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Power price rises in Australia and renewable energy

Power prices have risen steeply in South Australia and this has been widely blamed on the fact that SA has had by far the greatest growth in new renewable energy of any Australian state, particularly wind power.

In fact, SA had high power prices before developing most of its wind power, and SA's power prices have risen substantially less in the period from 2006 to 2016, when most of the state's wind farms were built, than they did in the predominantly coal-powered eastern mainland states.

This page was written 2017/08/27
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
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Boco Rock Wind Farm, NSW
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Photo taken by my drone
Electricity costs
Table credit: Household Energy Costs in Australia 2006 to 2016, Ben Phillips, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, February 2017.
Ben Phillips of the Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods in February 2017 wrote a research note titled "Household Energy Costs in Australia 2006 to 2016". The note was available for download as a pdf file, but for some reason is no longer. Table 2 in the note (reproduced below right) showed that while real growth in expenditure on power grew by 49% in South Australia in the period from 2006 to 2016 (during which most of that state's wind farms were built), the corresponding figures for NSW, Victoria and Queensland were 66%, 73% and 87%, respectively. It is significant that the only state that built no wind power in that period, Queensland, had the greatest rise in expenditure on power.

In fact, South Australia's adoption of renewable energy has been a great success, contrary to the lies from the coal lobby.

Also of significance is the situation in the Australian Capital Territory, which has a target of 100% renewable energy by 2020. Growth in expenditure on electricity there in the 2006-2016 period was only 34%.

So the evidence is exactly opposite the claim of those opposed to renewable energy; power prices have risen least where there has been strong growth in renewables and most where there has been little renewables development.

When you point out these facts to a renewable energy detractor he/she is likely to respond with "but wind power is subsidised". They like to ignore the fact that fossil fuels are hugely subsidised, not least in being allowed to dump their polluting wastes into our atmosphere at no cost to the fossil fuel industries but huge cost to our, and our children's, planet.

Explain this to the renewable energy opponent and, as likely as not, he/she will then deny the reality of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change and ocean acidification; opposition to renewable energy often goes together with denial of climate science.

I have written more on the cost of wind power on another page on this site.

Related pages on this site

Climate change
Why accept climate science?
Many reasons to believe that the coal industry is in terminal decline
End of coal: the coal industry has no future
Killer coal; coal kills millions of people world-wide each year
Wind power in Australia
Wind power in South Australia
SA's success in adopting renewables
How should Australia generate its electricity?
Why use nuclear power?
The Turnbull government
The Liberal Party's war on renewables
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