The reality of our energy supply and price crisis is slowly dawning on the Liberals.
Along with inflation and the high cost of housing, energy prices complete the trifecta of economic pain our politicians have unnecessarily inflicted on Australian families.
In last night’s Budget in reply speech, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton seemingly pulled back from what he called the “rush to renewables”, something both sides of politics have pushed relentlessly to the detriment of electricity and gas bills.
Despite nine years of Coalition government contributing to the crisis by backing unrealistic net zero goals and prematurely dismantling giant coal-fired power stations with no adequate back-up electricity, Dutton changed tack and backed nuclear energy over unreliable windmills and solar panels.
Family First welcomes the Liberals’ adoption of Family First policy in support of nuclear energy and a more realistic assessment of Australia’s dire energy situation.
Dutton signalled that it was unrealistic to construct the poles and wires to service windmills and solar panels necessary to reach energy minister Chris “blackout” Bowen’s targets.’
This is despite the fact the Liberals oversaw massive subsidies for renewables.
It’s worth quoting Dutton at length:
“Labor’s push for 82 per cent renewables by 2030 comes without a plan to ensure reliable baseload power.
“Its policy will see hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars spent on rolling-out poles and high transmission wires in towns and suburbs.
“Labor is misleading Australians when it says it can roll-out billions of dollars’ worth of transmission wires, cables and towers for renewable energy in the next few years.
“Regional communities and farms will be carpeted with up to 28,000 kilometres of new high voltage transmission lines.
“That’s almost the entire coastline of mainland Australia.
“Or the distance of travelling from Melbourne to Perth and back four times.
“Every dollar spent on new transmission lines will be paid for by consumers through higher electricity bills.”
Since Family First was reborn last year, the party has been calling for a proper engineering and economic analysis of the cost of renewables.
Despite Liberal State and federal governments pushing renewables over the past nine years, it was good to Dutton acknowledge that the technology does not exist to provide “firm” electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and sun doesn’t shine.
“The technology doesn’t yet exist at the scale that is needed to store renewable energy for electricity to be reliable at night, or during peak periods,” Dutton said.
“And the best batteries in the world today – like the Victorian Big Battery – provide only 30 minutes of power at full discharge.
“That is just the scientific reality.
“‘Firming-up’ means using coal, gas, hydro, hydrogen, nuclear or batteries as an energy source or to store power when renewables aren’t feeding the system.”
Some of us have been saying this for years but the major parties have not been listening.
Last night will go down as a moment in Australia’s political history where the Liberals began to slowly walk back the expensive path they helped take Australian households on over the past decade.