Guest essay by Eric Worrall
South Australians, the world’s renewable crash test dummies, have just overwhelmingly rated affordability and reliability of supply as more important than tackling climate change in an online survey – but they still want their green energy revolution.
Your Say survey finds South Australians rank power bills, supply over tackling climate change
Paul Starick, Sunday Mail (SA)
December 9, 2017 5:30pm
SOUTH Australians are abandoning support for tackling climate change by cutting carbon emissions in favour of demanding affordable and reliable electricity supply and developing a renewable energy industry.
In agenda-setting results on a cornerstone issue for the March state election, more than 3500 respondents overwhelmingly ranked affordability and reliability as the most important components of electricity supply in the Sunday Mail Your Say, SA survey.
Forging a renewable energy industry was also popular among respondents, demonstrating support for solar, wind and batteries.
This indicates a clear public distinction between perceived hip-pocket and job creation benefits of renewable energy and the costs of curbing carbon emissions.
Support for developing renewable energy was strongest among females and people aged under 25. This indicates likely approval for Mr Weatherill’s decision to link his government with tech giant Elon Musk, whose Tesla firm has installed the world’s largest lithium ion battery near Jamestown.
In the wake of a statewide blackout last year, Mr Weatherill in March announced a $550 million energy plan in a bid to stem electorally disastrous blackouts this summer, centred on the battery to store renewable energy and a government-owned power plant.
Labor’s northern Adelaide heartland was least supportive of reducing carbon emissions, which was most popular in the Liberals’ eastern suburbs stronghold.
Developing a renewable energy industry was most popular among respondents in the eastern and western suburbs.
Read more: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sunday-mail-your-say-sa-survey-finds-south-australians-abandoning-support-for-tackling-climate-change/news-story/19bab78c2ccf2f9cba60d8551c1435f2
This survey is fascinating for a number of reasons (full survey available from the link above).
People under 25 are the strongest supporters of renewable energy, though they worry more about job security. I suspect this is because a lot of them don’t pay energy bills. After a decade of self inflicted national economic misery and sky high house prices, a lot of young adult Australians are choosing not to leave home, even into their 30s in some cases.
The fall in support amongst left wing Labor voters is interesting. My personal impression from reading left wing sites and watching a few video speeches is that a lot of left wingers support green policies because green narratives slip easily into the left wing narrative of corporate irresponsibility. Since a lot of lefties already believe corporations are selfish, greedy and arrogant, they are very ready to believe when greens claim corporations are also messing up the planet and their children’s future.
This complacent leftwing cheerleading for bashing businesses appears to come unstuck when the businesses start to break under the pressure, when lefties suddenly wake up that people’s jobs are on the line – which has been happening a lot lately in South Australia.
The survey suggests South Australians strongly believe other Australians look down on them – they have a very negative view of how outsiders perceive South Australia.
Despite all this, South Australians don’t appear to have entirely lost their faith. Affluent South Australians who can afford sky high electricity prices still support renewables. A substantial minority of South Australians view green jobs as being critical to the state’s economic future.
I suspect Greens must still be getting traction blaming everyone else for the job losses, renewable power price hikes and electricity blackouts. Despite the job losses, the factory closures and the painful cost of living price hikes, I suspect South Australians will continue to believe the green lies, they will keep chasing their impossible dream of a renewable future for a long time to come.
Update (EW): Nick Stokes points out the survey is paywalled – I didn’t notice this as I viewed the full article without a paywall via Google search results. The breakdown of the first question of the survey is below: