Aussie Renewable Target: Everyone Gets an Exemption

exempt-scrabbleEric Worrall writes – The increasingly farcical Australian Renewable Target just took another body blow today, with mounting pressure on the Labor Party, from Aluminium Industry union delegates, to exempt yet another industry from green energy tariffs.

According to The Australian, a major Aussie daily newspaper;

“THE Australian Workers Union has called for the aluminium ­industry to be exempted from the renewable energy target, a move that will increase pressure on Labor to negotiate a bipartisan deal with the Coalition on changes to the scheme. AWU national secretary Scott McDine warned that the RET maintained in its current form would lead to thousands of jobs shifting overseas with no ­environmental gain.”

The main domestic political opposition to Aussie Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s dismantling of carbon pricing and job destroying environmental laws, is a coalition of Greens and Labour in the Australian Federal Senate. But the uncertain Aussie jobs market, combined with high profile announcements of impending plant closures, by energy intensive industry leaders, is increasing pressure on the Labor Party to reconsider its hardline green political posture.

It remains to be seen whether the Australian Renewable Energy Target will be abolished, or whether it will continue to have holes poked in it, until it is rendered completely ineffectual.

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October 8, 2014 3:53 pm

In July/August this year the ALCOA smelter in Pt Henry, Victoria, Australia was closed down with the loss of 500 immidiate jobs plus a few hundred contractors. Although an old smelter (constructed in 1962), it had a $106 million carbon tax bill and had to conform with the RET etc. which added to the decision to close the plant. Complete stupidity by the left that affects peoples lives directly, and for what?

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Dr_G
October 8, 2014 5:18 pm

To make the green/left look like they’re doing something..
They care not what industry they destroy, so long as they personally have power, heat, light, Tasmanian Oak furniture and woodwork throughout, several cars and phones, security systems to protect it all and a major pension decades earlier than anybody else is allowed to receive it.
Dontcha just love green pollies?

Reply to  Dr_G
October 9, 2014 11:24 am

And then the next PM, the appalling Plibersek, came out squealing with delight that the World’s Biggest Carbon Tax was working, because carbon emissions were down in some sectors in response. Yes, Tanya – NOT producing stuff emits less CO2s than producing stuff.

October 8, 2014 4:13 pm

If this industry is granted an exemption, than all industries that compete with that industry will demand, and be entitled to exemptions.
And so it goes until only the politically unpopular will be paying.

Michael Cox
Reply to  MarkW
October 8, 2014 5:32 pm

…until only the politically unpopular will be paying.
You mean smokers?

Another Ian
Reply to  MarkW
October 9, 2014 12:59 am

Well keep this going until only owners of solar panels and wind farms pay RET – a rebate for the rest of us

October 8, 2014 4:14 pm

Everyone gets a free pass, except the consumer, who’ll foot the bill in the end.

Reply to  Pointman
October 8, 2014 8:22 pm

Obviously a keen student of Australian Politics …

Sweet Old Bob
October 8, 2014 4:18 pm

Greens expect to be exempt from any real costs from their policys……why should everyone else have to pay? Exempt EVERYONE!

October 8, 2014 4:28 pm

Don’t get it, why should they pay a levy instead of generating employment? I rather hire people and expand than try to buy smoke and mirrirs (oops, I guess the smoke is what I shouldn’t be buying)

October 8, 2014 4:30 pm

Good gracious, a unionist who does not believe in AGW! Yes, exempt them all.

Dudley Horscroft
October 8, 2014 5:44 pm

Just adopt both options 1 – the large scale scheme is closed to further entrants, and the small scale scheme is closed, period!
There is much bluster that the LSS provides cheap electricity – it probably does when the wind blows. But it is subject to the same economic constraints as are coal and nuclear fired power stations, very expensive to build, cheap to keep running. So electricity costs must cover not only the fuel and other opertional matters, but also sufficient to cover the interest and depreciation on the original build, plus a return on money invested by the owners. This is why the regulator sets electricity prices.
Given the alleged surplus of electricity -why not when the price increases in 2009 and 2010 to cover proper provision for “posts and wires” meant lower consumption, well before the price increases due to the “carbon tax” there is no justification for new windmills or solar plants being built. And coal fired plants should still be kept in operation if they (a) can be maintained in safe condition, and (b) can produce electricity at less than the price that the distribution companies are willing and allowed to pay.
The wind and solar plants, if connected to the grid, should also pay for the operation of the coal fired backup plants needed to be kept running for when the wind does not blow enough, or when it blows too hard.

Brian H
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
October 9, 2014 10:14 pm

The market compromise is to price the backup power to cover all the plants’ costs, variable depending how quickly they are asked to ramp up and down. Some UK plants were/are getting 400X regular prices for fast-ramp power.

October 8, 2014 7:00 pm

Unions who have supported CAGW policies will pay a heavy price. they should have been at the forefront of exposing the scams:
8 Oct: Forbes: James Taylor: No, A Carbon Tax Cannot Create Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Curiously, the Center for American Progress fails to disclose that it is funded by the renewable energy industry and its founder and chairman of the board has a long and successful career as a renewable energy lobbyist. Conca must first convince his liberal activist group allies to not pilfer carbon dioxide tax revenues before he can plausibly argue that carbon dioxide tax revenues would be returned to the American people. (Good luck on that, by the way, because the Center for American Progress argues very strongly that the renewable energy industry must get to keep the tax spoils rather than government returning the tax money to the American people.)…

Reply to  pat
October 9, 2014 12:15 am

I think this is starting to dawn on the union movement. There were some cushy renewables construction jobs, but they’re kindof fading away. The Aussie mining boom provided a lot more jobs, so there is some sensitivity, now that the boom seems to have cooled, about anything which discourages mining investment in Australia.

October 8, 2014 9:27 pm

Interesting political dilemma. How to do one while appearing to do the other: exempt to neutrality, obviously.
Honesty and straightforwardness are good for Mr. Smith, but not for Washington, don’tchaknow.

October 8, 2014 9:57 pm

The idiotic thing here is that it was the head of the AWU (the most powerful union in Oz) said he wouldn’t support the Carbon Tax if a single job was lost. The unions of various stripes paid for advertising in support of the Carbon Tax.
Now their political puppets are removed from government, and they start realising the idiocy of supporting these anti-industry, anti-worker laws? When they were in power Julia Gillard was a puppet of the AWU, who only lost power when the AWU finally cut her loose.
And now the AWU is asking from exemptions to laws they formerly supported?! When they had their own in government, they asked for these ridiculous laws to be upheld, and spent their own money advertising that fact. They could have rung up their pet PM and had the laws overturned in a days work, but sat by and watched plant closure after plant closure – they did nothing while the entire Australian car manufacturing industry threw up its hands and gave up and closed shop.
And somehow now they have seen the light?
As if any more evidence that unions are bat-crap crazy and are toxic for the workers they are meant to be helping.

October 8, 2014 10:23 pm

I don’t get it I thought the Australian Senate was now controlled by The coalition.

Reply to  Eliza
October 8, 2014 10:39 pm

No, in the Australian Senate the minority parties hold the balance of power. The Australian house of representatives is overwhelmingly controlled by the coalition.

Reply to  Eliza
October 9, 2014 1:56 am

No, the Senate seems to be currently controlled by a money grabbing clown called Palmer.
Al Gore visited him not long ago, and seems to have persuaded Palmer that Palmer can probably make more PROFIT by supporting the renewable energy target than voting it down.
How long Big Al and the green lobby can continue to maintain funding to Palmer to support this, is the real question.
As soon as Palmer sees more profit in it for him, to get rid of the RET, it is gone !!

October 8, 2014 11:56 pm

In the UK, the contract for differences (CFD) is a mechanism to provide support to renewable forms of power generation.
The cost will be passed to consumers through a “Supplier Obligation”.
The new Hinckley Point nuclear power station will benefit from a CFD, reportedly of 35 year duration and priced around £90 per MWh. That’s way above the market price and somebody was reported on the news last night claiming that the UK consumer may end up paying £200 per year for this.
So much (1) for cheap nuclear power.
DECC is consulting on changes to the Supplier Obligation to exempt energy intensive industries from supporting CFD costs. Who knows who will apply for exemption, but how many will shout about MMCC while getting their exemption from the cost?
So much (2) for the polluter pays principle.
This leaves the cost to everybody else who cannot threaten to relocate abroad.
So much (3) for all those “hard working families” the politicians keep shouting about when fishing for votes.

October 9, 2014 12:38 am

The cost of Hinkley Point is £8 per household per year. The subsidy is £200 per household in total. Subsidies, in my view are always undesirable, and indeed I think that Hinkley is the wrong kind of reactor. That said, the UK government has to do something to stop the lights going out and Hinkley will provide almost 15% of the UK’s electricity generation 24/7 for decades. This compares with paying a higher subsidy for inefficient intermittent and unreliable renewables. So in a way, it’s a bargain. I am biased towards nukes – I live in France where at any given moment around 80% of our third of the price of our German neighbours’ electricity comes from nukes

Gerry, England
Reply to  bertief
October 9, 2014 5:58 am

And in their own moment of stupidity, France will cut back on nuclear and replace it with windmills and solar. The UK could keep the lights on by continuing to feed coal to the coal-burning power stations and ignore the EU. However, they have been quick to demolish those taken off-line such as Didcot to demonstrate how supremely stupid they are. Today may hopefully mark the start of a change from dim-witted consensus policies if UKIP chalks up its first MP.

Reply to  bertief
October 9, 2014 10:49 am

The project is expected to be 3.2GW capacity and generate about 25 TWh per annum. This is about 7% of the 300TWh total annual GB power demand.
The £90/MWh price compares with around £50/MWh market price (£40/MWh subsidy), so the project will receive support of around £1bn per annum (Euro £1.2 bn or USD 1.6 bn).
The average increase will be around £50 per household, if all 20 million GB households share the burden.
The project microsite indicates that the output will be sufficient to supply around 5 million households, about one quarter of all households. We could leave it to the developers to find willing customers in the market. These would be people who consider the increase of £200 per year in their power bills to be a fair price to pay to support nuclear or save the planet from thermageddon, or whatever other good cause. But that’s not proposed. Go figure.

Reply to  Jordan
October 9, 2014 11:54 am

Your numbers are more accurate than the ones I had seen quoted – however, the fact is that this level of subsidy is still less than even onshore windmillls receive and a heap less than solar. The subsidy runs for 35 years out of an expected plant life of 60 years, so is front loaded. Without Hinkley C the lights would go out in the UK. I agree it is very far from ideal, but given that the cost of nuclear plant construction elsewhere in the world is significantly less than in the UK one has to wonder how much of the additional cost is directly attributable to the UK government’s ‘unique’ approach to all infrastructure projects. HS2 anyone?

October 9, 2014 2:00 am

fifty one (51)

October 9, 2014 4:09 am

I think this is rather funny. We get “worrying” warmings from the BoM and CSIRO during grand final week(s)? If the weather does not impact beer supply during various Aussie sporting events, they don’t care. And we have Bathurst this w/e…85% eco fuel.

October 9, 2014 5:47 am

Much regulation favors old interests by establishing barriers to entry for new interests.
My company is exempt and/or has knowledge and influence outside my core business. It taxes me.
Your company in non-exempt and/or must buy knowledge/influence outside your core business. It taxes you more.
I make less, but you might not make any at all. Symbiotic protection racket puts big companies in a position where they want corporate/regulatory overhead, just not too much.

Reply to  KevinM
October 9, 2014 5:56 am

Exactly. In the land of Economics, this is called regulatory capture. An industry “captures” the regulatory machinery (via all that influence buying / donating / lobbying / revolving door appointments / etc.) and uses it to kick out anyone not in the Monopoly or Oligopoly Club. All the while increasing net profit to the club members…

October 9, 2014 12:44 pm

Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
Sounds like Obamacare: if so many exceptions are needed, maybe the law itself is the problem. In this case –say it after me– fighting a problem that does not exist. Only, in this case, the Green Let’s self-indulgence is costing real people real jobs.

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