We inexorably beginning the decent into an era of darkness, a time when our expectations of being able to simply throw a light switch and have a room illuminated begins to wan. With Hazelwood power station now closed and a significant component of our previously cheap and reliable electricity supply gone and Yallourn as well as others also facing the chopping block, electricity costs will continue to rise and reliability will continue to fall. We managed to miss a bullet last year by not having major blackouts, with South Australia not being so lucky, but our time will come soon enough. The rush to renewables at all cost, or damn the costs as it seems to be, will mean that the days of cheap, plentiful and reliable electricity will become a distant memory. When children in the future ask what their parents used for lighting before candles, the answer will be electricity. Grandparents will tell incredulous stories of light appearing through invisible forces.
In our township, local letters to the media always seem to be claiming the need for more ‘climate change’ action, though I have no idea whether it’s just a very vocal minority making all the noise or an indication of a wider concern. Certainly people I come across on a regular basis don’t exhibit climate change fear and simply consider it a fuss about natural events over which we have absolutely no control. I often suspect that many of the very recent ‘tree changers’ from Melbourne suburbs have increased the number of warming worriers, given that it’s increasingly the metropolitan dwellers that appear to have become infected by the propaganda of fear pushed by the media. When we have a record early snow season, despite warnings that it will never snow again, it’s somewhat difficult to think that the planet is experiencing catastrophic global warming. Nonetheless, there are those who live in daily fear of roasting alive whenever they venture onto the streets and push for all manner of renewable energy so that Australia can turn off the heating switch.
The onslaught against the internal combustion engine (ICE) continues apace in Europe, with a grand plan to replace them all with electric motors by 2040 to save the planet. So not to be left out, Australia now has its own evangelists shouting from the pulpits that Australia must follow suite, if not lead the way (as always). Australia’s Greens were the first to announce a plan to end the use and export of coal, as well as the sale of all ICE powered vehicles by 2030. Now the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) of NSW has called for the abolition of all ICE powered vehicles as early as 2025. And following quickly on their heels is the ALP who want to impose a slightly watered down version by 2030. I’m not sure where this 2030 date came from, but we are apparently lagging the rest of the world in this endeavour to return to the 1800s and only immediate and severe action will save us all.
As we slowly risk becoming de-industrialised as effective, efficient and cheap energy sources are supplanted with the complete opposite, we now have to deal with an energy market that treats every customer with utter disdain. Energy providers are like banks, where they assume that existing customers will simply remain as customers because it’s too difficult to go looking for change. In many cases that may well be true, especially with the way banks provide information and when you’re often committed to credit card accounts, loans etc where to change means having to amend numerous payment accounts and experience other difficulties. Even the regular credit card replacement involves some angst as you sort through the necessary changes. When it comes to utilities, it’s a ‘little’ easier as you’re only transferring from one supplier to another and not changing your bank account, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless.
Living where we do and having only electricity connected, the price of which keeps rising insatiably, I get very frustrated when reading about all the supposed benefits of renewable energy, which never seem to eventuate. Once upon a time Australia had the cheapest energy in the world, but then things changed. For several decades now, we have heard how renewable energy is (or will shortly be) competitive with or even cheaper than traditional energy sources such as coal, gas or hydro, but we never see any tangible evidence of this happening. But what we do see are ever increasing power bills as cost effective sources of power disappear. Every year more wind and solar installations are approved, sustainable only due to taxpayer subsidies, yet no one seems willing to say enough is enough and that it’s time to exist without subsidies or admit that it’s not cost-effective and simply a boondoggle.
Across Australia (and indeed across the world), there has been a movement fighting the establishment and development of various forms of mining and energy production, including what’s known as ‘fracking’, which is a form of mining for oil and gas. It’s been a very strong movement in Gippsland in recent years, with a moratorium placed on any such mining for the time being by the state government, which has not reduced the feelings within the communities in Gippsland. Signs are on properties everywhere.