Thursday, November 17, 2011

Downunder: The truth will out on Labor's carbon scam

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government's clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.
On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been "directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price."

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

"Beat the Carbon Tax - Buy Now" or "Buy now before the carbon tax bites" are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, "you should be very cautious about making these types of claims".

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that "choose to link your price increases to a carbon price".

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you've raised prices because "the overall cost of running (your) business has increased".

It's all very Orwellian: the tax whose name cannot be spoken. We are already paying for the climate-change hysteria that has gripped Australia for a decade. Replacing even a portion of our cheap, coal-fired power with renewable energy is hellishly expensive. It also requires costly adaptation of existing infrastructure.

That's a big reason why electricity prices have hit the roof already. So when we accelerate the process with the carbon tax, the pain will escalate. That's the whole point of carbon pricing. A record number of households have had their electricity disconnected because they can't pay their power bills.

Household energy costs are estimated to have risen 17 per cent since July, with the result that the ranks of the energy poor are swelling.

In NSW, the Energy and Water Ombudsman has reported an 18 per cent increase in complaints from people whose electricity has been disconnected.

Then there are all the little immeasurables. For instance, last winter the price of Lebanese cucumbers in NSW skyrocketed because soaring energy costs forced the biggest grower to shut off heat lamps in some of his growing sheds. Result: fewer cucumbers - so prices rose to meet demand.

But no matter how Orwellian the tactics, no matter how many carbon cops are sent into hairdressing salons to interrogate barbers on the precise nature of their price rises, the truth remains: Australia has gone out on a limb, imposing a carbon tax that will send businesses to the wall, cause undue hard-

ship to families, and tether Australians more tightly to government handouts.

And soon, we will send billions of dollars overseas to buy useless pieces of paper called carbon credits. Invest-ment bankers, lawyers and carbon traders will get rich, as will all the usual spivs and scam artists ready to stick a bucket under the government spigot raining taxpayer cash.

It doesn't matter how many fairy stories the Greens tell about how the carbon tax will "save" the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu. Or how many gullible people believe hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are the result of man-made global warming. Eventually, the truth will out.

Even the International Panel on Climate Change, whose bureaucrat-written summaries cherrypick the most alarming scientific forecasts, is holding back in the face of runaway alarmist rhetoric from politicians.

In fact, leaked draft copies of the IPCC's latest special report into "Extreme Events and Disasters" reveal declining scientific certainty about the threat of human-produced greenhouse gases.

"There are a lot more unknowns than knowns," says BBC environment correspondent Richard Black.

The rising toll of extreme weather events cannot be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Black, who has seen the draft.

"Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability," says the IPCC report. In other words, the effect of human-produced greenhouse gas on the climate is insignificant when compared to natural climate change.

Since he's dropped in for 26 hours, US President Barack Obama could explain to his new best friend Julia Gillard why he decided not to impose a carbon tax on his ailing economy. Or why Canada has prudently ruled out a carbon scheme, and New Zealand is scaling its back and China and India continue to sit on their hands. Durban will be fun.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reply to a comment

The Microfit program in Ontario is pretty well on track-
In terms of feasibility, those people that have optimal sun exposure can definitely MAKE money at todays low interest rates. We pay an average of 19 cents per kwh. If the government wants to PAY us a guaranteed rate of 80 cents for 20 years, the initial investment could very well pay for itself well within that time frame... the rest is gravy.

Why should the power consumers provide that gravy?

If more people used solar panels that provided energy back to the grid, the huge benefit to society, and the world, would be a MUCH lower carbon footprint and LESS need for new fossil fuel generating stations or even nuclear power plants. And that is a VERY GOOD thing.

First, solar microFIT is NOT providing net energy to the grid. Over the course of the year, a home uses more power than the panels can provide. So what we are in essence doing is paying people a huge amount of money to get off the grid. Second, in Ontario we are producing MORE CO2 because of solar and wind. This is because coal fired plants will NEVER be replaced by wind and solar, and wind and solar require natural gas fired generation as backup when there is no wind and no sun. So Ontario is relying MORE on fossil fuels because of wind and solar. Besides, more CO2 is not causing any harm to the enviroment, in spite of the scare mongering by the AGW faithful.

I only wish that all countries had generous microfit programs and that they continued them from year to year and not just according to the whims of different political parties.

And put people into fuel poverty? Explain how that is benificial.

Of course, the MAIN thing to encourage is geo-exchange heating and cooling. At a 400% efficiency rating and eliminating the need for fossil fuels to heat our buildings (plus is cools at double the efficiency of regular air conditioners)this in itself would give the economy and the environment the biggest bang for the buck.These systems run on a small amount of electricity, and this electricity requirement can easily be covered by the power generated by about a 10kw solar setup with lots left over (for the average household) to meet the rest of electrical demand. Sorry Richard, you're not right on this one.

I did exactly that. I spend $30,000 putting in a geoexchange system when NG price was 14c and looked to go higher. Now I spend MORE per month to cool and heat my home because of power increases than if I stayed on NG which is now 4c. Yes, geoexchange is superior, but only if power rates make it so. With power going up in price geoexchange is becoming too expensive to opperate.

At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy Boondoggle

At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy Boondoggle

The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away –-Famous green proverb

Ministers have been accused of destroying 25,000 jobs and "bankrupting a whole industry", after the Government unveiled plans to slash subsidies for green energy. Hundreds of solar companies are likely to go bust by Christmas after the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed it is looking to halve subsidies for new panels. --Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2011

The row over solar subsidies is the latest manifestation of a long and fierce battle within the government between Chris Huhne's DECC and George Osborne's Treasury over the role of green growth in the UK's economic recovery, made especially pointed by soaring home energy bills. "We may be out of touch with the solar lobby, but we are not out of touch with energy bills," Barker told parliament on Monday. --Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 31 October 2011

At a time when household savers are struggling to get a 0.5 per cent return on an instant access saving account, some of these renewable energy subsidies – paid in the form of generous payments for the electricity produced, so called feed-in tariffs (FITs) - are guaranteeing annual returns of 10 per cent. It’s one of the biggest wealth transfers – from millions of ordinary hard-working tax payers to a few hundred of the hugely wealthy – in British history. It’s staggeringly unfair and, in the growing opinion of many, totally pointless. --Benny Peiser, Daily Mail, 9 June 2011

The right hon. Lady says that we are out of touch. We may be out of touch with the solar lobby, but we are not out of touch with energy bill payers. She says that they are groaning under a £175 increase, but she wants to put that up. If we did not act now, consumers would face massive increases in energy bills. –-Gregory Barker, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons, 31 October 2011

Silicon Valley's green geek scenario, which we can date at around 2005-2009 is now gurgling down the WC pan of history. Its elitist and totally unreal notions of extreme high priced electric cars for Nice People Saving the Planet, and designer Low Energy homes for the same Nice People, and nobody else, has gone down the tube. --Andrew McKillop, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2011

Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial Department of Energy program. The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra -- a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee -- also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create "green energy" jobs. –Reuters, 31 October 2011

Here’s the kicker: Market-driven energy choices are cutting more tons of CO2 in the U.S. than have been cut by wind and solar—even with their billions of dollars in subsidies. Natural gas-fired electricity generation has grown from 15.8 percent of America’s power generation in 2000 to 24.1 percent in the most recent 12-month tally from the Energy Information Administration. That 8.3 percent increase is enough to cut 120 million metric tons of CO2 per year compared to coal. Over the same span, wind- and solar-generated power grew to 2.75 percent of total power generation. That would cut CO2 by 108 million metric tons per year compared to coal power. So over the past decade, hugely subsidized wind and solar have done less to cut CO2 emissions than market-driven natural gas production. –-David Kreutzer, The Foundry, 25 October 2011

In Britain, once in the vanguard of action on climate change, the government is scaling back its green energy investment... Nobody expects a UN climate deal in Durban this year — nor next year, nor the year after. But meanwhile the coal keeps burning. Global production is set to rise by 35 percent in the coming decade, according to industry analysts. The cheapest, most abundant and dirtiest of all the fossil fuels is extending its grip on the world's energy supply system. And nowhere more so than just up the coast from Durban. --Fred Pearce, The Guardian, 31 October 2011

We have to put shale in the context of other energy sources in order to convey a comparative analysis of the environmental impact. People forget the environmental costs of coal mining or oil exploration; nuclear also has its own risks. Natural gas is a form of energy that falls into the low risk category. Can the green lobby win the shale debate over environmental objections? I don’t think it can. Ten or 20 years ago it could have won when governments were willing to burn billions, but the economic climate has changed, we’re facing the biggest crisis in decades. No government in the world would give up this opportunity, not even the British government, which is very green indeed. --Benny Peiser, Natural Gas Europe, 25 October 2011

UK Government Bankrupts Solar Industry

Ministers have been accused of destroying 25,000 jobs and "bankrupting a whole industry", after the Government unveiled plans to slash subsidies for green energy. Hundreds of solar companies are likely to go bust by Christmas after the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed it is looking to halve subsidies for new panels.

Greg Barker, minister for climate change, said the "feed-in tariff" subsidies are currently too generous, because the cost of installing solar panels has fallen.

The proposed cuts, due to come into force from December, will see the amount earned from each panel fall from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar power to 21p. This will save energy customers around £23 a year - or £700m in total - because the subsidies are funded through electricity bills.

However, the industry warned that many home owners and companies may immediately back away from the flagship scheme because it wouldn now take up to 25 years to earn back their investments.

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: "The installation rate is likely to fall drastically, and many of the 25,000 newly-employed in this industry may end up joining the dole queue."

The announcement also came on the same day as Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled plans to spend £950 million on creating 37,000 new jobs and safeguarding thousands of others.

But Daniel Green, chief executive of Home Sun, a solar company, accused the Prime Minister of betraying his trust after giving him two personal assurances of his support for the growing solar industry.

"They have effectively bankrupted thousands of companies, including 25,000 jobs," he said. "Most of them will be gone before Christmas. We built a business on the back of David Cameron's promises. He has betrayed us twice. Anybody thinking of investing in government-sponsored green opportunities, I would advise them to run away.

"All my business will stop with immediate effect if this goes through. It's an extremely black day."

A coalition of business groups and charities is considering whether to launch a judicial review against the Government's proposals, which are now subject to consultation.

Howard Johns, of the Cut Don’t Kill campaign in support of solar power, said: “Such deep cuts to the tariff would kill the UK solar industry stone dead. We are happy to accept some cuts, but the Government must recognise that wiping out 4,000 companies and 25,000 jobs by cutting too deeply would be an appalling waste of economic potential."

However, the Government insisted that the cuts to subsidies had been needed as companies were making too high a return on the panels. Greg Barker, climate change minister, said the cost of a solar panel had fallen from £13,000 to £9,000 since the scheme started up.

He added: "Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it won’t come as a surprise to many in the solar industry who’ve themselves acknowledged the big fall in costs and the big increase in their rate of return over the past year.


Looks like the Ontario Government is looking to do the same:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cost of green energy 40% higher than government estimates: new study

TORONTO — Ontario residents could end up paying some of the highest costs for electricity in the developing world because providing wind and solar energy will cost about 40 per cent more than government estimates, according to a new study.

Ratepayers should expect their electricity bills to rise by 65 per cent by 2015 and 141 per cent by 2030 — substantially more than current government predictions of 46 per cent and 100 per cent, the study found.

The average residential user’s annual bill, which currently stands at $1,700, will exceed $2,800 by 2015 and be over $4,100 by 2030, it predicts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Outrage at 733 per cent rise in energy companies’ profits

From the UK, unfortunate for them, but a great model for us to avoid:

The Big Lie About the ‘Big 6′

In spite of their having campaigned tirelessly over the last few decades for more expensive and less efficient forms of energy production — ‘sustainable energy’ — many of a greenish hue are getting heated up about about UK energy market regulator OFGEM’s latest report. The Left Foot Forward blog reports,

Outrage at 733 per cent rise in energy companies’ profits

There was anger today at the news this morning that energy companies’profits had soared eight-fold from £15 to £125 per customer per year.Friends of the Earth said it was “outrageous” the energy fat cats were raking in the profits while people face “rocketing” bills and “shiver in cold homes”.

As discussed here recently, it’s just a bit rich that FoE are complaining about rising energy prices. Few organisations have done more to make using energy more difficult for poorer people in the UK than FoE.

Rising bills and increasing levels of ‘fuel poverty’ have embarrassed the UK government. And perhaps for the first time, the UK public is finding itself exposed to the realities of climate change policies. In other words, climate change policies just got political. They are now part of people’s daily lives, exactly as the green NGOs wanted. Now everybody has to think before they turn their lights and heating on. Everybody is now forced to think of ways to cut their fuel consumption. And as a consequence, Quangos, NGOs, government departments, and their ministers past and present are trying to distance themselves from those consequences, by pretending to champion the interests of the consumer. “It wasn’t us”, they scream.