On 2018/08/26 Mr Taylor became Australia's Energy Minister. Has there ever been, anywhere, a Minister for Energy so dishonestly biased against renewable energy? While Mr Taylor is Energy Minister how can any Australian have any pride in their nation?
I am proud to have known Blair Donaldson, who by his actions to promote the adoption of renewable energy could rightly be called a 'friend of future generations'. By his dishonest opposition to reducing emissions Angus Taylor could truly be called an enemy of future generations.
|Waterloo Wind Farm|
What do the Australian people want?A Lowy Institute poll carried out on 1,200 Australian adults on 2018/06/20 showed that 84% of Australians wanted the government to "focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable".
A poll of the people in Mr Taylor's electorate showed that almost twice as many wanted to see Australia decrease its emissions faster, rather than slower.
A poll carried out by a local newspaper concerning a proposed energy park (wind, solar, storage) near my house indicated 83% support for the project.
Plainly the Australian people want renewable energy, not more coal power.
Has there ever been a federal minister more out of touch with what the Australian people want, what is best for Australia and what the world needs?
A consortium has proposed the Asia Renewable Energy Hub in Western Australia's Pilbara to install 11 GW of wind and solar power and export electricity to Indonesia and possibly Singapore via undersea cables. They have secured funding from the Macquarie Group. The total value of the development is likely to be around Aus$20 billion.
As Parkinson wrote, "The scale of the project is enormous – equivalent to more than the entire capacity of large scale wind and solar projects being built for the national renewable energy target."
If Mr Taylor has anything to do with it he would probably stop the development because of his hatred for wind power.
By November 2019 billionaires Mike Canon-Brookes and Twiggy Forrest had invested millions of dollars in a renewable energy project of breathtaking proportions in the Tenant Creek area, that would cost a total of $20 billion. The 10 GW solar farm will be 45 times the size of Bungala (at the time the biggest in Australia?) and the 22 GWh battery will be 170 times the size of the Hornsdale battery, (at the time the biggest in Australia).
You might think that the Australian Federal Energy Minister would be praising both these projects, but I haven't heard him mention them.
I have written more on Australia's likelihood of missing economic opportunities because of Mr Taylor's prejudices elsewhere on this page.
In a piece in The Guardian, 2018/09/30, journalist Katherine Murphy states:
"... while there is evidence from market analysts and analysis from the government's energy bodies that renewables has led the price drop because of a big increase in supply contracted into the market courtesy of the renewable energy target, Taylor attributed the recent reductions to the government's intervention in the gas market, and regulatory reforms, including forcing retailers to be more transparent about their pricing."
And Origin EnergyIn a piece titled Origin says solar cheaper than coal, moving on from base-load in RenewEconomy, 2018/10/02, Giles Parkinson reported Greg Jarvis, the company's head of energy trading and operations as saying:
"I have been in this game for so long … the one thing I have seen is just the cost of renewables really change the game. It is amazing what we have been seeing."Giles Parkinson also wrote:
"Jarvis also made it clear that Origin Energy has moved on from thinking about new generation in terms of “base-load”, which stands in sharp contrast to current government thinking and the conservative commentariat."
And British Billionaire Sanjeev GuptaSanjeev Gupta, the man who saved Whyalla's steel works and is investing a billion dollars in renewable energy developments in Australia was reported by Sophie Vorrath on RenewEconomy, 2018/07/23, as saying "Renewables are cheaper than coal."; "It's obvious".
Mr Gupta is investing in renewables because he can see that is where the future of energy lies. If Mr Taylor was as canny as Mr Gupta and we using his own money rather than the taxpayers' money he would also be going with renewables rather than fossil fuels.
Mr Taylor's statement about wind power being "gobsmackingly inefficient" is obviously absurd
The Chinese installed 13 000MW (about 5000 wind turbines) in year 2012, the year in which Mr Taylor made his statement. For the ten years to 2012 the Chinese economy has grown by about 9 per cent per year. This suggests that the Chinese know what they are doing, but perhaps if the Chinese had our Angus Taylor to tell them how "gobsmackingly inefficient" wind turbines were they would manage a growth rate of 15 per cent per year? Angus, do
Unlike Mr Taylor, the people in charge of the Chinese economy believe that wind power is very efficient. (I've written about the efficiency of wind turbines elsewhere on these pages.)
Wind energy is recognised world-wide as being a highly viable form of renewable energy and it is growing exponentially. Mr Taylor is right in one thing; we should be looking at all the possible ways in which we might reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but perhaps Mr Taylor does not realise that most of the strategies he recommends are already being pursued. In his opposition to wind power he is out of touch with almost all those who want to reduce emissions.
PJM, the independent grid operator for all or parts of 13 US states produced a report that confirmed that wind energy is decreasing both the price of electricity and emissions of harmful pollutants. (See Into The Wind.) This totally contradicts Mr Taylor's stance on the 'inefficiency' and 'high cost' of wind power.
Mr Taylor's association with Alan Jones and the ignorant anti-wind power blog Stop These Things would be enough to make the more perceptive of the public sceptical of his utterances, but this is probably not the audience he is aiming at.
The Climate Change Performance Index for 2020 ranked Australia last of all 58 countries rated for climate policy. It was the only nation to receive a score of zero out of 100, the second lowest scoring nation, the USA, received a score of 2.8.
For more information I recommend Graham Readfearn's
article for the Guardian, 2019/12/31, 'Fact checking Angus Taylor: does Australia have a climate change record to be proud of?'.
As of the time of writing the question of who had produced the falsified figures, whether it was someone connected to Minister Taylor or not, had not been settled. Whether or not some criminality occurred in the minister's office the fact remains that Minister Taylor was naïve in the extreme to make the accusation with the lack of supporting evidence.
This weird accusation from Mr Taylor seems to be showing how desperate he is to attack those who are responsibly trying to reduce emissions while he is irresponsibly and criminally doing all he can to slow or stop emissions reductions and prop up the fossil fuel industry in general and the dying and deadly coal industry in particular.
New data out this week shows the wind farms powering the ACT's ambitious climate policy are reducing carbon pollution at one-third the cost of the government's Carbon Solutions Fund.
Mr Holmes à Court went on to write:
Back in April 2014, Angus Taylor, well into his anti-renewables crusade, held a media stunt on the top of Red Hill and disparaged the ACT's newly announced renewable energy target. "The simple numbers tell us that what is being proposed by the ACT government is three times more expensive than alternatives for generating electricity, and 10 times more expensive than alternatives for reducing carbon emissions," he said.Holmes à Court again:
We now know that wind energy has delivered carbon abatement for a fraction of the cost of alternatives, and local electricity costs remain among the cheapest in the country. True to form, Taylor's claims about renewables were very wrong. But maybe we should cut him some slack; it was April Fools' Day after all.Minister Taylor could hardly have got it more wrong! But then, I suppose he's quite used to that. The ACT looks like achieving its target of 100% net renewable energy by 2020 and, together with South Australia, shown the federal government, Australia and the rest of the world, what can be done if there is a will.
I've only quoted a small part of Simone Holmes à Court's article, it's worth reading in its entirety.
Not only must we reduce emissions by changing to renewable energy, the experience of the power supply changes over the last 15 years in South Australia shows that Australia can easily adopt a far greater proportion of renewables.
South Australia's record of importing and exporting power from Victoria is also telling. The state imported a lot of power from Victoria back in 2005 and 2006, and exported very little, in the period before it had much solar or wind power. There was another peak in the amount of imported power in the year following the closure of the state's last coal fired power stations. But over the year to the present SA has exported far more power, (10.5%) mainly generated by wind and solar, than it has imported (4.9%); and this trend has greatly strengthened during the year, in the month from 21st September 2019 the state exported 18.2% of its electricity and only imported 0.7%.
I would advise readers to ignore liars like Angus Taylor who claim that South Australia's level of renewable energy has led to problems, it can easily be shown that SA's change to renewable energy has been a huge success.
Solar power hazards much less common than claimed by TaylorThere have been a great many electricians and businesses involved in the installation of solar power in Australia; not surprisingly, a few of these have made mistakes, a few have been downright careless.
In late December 2018 Energy Minister Taylor implied that something like a quarter of the installs could pose an electrocution threat. Clean Energy Council chief Kane Thompson said that:
"the percentage of unsafe systems has declined this decade from 4.2 per cent to 2.7 per cent. This is better than the electrical industry as a whole."
Electricity prices and renewable energyIn a letter to the Editor of the Goulburn Times (published 2013/08/10) Mr Taylor wrote "The exorbitant costs of the RECs flows through to the cost of electricity, making it much higher for every electricity consumer in the nation."
A recent report from the Clean Energy Council gave a very different picture. The following was extracted from the CEC report:
Cherry picking is the selection of evidence that suits ones' prejudices, while ignoring all the evidence that is contrary. Wind power opponents often use cherry picking.
The overwhelming bulk of the evidence on land prices and wind farms tells us that the presence of a nearby wind farm has very little effect on land values. For example, the US Berkeley Laboratory analysed more than 50 000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine US states, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values. See Into The Wind, 2013/08/26.
The graphs on the right were created using data from propertyvalue.com.au by Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber (see here). Each is in an area where a wind farm has been built. The graphs clearly show that there are no long-term declines in land values associated with wind farms. I have produced similar graphs from South Australian property values (using realestate.com.au), but as they all show the same trend as Greg's graphs it seems superflous to display them here.
The Financial Review on 2013/10/14 published a piece on registered land valuer Peter Reardon who produced a report stating that land values can fall by 30% or even 60% due to nearby wind farms. Not surprisingly this report has been spread around by those who oppose wind power, including Mr Taylor. A critique of the study can be read on Renew Economy.
How were the properties chosen? We were not told.
What other factors might have been involved in the perceived values of the properties? Mr Reardon tells us that one of them, 'Cullerin' (lots 21, 22, 24 and 25, Hume Highway and Lerida Road), has the Hume Highway passing through it. This is probably the busiest interstate highway in Australia, with trucks going through at all hours of the day and the night. Certainly any sound from the wind farm would not be a problem, no-one would hear the turbines because of the traffic noise. Mr Reardon writes about the properties in the area being attractive to 'tree changers' and people looking for a country 'retreat'. Who would want a hobby farm within a few hundred metres of the noisiest highway in the nation?
Since the original writing of this piece further information has come to me via a third party and apparently from the new owner of the 'Cullerin'. It seems that it is bisected by not only one (as Reardon stated) but two high voltage power lines; not only is the highway passing through, but there are also two truck parking bays (so there would be trucks starting and stopping, with all the noise associated, at any time of the day and night) and 30% of the block has water-logging and drainage problems. Is it at all surprising that this block had a low market price?
Mr Taylor used Reardon's study in an article published in the Goulburn Post on 2013/10/21 as sufficient evidence to claim that:
Well, not actually in 'some cases' Mr Taylor, Mr Reardon's study claims a 60% lower value in one case (Taylers Creek Road). One of the three cases showed no change in value.
And what did Mr Taylor say about all the studies that show negligible negative impact on land prices? Nothing.
The graphs on the right were created using data from
by Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber (see
Each is in an area where a wind farm has been built.
The graphs clearly show that there are no long-term declines in land values
associated with wind farms.
"vowed to continue his campaign against 'the bad economics' of heavily subsidising wind energy developments, when there were 'far cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions'"Mr Taylor has made these statements before; they do not stand up to scrutiny.
Mr Taylor has listed 'changes in building practices', 'home solar water' and 'household energy efficiency' as some measures that are much cheaper options for reducing emissions than wind energy. It is quite true that these things should be pursued and they are being pursued, but they are not enough, and it is not easy for governments to make people or businesses save energy.
Mr Taylor is unable to specify any cheaper ways of reducing emissions that are both practical and are not already being pursued.
Are wind farms really subsidised? What about fossil fuels?Utility scale wind power is not generally subsidised but the operators do receive a bonus on the electricity that they produce. This adds about 1¢ to the price that consumers pay for each kilowatt-hour of electricity (typically around 25¢).
On the other hand, the highly polluting fossil fuel industry is heavily subsidised and is a major cause of climate change, ocean acidification and air pollution that kills millions of people each year, but this does not seem to concern Mr Taylor.
"Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have reached record highs in many sectors, continuing an upward trend that began in 2013, according to official Government figures released today.
Minister Taylor tried to find an excuseMinister Taylor tried to deflect attention from the increasing emissions by claiming that our liquified natural gas exports helped to reduce emissions overseas. In this claim he notably ignored the fact that "the biggest consumer of Australia’s LNG – Japan – is using it in place of emissions-free nuclear power." (The Guardian, 2019/07/09).
Let's look at Australia's fossil fuel exports and their effect on global emissions.
Coal exportsAccording to Wikipedia Australia exported 389 million tonnes of coal in 2016 (at the time of writing the most recent year in the Wikipedia article). Australia was at the time the biggest exporter of coal in the world. The carbon content of coal varies widely but when burned this 389 million tonnes of coal would result in well above 500 million tonnes, possibly as high as a billion tonnes, of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere each year.
By comparison Australia's direct carbon dioxide emissions are about 450 million tonnes per year.
Gas exportsIn November 2018 Australia overtook Qatar as the world's biggest liquified natural gas (LNG) exporter, sending off 6.5 million tonnes against Qatar's 6.2 million tonnes.
I've calculated elsewhere that burning 1 kg of natural gas results in 2.8 kg of CO2 going into the atmosphere. So when the 6.5 million tonnes of natural gas that Australia exports each year is burned it results in the release of 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
So looking at Australia's emissions Minister Taylor's wayAnnual average per capita carbon emissions for each person in the world is 4 tonnes. Annual average per capita carbon emissions within Australia is 18 tonnes (Wikipedia). Taking into consideration the amount of carbon Australia exports, as Minister Taylor wanted to do (if done honestly), Australia's per capita emissions become 39 tonnes each year, about ten times the global average.
Quoting from the article:
"Development of Australia's first offshore wind farm, which would power up to 1.2 million homes, has been stalled by Energy Minister Angus Taylor's failure to sign off on an exploration license allowing a detailed assessment of the wind resource to commence."It can be calculated that if the Star of the South was to be built it would result in about a five million tonnes per year reduction of greenhouse emissions.
ABC reporting on Senate EstimatesBeth Gibson wrote a piece for ABC Gippsland titled "Offshore wind farm continues to be delayed due to lack of federal policy, Senate Estimates hears".
Jo Evans, deputy secretary of Australia's Climate Change and Energy Innovation division, when asked by Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm: "whether the department had given the Energy Minister a recommendation on the proposal, indicated that the department had been briefed and that briefing contained a recommendation." Ms Evans also said that the department had received a number of public submissions about the proposal.
"These have not been made public yet because the decision is still pending consideration by the Minister," she said.
Stop These Things which specialises in name-calling, abuse, ad hominem (personal) attacks and has a blatant disregard for the truth, tells us quite a lot about Mr Taylor.
I have written about and linked to several independent assessments of Stop These Things elsewhere on this site.
If the author of STT was to make his (the behaviour is difficult to attribute to a woman) identity public he would be sued for a number of libellous statements that he has made.
It is often said, with considerable justification, that we are judged by the company we keep.
With much less time to prepare, a group of pro-renewable people organised a much more successful pro-wind, pro-renewables rally for the same time and the other side of Lake Burley-Griffin.
The Taylor-Jones-STT rally 'crowd' is shown in the photo at the right. As can be seen, a large proportion of those who attended were from the media. A part of the crowd at the pro-renewables rally, estimated at from 500 to 1000, is in the photo below.
On the day, there were far more people at the pro-renewable rally than at the anti-wind rally.
Alan Jones have liked to feed each other's taste for fantasy since at least the failed anti-wind power rally, mentioned above.
An article by Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy, dated 2018/09/05, shows that the relationship is still strong.
No doubt they are talking to people who are content to be fed anti-renewable power guff and are not concerned about fact.
Anyone involved in a business that used a significant amount of energy would probably not remain long in that business if they took seriously the rubbish talked by Jones and Taylor in these sessions.
Wikipedia, 2018/09/29, gives two apparently contradictory quotes from Mr Taylor (reminiscent of ex PM Abbott):
Morrison Australian federal government. Like the earlier coalition Abbott and Turnbull governments Taylor and the Morrison Government are badly out of touch with what the Australian people want. While Taylor is opposed to renewable energy the Australian people are strongly in favour of much more renewables. Minister Taylor plainly is opposed to action on climate change while the majority of Australians recognise that "global warming is a serious and pressing problem" and want action even at significant costs, only 10% believe that global warming is in doubt.
Some of Minister Taylor's lies
Minister Taylor continues to criticise South Australia's adoption of a high percentage of renewable energy in contradiction of the fact that it can be shown to be a great success.
If Taylor has his way Australia will miss out on developments that will follow on from the adoption of large amounts of renewable energy. I've discussed these opportunities in a section of a page about Australia's energy future. They include:
I have written about the potential for economic growth in the energy sector being in renewables rather than in fossil fuels
elsewhere on this page.
Fossil fuels, particularly
coal, are on the way out.
In late November, when asked about this, Minister Taylor tried to say that in fact Australia was doing very well in reducing emissions, siting the great increase in the amount of renewable energy over the last decade or so. This was the grossest hypocrisy. Mr Taylor has been an outspoken opponent of wind power, and in late 2018 the great majority of Australia's renewable energy is being generated by wind turbines. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison coalition governments have done all they can to criticise and slow the development of renewables at the same time as trying to force more coal power on the Australian people.
Minister Taylor, you can't at the same time, work your hardest for the adoption of more coal power and at the same time take credit for the development of renewable energy that happened in spite of your best efforts to stop it happening.
"Federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor and a key government department [Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources] have both refused to release the findings of an ‘expert panel’ into emissions reductions policy that will likely shape the Morrison government’s climate and energy policies."It would seem that Minister Taylor wanted to keep the findings of the expert panel away from the public because they didn't suit his hopes.
At the time it was very clear that the market for hydrogen would be for sustainably produced hydrogen, such as that generated electrolytically powered by renewable energy, green-hydrogen, not 'brown-hydrogen' produced by burning more coal. The world is moving away from fossil fuels, it has to. Most governments and businesses want to shift to sustainability, their customers demand it. There will be no market for hydrogen produced by burning ever more fossil fuels.
If the Morrison government wanted to look after the workers in the dying coal industry they would do better to try to help them retrain for the plentiful jobs that will be in the renewable energy industries.
This is yet another move from the Morrison government that will be condemned by the progressive world.
There should also be a new law or laws, detailing crimes against the biosphere.
It has been reported that the following was on the Crookwell Conversation Facebook page, although I have been unable to confirm it:
"Mr Taylor has a personal interest in wind power as the wind industry were once circling the Taylor family property at Nimmitabel. The family refused an invitation to host wind turbines."There are few people as opposed to wind turbines as those who see their neighbours doing very well financially by hosting wind turbines, while themselves missing out. It is envy.
Mr Taylor should be careful to declare his interests when discussing things like fossil fuels versus renewable energy.
External pagesMinister Taylor was awarded the 2019 ABC Fact Check Golden Zombie Award for a "debunked claim which refuses to die". 2019/12/19.
ARENA: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
The Australia Institute
Canberra Times, Nicholas Stuart's take on Angus Taylor, 2019/07/17. Mr Stuart wrote that Taylor "needs to find a way to resolve this conflict between ideas he seemingly believes in and the politically sensible option." I would suggest that he needs to find a way to resolve the conflict between ideas he seeming believes in and the ethically imperitive option.
CEFC: Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
"Coal is no longer cheaper – and we'll prove it": Sanjeev Gupta, the British billionaire who saved the Whyalla steel industry knows that the future lies with renewables.
Renew Economy: Can Angus Taylor stop the renewables and storage revolution?
Angus Taylor signals further taxpayer investment in existing coal and gas; The Guardian, 2018/09/30.
On this site
End of coal: why the coal industry has a very limited future.
Ethics: a subject that Mr Taylor would do well to learn about.
Greatest crime in the history of humanity
Greenhouse/climate change: the greatest threat currently facing mankind
Ignorance, the problem and prevalence of
Killer coal: how the burning of coal kills millions of people world-wide each year
Selfishness or altruism?: self or all?
Stop These Things; a very dishonest anti-wind power Web site admired by, and contributed to by, Mr Taylor
Wind power lies; Mr Taylor features strongly
Wind power opposition: almost universally dishonest.
Climate skeptic? Or not?
Coal-to-hydrogen backed by Minister Taylor
Emissions and Minister Taylor
Failed anti-wind farm rally
Fantasy Land shared with Alan Jones
Foolish, rash, desperate, or all three?
Freedom of Information request
Have his cake and eat it too.
Lie of gobsmacking proportions
Misrepresented of the reasons for electricity price reductions
Missing economic opportunities
Mr Taylor's background
Offshore wind farm held up by Minister Taylor
Out of touch
Peter Reardon's 'study'
Potential for economic growth is in renewables
South Australia shows Taylor to be wrong
Stop These Things and Mr Taylor
Subsidies? Cheaper ways of reducing carbon emissions?
Warren Buffett's $1B wind purchase