Aussie Federal Senator Defends Call to Leave the Paris Agreement

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Senator Matt Canavan just ripped into false claims about the international gas market on the ABC Q+A current affairs programme. But Canavan’s call for sanity is largely lost in the wilderness of Australia’s growing energy policy confusion.

Q+A sees Australia’s gas energy future questioned, Matt Canavan defends call to leave Paris Climate Accord

By Paul Johnson

Australia should be wary of a gas-fired energy future which would be shunned by investors and could leave it struggling to find export markets, Q+A was told on Monday night.

Key points:

  • Panellists discussed Australia’s energy future and the move to renewables
  • Concerns were raised that investors may not get on board and back Australian gas
  • Nationals MP Matt Canavan defended his calls for Australia to exit the Paris Agreement

Zoe Whitton, from the Investor Group on Climate Change, sounded the alarm during an episode dedicated to Australia’s energy policy.

Asked if gas was “our way out of this downturn” by host Hamish Macdonald, Ms Whitton said she “deeply doubted” investors would pay for the sort of investment in gas envisioned by the government body charged with charting Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“But … we don’t want to get ourselves to a point where we’ve made a really big investment in gas and then, in 10 or 15 years’ time, no-one wants to buy.”

Ms Whitton, who also works on energy policy for investment bank Citi, said gas was making investors nervous.

“Investors are very uncertain and hesitant about it. That’s the gas that we already have in the ASX. That’s not talking about a gas-driven, domestic expansion, recovery-type scenario. So they’re already anxious about it, and they’re already questioning it,” she said.

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan questioned Ms Whitton’s assessment, and talked up the chances of a global gas boom.

“I don’t know what market Zoe is looking at,” Senator Canavan said.

“She’s saying that investors aren’t investing in gas right now — we’ve had the biggest boom in gas in the world’s history. In fact, the biggest boom in oil as well, on the back of the shale revolution in the United States. 

“Where is all that money coming from, Zoe? 

“Investors are piling into gas. They’re not piling into our gas, because there is a fundamental problem with our gas, it’s at the higher end of the cost curve. That’s an issue of geology, not of climate politics.”

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/australias-gas-future-questioned-q+a-matt-canavan-paris-accord/12309504

Australia may have also frightened off investors with surprise moratoria on exploration and fracking.

For example, the Victorian state government, which is pushing hard for coal plants to be closed, only grudgingly lifted its onshore exploration ban in March. Coal seam gas and fracking are still banned – a ban on fracking is being written into the State constitution. Victoria is one of Australia’s premier manufacturing centres.

Victoria lifts moratorium on onshore gas, but permanently bans fracking

Michael Mazengarb  

The Andrews Labor government in Victoria has announced it will lift a moratorium on the exploration of onshore conventional gas reserves, but will enshrine a permanent ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration in the state’s constitution.

The Victorian government will introduce two bills to parliament, with one effectively lifting a moratorium and allowing for a restart of onshore conventional gas exploration from 1 July 2021.

The second bill will seek to amend the Victorian state constitution, enshrining a permanent ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration. Such amendments can be passed by the Victorian parliament, and it may not be necessary to be put to a vote by Victorian electors.

In lifting the moratorium, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said his government is responding to scientific findings, as well as delivering on an election promise to include fracking ban into the state’s constitution.

“We’re backing the science to create jobs, boost energy supply and support regional communities across the state,” Andrews said in a statement.

“We promised to enshrine our historic ban on fracking in the constitution and we’re delivering – to protect farming communities, and our huge food and fibre sector.”

Read more: https://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-lifts-moratorium-on-onshore-gas-but-permanently-bans-fracking-91726/

Imagine you were an energy investor, or an industrialist looking for a location to build a new factory.

The Australian government attempted to switch from coal to gas, while at the same time state governments banned or heavily restricted exploration and cost efficient gas extraction. They taxed coal plants into the ground, then offered subsidies when coal plant operators started closing.

To add to the fun, Australia’s chief scientist is off on his own tangent, pushing for Australia to ditch coal and gas, and focus on a hydrogen export economy, on the evidence free claim that there is huge demand for expensive green hydrogen produced using renewable Energy. But for some reason the new hydrogen economy needs lots of government support, even though its a hugely profitable opportunity.

Don’t forget, The Australian Government is keen to revive heavy manufacturing, to boost jobs and prosperity. But if anyone falls for the sales pitch, they might discover Australia has an expensive carbon emissions trading scheme, which only applies to large emitters, which they keep so quiet even Australians are mostly unaware it exists.

I think it is fair to say the policy position Australia’s governments present to international investors is a little incoherent.

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102 thoughts on “Aussie Federal Senator Defends Call to Leave the Paris Agreement

  1. Senator Matt Canavan is one of the few compus-mentis politicians in Canberra. He gets support from Senator Malcolm Roberts in the Parliament of Australia, where these two are the voice of reason. All other members of the Australian Parliament are members of the Great Lunacy which has taken over almost completely, believing in Unicorn Farts and Magic Dust, to one degree or other, as rational power sources. One of the worst amongst this latter group is the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews who is a swivel-eyed Loon actively working to destroy all working power sources in the State of Victoria. The question is whether the general population will notice the developing problem and act in time at the ballot to remove the problem. Another question is whether the general population will actually be offered a valid choice of policy at the ballot.
    In the case of the Roman Empire, the choice did not eventuate and the civilisation succumbed.

    • Electing a Liberal Government in South Australia has simply seen the idiotic policies remain in place

      • For the benefit if US readers, Liberal in Australia doesn’t refer to leftist, as liberal in the US does. It refers to a political party that calls itself conservative but is actually leftist. So, in fact, liberal in Australia means leftist, as it does in the US. Clear now?

          • To avoid confusion, I usually refer to it as the left and right of politics, realising that the right of politics in Australia, the Liberals, are roughly equivalent to the left of politics in the US (the Democrats). The Republicans in the US are more like the extreme right in Australia.

    • ” and then, in 10 or 15 years’ time, no-one wants to buy.”

      What a load of bollocks. Consumers will always be ready to buy cheap, clean energy, that is why this idiots are so keen on legislation to ban it.

      a ban on fracking is being written into the State constitution.

      FFS, the whole point of having a constitution is that once established it is immutable. If you start adding partisan politics of the day into your constitution, you no longer have a constitution.

      Once again totalitarian left will destroy anything of value in their path: science, ethics, constitution …. all thrown under the bus.

      Once they have destroyed the society which we have built over the 500 years, I doubt they will end up with the left wing utopia they imagine. Much more likely to be cross between the Viking dark ages and Mad Max.

      • We are doing the same here in Canada, destroying the industry that provides most of the money for social programs.
        Am hearing ominous rumbles that our useless govt is going to use this covid scam as a cover to enact major green shifts, shifting us into a lower standard of living.

        So much stupid, so little time to mock it all

  2. “But Canavan’s call for sanity is largely lost…”

    What Canavan actually said was:
    “They’re not piling into our gas, because there is a fundamental problem with our gas, it’s at the higher end of the cost curve. That’s an issue of geology, not of climate politics.”

    He’s saying that investors are deterred by the cost of extraction of CSG, presumably having in mind that when the US gets its export arrangements working, they will be competing with the huge volumes of supply there.

    But they are all talking about investors being unwilling to invest, not about being unable to invest.

    Victoria has no coal seam gas. It has virtually no black coal.

    Australian governments have not taxed coal plants into the ground. They have closed because they are old and unreliable. No-one wants to invest in new plant, because they can see that coal has had its day.

    • Until the lights go out then it’s going to be a comedy in the East Coast and they already sold all the East Coast gas production. The East Coast power system is like watching a train wreck in slow motion and the conductors all saying nothing to see here .. move along.

      • He’s saying that investors are deterred by the cost of extraction of CSG, presumably having in mind that when the US gets its export arrangements working, they will be competing with the huge volumes of supply there.

        And just where did those UGE supplies come from and how were they recovered??? Fracking!!!

      • What Nick means is that coal has had it’s day in Australia. Coal will still be extracted and sent to be burnt elsewhere.

        • Coal is also required to manufacture High Strength Steel, Aluminum, And major components of Solar Panels
          Coal will always be mined regardless

        • Patrick
          For context, China had announced plans for an ADDITIONAL 1.5 Gigawatt capacity in COAL fired plants.
          That is the equivalent of 150 massive 1,000 Mw power plants. Check the capacity numbers for Liddell and Hazlewood for comparison.
          Much of the coal for these Chinese plants will be shipped out of Newcastle.

      • From your link
        “Victoria’s brown coal mining royalty rates have not increased for a decade. Under the overhaul, which will anger the three big power producers, the rate charged per gigajoule of energy will rise from 7.6 cents to 22.8 cents. That will bring the state broadly into line with NSW, which charges 25.2 cents, and Queensland, which charges 21.5 cents.”

        Brown coal is worth about $15 per gigajoule. This royalty is not driving coal fired stations into the ground.

        • There are 10 Gj / ton of Brown Coal, according to World Nuclear. Current price of thermal coal is just under $60 / ton, so that’s $6 / Gj. Of course that is the export price, I’m not adding in various environmental approval procedures (how long has Adani been waiting?), hordes of inspectors, transport, resource rent fees, etc.

          • Even at $6/GJ, a $0.23 royalty is not going to “tax coal plants into the ground”. All miners pay royalties for use of community resources. In this case, the mines were developed by government and then handed over to the private entities that operate them.

          • Interesting that they’re closing down, even though they are really cheap. What is your theory?

          • “What is your theory?”
            It’s no secret. Our coal stations are reaching the end of their lives, and no-one wants to invest their hard-earned cash in new ones. Or even substantial fixes.

          • There are several of our coal fired power stations, which , if politically allowed to, would easily outlast and current wind or solar.

            But you knew, didn’t you , Nick !

          • “Or even substantial fixes.”

            LOL. now you really are talking from ignorance. (or are you deliberately putting forward mis-information?)

            Funds are constantly being spent of routine upgrades and maintenance.

            You only have to watch the details of the supply to see them shutting down turbines in turn for routine testing and maintenance during winter.

            Heck , even the old turbines at Hazelwood were still putting out 95-105% of their rated output before they were politically put out to pasture.

          • Lets be real politics is why no-one will build a new coal fired power station … the MSM alwats love a good political bashup game and would start a storm over it … we are killing the planet blah blah blah.

            You don’t bet close to $1B to enter a political cat fight you can’t win 🙂

          • According to Nick, since all miners pay taxes, it doesn’t matter how high those taxes get.

        • Well I’ll agree with you Nick that it’s not the royalty that’s driving coal power stations into the ground. However it is the icing on the cake what with RECs for reliables and State sponsored dumping by the unreliables the ACCC would normally be apopleptic about. A level playing that tenderers of electrons to the communal grid have to reasonably guarantee them 24/7/365 along with FCAS or keep them would bankrupt your unreliables forthwith. That’s the big lie solar and wind fanbois hide behind with their fake economics but the fallacy of composition won’t be faked so readily. Tick tick tick……

        • Regulation should be seen as a tax and it is over regulation that is killing the coal industry and coal fired plants. Mountains of regulation meant for one purpose only, kill coal and natural gas.; the cheapest forms of energy.

          There are currently a significant number of coal plants being shut down, not because they can’t produce cheap energy but because they are not allowed to produce cheap energy.

    • “No-one wants to invest in new plant, because they can see that coal has had its day as long as the Victorian government is dominated by loony leftists and ChiCom stooges, they’ll never be allowed to build another coal-fired power plant (or a new dam).

      FTFY

    • No need to ban exploration if there is no gas to find, eh Nick? Australia, even Victoria has substantial deposits of gas, if the government just got out of the way. The Outsiders episode I referenced in the previous post, in which Geologist Ian Plimer was asked to identify the mysterious substance gushing out of a new well in Victoria and causing a large fireball, can’t have been gas because there is no gas right?

      • I said Victoria has no coal seam gas.

        If there is gas “gushing” out of a new well in Victoria, that kind of suggests that drilling is not banned, doesn’t it? And it isn’t.

        • I refer you to the article I quoted in the post, Victoria lifts moratorium on onshore gas, but permanently bans fracking. Not exactly laying out the welcome mat for the gas extraction industry.

          • Not all gas extraction is fracking.

            I think fracking probably a fundamentally bad idea, though I have no means of forming an educated opinion because both sides lie and cheat to defend dogmatic positions. Like climate, there is no “debate”.

            A few decades ago I would have believed the environmentalists’ claims but they have no integrity and lie more than those out to make a buck irrespective of the damage and pollution that may cause.

          • I think fracking has had a lot of negative press. Nobody minds if fracking technology is used to crack open rock strata for geothermal energy, but when gas is being extracted its all evil and wrong.

          • If people who actually do know what they are talking about are spending a lot of their own money on fracking, that should give you a pretty good clue as to whether fracking is a good idea or not.
            Governments don’t need to ban things that nobody is doing.

          • Eric Worrall “ Victoria lifts moratorium on onshore gas, but permanently bans fracking.

            Nick Stokes – June 1, 2020 at 10:27 pm

            What Canavan actually said was:
            “They’re not piling into our gas, because there is a fundamental problem with our gas, it’s at the higher end of the cost curve. That’s an issue of geology, not of climate politics.”

            Nick, you know very well that you were “talking silly” simply because of the following, to wit:

            Michael Mazengarb – 17 March 2020 – “We promised to enshrine our historic ban on fracking in the constitution and we’re delivering – to protect farming communities, and our huge food and fibre sector.”

            Nick, ……. “anti-fracking” laws SUPPORT “green energy” climate politics, ……. and pretty much guarantee that the NG will cost way too much to profitably produce..

          • I spoke to someone who sat on the NSW Committee tasked with investigating the environmental issues surrounding fracking.

            His conclusion? Environmentalists lie. A LOT.

        • “I think fracking probably a fundamentally bad idea, though I have no means of forming an educated opinion because both sides lie and cheat to defend dogmatic positions. ”

          Not a “bad idea”, but uneconomic in practice. At least in the land with the most finely honed E&P business practices in the world. Also a land with Ben Dover environmental, safety, health reg enforcement for generations. A land with a proud, century old tradition of externalizing/communizing many of it’s costs from the supply chain and onto the rest of us – with the predictable loss of price information.

          If you all can make the Trumpian YUGE initial investments, get your geology , well construction, completion, production/hazardous waste injection, and transportation procedures right (using API best practices) equitably award royalties, lock box your P90 (i.e. high end) asset retirement obligation requirements (with any “saved” money from short cuts the lobbyists won, returned to the regulatory entities for quick, equitable public disbursement), have lucrative enough, long term enough, secure enough, markets, and pay a carbon tax comparable to your AGW costs (returned equally, regularly, fully to every citizen, with no tobacco tax honey potting), then KYSO…

          • “I think fracking probably a fundamentally bad idea, though I have no means of forming an educated opinion because both sides lie and cheat to defend dogmatic positions. ”

            Bigoilbob – June 2, 2020 at 7:09 am

            Not a “bad idea”, but uneconomic in practice.

            If fracking was a “fundamentally bad idea”, …… or, “uneconomic in practice”, …. NG producers would have discontinued its use 73 years ago.

            But they didn’t. Fracking procedures were improved upon and now used in every country around the world.

            The process of fracking was first studied by the Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation in the 1940s. Fracturing was used experimentally in Kansas in 1947 to extract natural gas from limestone. Beginning in 1949, this experimental technology was used commercially by Halliburton, an oilfield service company. Fracking applications increased during the 1950s. In the mid-1950s, over 3,000 existing wells were hydraulically fractured per month. In 1970, downhole motors (mud motors) were developed to allow drill operators to adjust the drill string in order to drill wells horizontally. By the 1970s, natural gas extraction began to decline. Additionally, the Organization of the Petroleum …..
            https://ballotpedia.org/Fracking_in_the_United_States

            Only the “looney left” believe the “junk science” being touted by their money hungry “looney left” Leaders and Politicians.

          • “If fracking was a “fundamentally bad idea”, …… or, “uneconomic in practice”, …. NG producers would have discontinued its use 73 years ago.”

            The frac technique effectively under discussion here has nada to do with those used for ~60 of the last “73” years. Those were mostly in sandstones, in mostly vertical wells, used higher proppant concentrations, used fluids expertly engineered to gel at just the right time, with relatively small slurry volumes, at relatively low injection rates, with tip screen out at job end. These practices are mostly obsolete.

            Modern fracs use clearer fluids over and over (saturating with contaminants along the way), injected at rates an order of magnitude higher, with lower proppant concentrations, stage after stage, for days at a time. The haz waste they produce has overwhelmed the antique capacity in states like Oklahoma. The continued CAPEX required to keep up the frac fleets is unsustainable, and the per lateral/well/pad completion costs required – even at bargain basement service rates – do not get returned by production schedule revenue. The asset retirement obligations (cost to plug and abandon) are in the 10-11 figure (USD) range and will certainly end up communized on the public at large.

            But I’ll throw you a bone. When the higher CAPEX and OPEX/boe mideast and FSU oil (and some gas) gets produced off (i.e. in over decade) these resources (NOT RESERVES) will be reassessed, both here and in Australia..

          • Although solar is not without its impacts, using rooftops as solar collectors and making that more efficient will hopefully bring down energy prices sufficiently to make fracking with high environmental impact uneconomic.

          • Oh. BTW Mr. Cogar, even the obsolete frac techniques were hardly used by “Every country in the world”. I still lol over the engineering team assigned to find good candidates in a vast onshore field in Yemen. They spent over 2 years looking, but I’m sure they were “almost there” when the pipelines started blowing up.

            As for the fracs actually now under discussion, nope. It’s a hot house flower tech that only got going with the halo in the aughts of high product prices, less unfavorable geology, enabling reg enforcement, and foreign CAPEX to build out the frac fleet on spec. It’s all over now in the US, and NEVER got off the ground in any meaningful way elsewhere.

            Another bone for you though. The Saudi Aramco shale gas campaign MIGHT be worth a try. Lost of CAPEX, underpaid labor, friendly regulators, and a legit need to replace oil with gas for domestic AC. It might even employ a couple of my buds as advisors and company men….

          • Mr. bigoilbob (big-oil-bob), ….. I think that I can understand why you are critical of bigNGsam (me) ……. and very well might claim all the following is simply lies and distortions, …. but I will post it to your attention anyway, to wit:

            WV Natural gas — Last Updated: September 19, 2019

            West Virginia is the seventh-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the nation.
            West Virginia overlies part of the nation’s largest natural gas-producing area where production from the Marcellus and Utica-Point Pleasant shale formations has contributed to the state becoming the seventh-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the country. In 2014, the state’s annual natural gas production exceeded 1 trillion cubic feet for the first time, and it reached a record of nearly 1.8 trillion cubic feet in 2018. In 2017, shale wells accounted for more than four-fifths of West Virginia’s natural gas production, and the state’s shale gas reserves exceeded 34 trillion cubic feet. West Virginia’s total natural gas reserves are the fourth-largest of any state. In addition to shale gas, West Virginia has natural gas reserves in conventional natural gas fields and in the state’s many coal fields as coalbed methane.

            Read more @ https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=WV

            And also, Mr. bigoilbob, …… to wit:

            Appalachian Production

            The Marcellus/Appalachian Shale region is the largest shale gas producing region in the U.S. – and is estimated to have the largest resource base.

            Output had grown to over 32 Bcf/d in early 2020. Regarding shale gas, U.S. EIA observed in March 2020 that “The Appalachian region remains the largest natural gas producing region in the United States.

            Appalachian natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica/Point Pleasant shales of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania continues to grow; gross withdrawals increased from 28.6 Bcf/d in 2018 to 32.1 Bcf/d in 2019. Within the Appalachian region, Pennsylvania had the largest increase in gross withdrawals of natural gas, increasing by 2.1 Bcf/d in 2019 to reach 19.1 Bcf/d.”

            Annual production in Pennsylvania alone has grown from 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year in 2011 to 6.9 Tcf in 2019. Pennsylvania is now the second largest gas producing state in the U.S., after Texas.
            Read more @ https://www.northeastgas.org/marcellus_shale.php

          • ” I think that I can understand why you are critical of bigNGsam (me) ……. and very well might claim all the following is simply lies and distortions, …. but I will post it to your attention anyway, to wit”

            Thanks for the regional industry PR piece, but even though the Marcellus is the least unhealthy shale play, it is still in deep economic decline. The only recent band aid has been the relatively steeper decline of associated Permian gas, because of economically shut in oil wells. Company valuations are continuing down, and debt/equities are going thru the roof. Not to mention the fact that they have trashed both the super and subterranea of several counties in W Va. After working in oil and gas in many parts of the world, I lasted 2 weeks managing completion operations for one of the biggest producers in the following link before quitting in disgust.

            BTW, the “good” in this link, isn’t. Halliburton can only eat their seed corn from low service rates for so long, and that time has come. Equipment is being cannibalized to pump the jobs and the hands are tired of pay and hourly cuts.
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryceerickson1/2020/12/30/appalachian-gas-valuations-the-bad-the-ugly-and-the-good/#20bdcc0c3cd5
            This is in the midwest, and I’m linking to it because I broke out in a production field office a mile away. But it is being repeated all over the CONUS.

            https://www.koco.com/article/halliburton-to-close-el-reno-facility-more-than-800-expected-to-lose-jobs-officials-say/30084684#

            https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryceerickson1/2020/12/30/appalachian-gas-valuations-the-bad-the-ugly-and-the-good/#20bdcc0c3cd5

          • bigoilbob, ……. its so bad bad that the US is gonna hafta go “100% green energy”, .. RIGHT?

            OH, and what is your problem with WV coal?

          • “OH, and what is your problem with WV coal?”

            I’m not a mining engineer, and no “problem” per se. It’s dying a natural death, even with the same type of Ben Dover reg enforcement I see in my biz. If they had to pay their own way w.r.t. environmental compliance, funding of pensions, asset retirement, and AGW costs via a carbon tax fully refundable to all W. Va. citizens, they would have been gone long ago. Oh, forgot to mention the power company’s covering massive acreage with leaching coal ash pits. Thanks Pat McCrory – and others…..

            https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/columnists/phil_kabler/statehouse-beat-no-need-for-a-war-coal-is-dying-already/article_1f52d45e-d3a7-5dc5-b74b-3abe0939a309.html

        • Only because of the idiotic politics behind the anti-CO2 scam.

          Gutless politicians afraid your far-left ABC will go on the rampage and of overseas political repercussions.

        • Nick
          The Chinese recently announced plans to build the equivalent of 150 massive 1,000 Mw COAL plants (1.5 Gw) … burning, to a large degree, Aussie coal.

    • “that coal has had its day.”

      LOL, which is why China is building some 1000 new ones in many parts of the world, right Nick !

      The only reason coal is not not being funded in Australia, are political and anti-science ones.

        • Not really new. From your link:
          “The plant was meant to start production in 2011 but was held back by the environmental debate and by damages to its boiler during component tests.”
          In fact, it was started in 2005.

          • Over a THOUSAND, new coal fired power stations, Nick

            Coal will be KING for ages to come.

            Lies of its demise are far-left idiotology and lies

            But you knew that, didn’t you Nick..

          • Over 1000MW and just opened in Germany.

            Bad luck, Nick

            Not to mention the 1000 + new ones being built by China.

            Plenty of luvly green plant food for many many years to come. 🙂

          • From Reuters May 30th 2020:
            https://uk-mobile-reuters-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUKKBN2322CR?fbclid=IwAR2B3qt7XYjHBFE5ib2l2O6HJtEp7KpYHD-DJ71Chx3RxR_hhSQon9A7kIM
            “German power utility Uniper’s (UN01.DE) new Datteln 4 coal-fired power station will begin operating on May 30, it said on Tuesday.
            The 1,050 megawatt (MW) plant that has cost Uniper 1.5 billion euros was granted an exemption from Germany’s plan to exit coal power by 2038 after the company argued that it made more sense to shut old capacity with high CO2 emissions to clear the way for state-of-the-art Datteln to operate into the 2030s.
            Environmentalists have criticised the compromise, saying the government lacked ambition and allowed coal operators to get off lightly.
            “We confirm the commercial operation date of Datteln 4 on May 30,” a Uniper spokesman said on Tuesday in reply to an enquiry, adding that the launch was in line with a previously envisaged timeframe.
            Output notices under electricity wholesale market rules watched by traders had indicated the plant’s impending synchronisation with the power grid.
            The plant was meant to start production in 2011 but was held back by the environmental debate and by damages to its boiler during component tests.”

            Proposed years ago, correct , but I suggest that it is significant that despite Merkel’s green ideals , it is allowed to go into production now, despite Germany having many thousands of wind turbines. Enough contradictions to make a poor fellow’s head spin.

    • Nick,
      You are obviously aware that Australian and Indonesian coal exports are at record levels.
      I guess that is why “coal has had it’s day.
      You sure do qualify.

    • Nick, you’re wide of the mark there old bean.
      Australian gas primarily comes from remote offshore fields and getting the gas to market requires additional investment in either long distance pipelines or in LNG facilities and tankers. Moreover Australian gas is produced from generally large fields that require a substantial CAPEX to develop and that already daunting CAPEX has been exacerbated in the last decade or two by a steep climb in wages. Coal seam gas (CSG) is only large scale in Queensland and green-tape plus the reactionary and fluid nature of legislation governing the practice during its gestation in Queensland is as much to blame for the cost of extraction there as geology.
      The tar sands and ‘shale revolution’ that’s occurred in Canada and the USA respectively are not likely down under because our geology is different and despite some exploration, there simply isn’t the same commercial opportunity for large scale unconventional oil and gas in Australia today as there is in North America.

      As far as investors believing that coal has ‘had its day’, that’s just plain wrong; after all none of the export coal mining operations have been thwarted for lack of investment.
      The real reason no one is currently investing in coal fired generation in Australia is because they can see that for the foreseeable future, state and federal government meddling in energy markets means the return on their investment is too difficult to predict, which is not to say that at some point in the future, an outbreak of common sense may reverse that current predicament.
      If you have money to invest in generation today, which would you invest in?
      An unreliable subsidy mining farm that might last 20 years, which will attract government ‘support’ to help with the construction cost, which will received fast tracked planning approval, which will be given mandated first access to market, which will attract guaranteed minimum prices for the electricity occasionally generated, which will attract no artificial costs such as unpredictable carbon taxes, Which will employ almost no people and thus incur a low wage cost, which will not be penalised for the instability it foists on grid frequency, which will earn ‘money for nothing’ disconnection fees to pay for the electricity you could have generated when there is no demand for it, which (based on present precedent) will still attract subsidies long after present policy dictates that it shall not, which it is fair to assume won’t seriously attract real decommissioning costs, despite what ever guarantees you agree to in the subsidy mining contract you sign (and if in 20 years the local government insists that you really must dig up those concrete foundations, you can just declare bankruptcy and take you ill-gotten subsidy loot of to the Bahamas with your yacht)?
      OR would you invest in a reliable coal fired power station which in a level playing field would operate reliably and cheaply (but still profitably) for 50 years but in today’s mental market will attract unnecessary (artificial) costs like carbon taxes, will be (artificially) unable to efficiently generate base load power as it is designed to because you will be held in a waiting list whenever the unreliable subsidy miners are exercising their unpredictable first access to the grid while you still have to pay a fuel cost since you will be obliged to stand ready to make up the next shortfall as ‘spinning reserve’ while you’re not being paid to deliver electricity, then you will also have inner city nit-wits trying to block your planning approval with baseless but expensive lawfare, you of course will be required to guarantee the cost of future decommissioning is covered (and allow for the fact that in 50 years, requirements governing what constitutes ‘contaminated soil’ may be even more mental than today) and then you also run the risk of even greater (artificial) costs if, for example, a government like the one promised by Bill Shorten was voted into office.
      Canavan’s call for sanity is largely lost, especially on a platform like Q&A, because enough of the domestic audience (in particular, that section of the audience with the loudest mouths) is dogmatic in its faith that gullible warming is a crisis, or entrenched enough in ‘clean’ self interest, that requires other people to make sacrifices and to pay scuttage. They’ll be the same hypocrits who wail and gnash their teeth when they have to turn their air conditioners off to keep the grid from collapsing on a calm evening as their beloved unreliables stand idle but no reliable coal thermal or (desperately inefficient) gas turbines are in business to rescue them.
      There’s no sensible suggestion that coal has had its day, more an understanding that the case right now is one where demented government meddling in electricity markets has made coal generation temporarily, artificially unattractive to investors in Australia. So in the meantime, we dig up our coal, with the monetary help of investors, and export it at a profit to countries who weren’t stupid enough to start sipping the green Kool-aid and relying on unreliables, for example to the champions of ecological stewardship in China and India.

      • Excellent post.

        But Nick has almost certainly never managed a business -industrial or agricultural – in his life.

        Life is simple when your income is guaranteed…. using Other. People’s. Money.

    • “Australian governments have not taxed coal plants into the ground”
      The Andrews’ government increased the royalties on the Hazelwood power station by 300%.
      Power prices went through the roof.

    • Just wow! Nick, I want a pound of what you’re smoking.

      No black coal in Victoria, you say. I guess you already know about how much lignite Victoria has. Uneconomical is only a function of state royalty on that regard. However, deep under that huge resource of brown coal is an even bigger resource of black coal. It IS uneconomical to mine but will give up csg. In fact our only giant field in Bass Strait is a product of that black coal.

      The farmers would back csg and fracking if they got a share of the profits like they do in the US.

    • “…Victoria has no coal seam gas…”

      Then why the need to ban the exploration for it? Just blathering idiocy in your neck of the woods?

  3. The policy for manufacturing in Australia has been incoherent is the 1970’s under both sides of government and we managed to all but destroy it. Unless you can dig it up and export it then you are on a hiding to nothing. The only good part about our ongoing little spat with China is the public are beginning to see just how stupid a position we have put ourselves in.

  4. Mr. Stokes says “Victoria .. has virtually no black coal”. This is to imply that there is no coal resource there for generating electricity?

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Victoria

    Quoting from the above, “Brown coal is the main primary energy source for the generation of electricity in the state, accounting for about 85% of electricity generation in 2008”

    • Yep. Australia has vast deposits of coal, its just greens want everyone to pretend they don’t exist.

    • “Mr. Stokes says “Victoria .. has virtually no black coal”. “

      “Quoting from the above, “Brown coal …”

      Brown coal is not a useful source of coal seam gas.

      • The Chinese were experimenting with the old NAZI coal to gas process, built a substantial series of pilot plants last I heard.

        At $6 / Gj, you could throw away half the coal with Fisher-Tropsch, and still undercut $20 / Gj domestic Australian gas prices, if there was no government interference.

        • The Victorian SECV (Hermann Lab) looked extensively at that last century (I had some involvement via CSIRO). Just too much junk in the brown coal (starting with water).

          • “Nick Stokes June 2, 2020 at 12:51 am

            (I had some involvement via CSIRO).”

            That explains quite a bit about you.

          • Really Nick??

            I wouldn’t have thought even you would be far enough left to qualify for CSIRO placement.

          • “fred250 June 2, 2020 at 3:20 am”

            I work near the CSIRO office here in Redfern, Sydney, Aus. And I see people walking in to that building with not one ounce of concern about their “carbon footprint”. Plastics, electronics…not one wearing a hemp product, maybe smoking it possibly!

          • Fred…..
            When Nick talks about “some involvement”….. it probably means that he read their newsletters. If he was actually involved in the science and research side, he’d be skiting about it.

        • “No-one is spending money on exploring for coal seam gas in brown coal.. Right Nick”

          This is a discussion of an old resource assessment, and a couple of pilot wells. They ended the discussion with:

          “The same article reported the intention to put the wells on production to gauge water and gas rates. However, no further information regarding the planned wells, techniques used and water production is available.”

          Both the assessment, and it’s effective petering out are the norm. Nothing wrong with checking things out, and the lack of closure is also the norm. Economics change, tech moves forward, so they never say never and keep these on the shelf. But Nick remains correct, until you can find investment in an actual development drilling campaign..

  5. Sustainable sort of means stay the same.
    A lot of these policies are not sustainable they are leading us backwards.
    What Australia needs to do is go forward or thrive.
    We have abundance of resources such as coal, gas, iron ore, bauxite, uranium, thorium and others.
    We can do amazing things with this stuff instead of just selling it overseas.
    Examples includes
    Using NW natural gas to pump water from Ord River.
    Nuclear to power desalination plants or aluminium smelter.
    We can create competitive advantage in heavy industry.

  6. “Senator Matt Canavan just ripped into false claims about the international gas market on the ABC Q+A current affairs programme. But Canavan’s call for sanity is largely lost in the wilderness of Australia’s growing energy policy confusion”

    Energy policy should be based on rational availability, deliverability, operations, environmental impacts, and cost considerations and not on controlling the climate with the rate of fossil fuel emissions until it can be shown that the rate of warming is causally related to the rate of emissions. Pls see

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/05/18/12479/

  7. “We promised to enshrine our historic ban on fracking in the constitution …” Victorian premier Andrews.
    The constitution of Victoria has been changed many times in the past 166 years.
    The current parliament in Victoria can do that through legislation, under certain conditions, but a future parliament can similarly legislate a reversal.

    • How can it be a constitution, if all it takes to change it is an act of the legislature?

    • abc endlessly give these muppets airtime to say whatever they want
      they never get pulled up or asked to provide facts/data
      its exactly a psyops to make statements like that the sheeple hear and accept
      they dont read up they dont question they take some talking head as word from on high
      makes me so angry and embarrassed to have so many stupid people
      when I ask why they believe the newsreaders they just get this blank look but but why wouldnt I?
      facepalm

      • Absolutely. Even on Media Watch, Paul Barry turned ABC corruption into an infomercial. They call that balanced reporting? It may be better for the Government to stop funding the ABC altogether. We’re better off going to Sky News instead.

  8. Chaamjamal,
    Energy policy has to be based on knowledge of energy now available, energy that can become available and the competition for energy by other countries.
    There are many groups of experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the national and global mineral industries who are the most competent of all to outline optimum energy resources and their costs, advantages and drawbacks. It is the routine work of every day, producing more concentrated knowledge than a pollie can absorb in the midst of other business.
    Listen to those who know.
    If you do not understand the technicalities, ask.
    These professionals are without political agendas. Or at least, the large majority are. They will give you honest answers. Their salaries depend on good work and understanding.

    The problem comes from the interference of the ignorati. It is like protest in the USA last few nights, when the minority ignorati created lawless damage that the majority of Americans hate.

    Be very, very suspicious of minority energy policy people whose industry knowledge is absent. They have been proposing alternatives known to be useless since at least the 1970s.

    Listen to the industry professionals. I have yet to meet a professional engineer who says that windmills work better or cheaper than even brown coal plants for large grid electricity. Remember that such professionals gave Australia the best, cheapest, reliable energy in the world until about 2000, when pollies erred and listened to the leftist ignorati. They can do it again. Let them. Geoff S

    • Geoff,

      Very interesting isn’t it that when it comes to climate change one should only listen to ‘the experts’ and everyone without the ‘correct’ credentials is ignored/ridiculed/demonized etc. But when it comes to energy policy no one listens to the experts and any opinion no matter how wrong or illogical is accepted.

      But they leave it to the energy professionals to solve the problems created by policy incompetence nonetheless. Maybe the pro’s should stop being such nice guys and girls and just say no when tasked with yet another easily avoided problem and have the policy people sort out their own mess.

      #NotMe anyone?

      Stay sane,
      Willem

    • I wouldn’t take any notice of an ignorant far-left dolt like you , that’s for sure Loy.

      Basically everything you comment is the opposite of reality. !

      I imagine you might be able to sell shonky used cars to your far-leftist mates, though.

    • Another Loydo strawman argument … you still haven’t told us if you get paid to troll the forum?

    • In Loydo’s world, only those she agrees with count as experts.
      Beyond that, actually having knowledge of something disqualifies someone from speaking on that subject.

  9. we don’t want to get ourselves to a point where we’ve made a really big investment in wind AND SOLAR and then, in 10 or 15 years’ time, we have to spent it all over again to replace them with something that actually works.

    • Given the expected lifespan of wind and solar, in 10 to 15 years time, you are going to have to replace it anyway. Hopefully it will be with something that works. If the greenies are still in charge, it will be replaced by more wind and solar.

  10. Why don’t we set up an experiment. Isolate South Australia from the interconnector, disable all gas and coal fired energy and solely rely on solar and wind. See how long it lasts, what negative effects there are, and how long the people put up with the greenie BS before they riot.

    I don’t think this is an experiment that can be modeled. It has to be “real”, no model fairy tales allowed.

    Use that experiment to guide us in our quest for, and source of, energy. Do we want cheap reliable energy or do we want expensive unreliable energy?

    No sense making everyone else in the world suffer if one small experiment will tell us what we need to know in order to make an informed decision.

    And if the greenies really believed in what they are espousing, they would immediately move to South Australia. And those in South Australia who feel that there is a need for cheap reliable energy can move out.

    My only stipulation is that when the starving begins, no compassion should be shown until they’ve blown up every wind turbine and solar panel in the state.

  11. You do have to wonder what Australians think they’re going to do when they no longer have any industry.

    Make funny cat videos to sell advertising for each others’ funny cat videos?

  12. The interesting thing I find about the climate change movement is how it’s infiltrated the world economies very strategically creating a nightmare to destroy. The conservative parties,
    Media, religions, universities, big companies especially oil and gas and miners, institutional investors, schools, the public service, scientific institutions, the entertainment industry, the global institutions like the UN, the finance sector have climate change fanatics as leaders, presidents, CEOs, popes, and department heads . I have come to the conclusion that rather than this having happened by accident it has been somewhat choreographed from the start. I am gobsmacked when I hear the absolute ignorant commentaries that come from these community leaders . I have always felt a democracy would deliver the right outcomes for sceptics and we see instances where that works but you find that even conservative parties been infiltrated by warmists. Malcom Turnbull helped stuff things up in Australia with the help of the NSW liberals whilst Boris ‘s partner and ministers have gone The full Greta when it comes to climate change. There really is nowhere to turn to avoid the relentless pursuit of green agendas. Thank God for Donald Trump and we all need to pray the American people do the right thing in November.
    Matt Canarvan is a real beacon in the Australian parliament and at least there are a few fellow politicians Craig Kelly, Amanda Stoker, Malcolm Roberts who are vocal and passionate about climate change. So whilst the Libs Are way better than the others until they get out of Paris our energy policy will still be pretty useless.
    Whether coal is the base load energy source of choice or not until they remove all incentives for renewables our energy sector will be disastrous. Ironically new technology is not the answer because that technology is still driven by the assumption that we have to reduce emissions.
    Get rid of Paris and prosecute the case that there is zero correlation between CO2 and dangerous man made warming/ climate change. Only then can we return to being a low cost, reliable producer of energy.
    If we don’t manufacturing in Australia is doomed.

    • “The interesting thing I find about the climate change movement is how it’s infiltrated the world economies very strategically creating a nightmare to destroy.”

      It’s hardly a secret that ‘Climate Change’ is being used to destroy Western economies. Buying politicians to impose insane, destructive policies is much cheaper for our enemies than fighting a war would be.

    • I like to call what has happened a neo-socialist takeover. Matt’s call to withdraw from the Paris agreement is like a breath of fresh air coming out of a hall that is packed with neo-socialists who, like the communists before them, happily believe in a utopia of fairies.

    • I like to call what has happened a neo-socialist takeover. Matt’s call to withdraw from the Paris agreement is like a breath of fresh air when coming out of a hall that is packed with neo-socialists who, like the communists before them, happily believe in fairies.

  13. The last ones out of the “Agreement” are the hosts. The first ones out are the deep pocket targets of the “agreement” followed by the few, more rational types. The others will keep the “agreement” plaque on the back wall in case it has some diplomatic or monetary use when dusted off properly and straightened like the other adornments of “governments.”

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