission links, to make up for the mass exodus of five coal generators by 2030. ‘Forecast reliability gaps’ have emerged across National Electricity Market but Australian governments are no doubt counting on our luck not to run out before the blackouts begin.

Rebecca Weisser is an independent journalist. Like what you read?  Consider supporting her work at PayPal.

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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