Australians Count Cost of Wind & Solar ‘Transition’: Power Prices Jump 25-30%

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Following the closure of another coal-fired power plant, Australians have just been told their power bills will jump by 25 to 30% come July. That colossal hike follows annual, double-digit increases every year, for the best part of a decade (see above).

$60 billion in subsidies (so far) to chaotically intermittent wind and solar was designed to wreck our conventional coal-fired power generation fleet and, true to purpose, that’s exactly what happened.

One of the recent victims was Liddell – a perfectly operable 2,000 MW coal-fired power plant in NSW was shut down earlier this month. Predictably enough, wholesale power prices jumped 80%, almost overnight.

Now, Australians are facing the reality of attempting to run on sunshine and breezes. The delusional lunatics in charge are only making matters worse. And this in a Country blessed with abundant coal, gas and uranium reserves – which it merrily exports but refuses to use.

Here are a couple of laments from The Australian and The Advertiser.

Soaring cost of power bills a shocker for small business
The Australian
Colin Packham and Charlie Peel
26 May 2023

Australia faces a new cost-of-­living shock, with electricity prices set to soar by up to 29 per cent in a fresh hit for small business, as corporate chiefs demand Anthony Albanese wind back energy market interventions to avoid ­crippling power shortages in coming years.

As households grapple with a string of interest rate hikes and soaring inflation, the nation’s energy regulator said a steep bill hike would land from July 1, despite the government’s efforts to calm markets through a series of emergency interventions.

Households face rises of up to 25 per cent for their power bills while small businesses could face a slug of up to 29 per cent, ­sparking warnings that employers face a choice of paying bills or hiring staff.

The power price increase from July will add to future inflation figures, putting pressure on the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates.

The RBA this month said energy prices would add a quarter of a percentage point to headline inflation in the 2023-24 financial year.

The spike in energy bills will intensify pressure on the government, which has blamed a global energy crunch for soaring electricity prices. Labor has proposed a two-year extension of a $12-a-­gigajoule price cap on gas but the industry said ongoing intervention in the sector might crush the development of new supplies.

Australia’s east coast faces gas shortages every winter until 2026 on the back of last year’s shutdown of the national power market in an attempt to ease an electricity crunch.

Traders said wholesale prices had edged back in recent weeks amid unseasonable weather and a supply crunch following outages and the retirement of AGL Energy’s coal power plant.

Higher wholesale prices now will feed into price increases from July 1, 2024. One senior energy trader said: “The government was out there patting itself on the back earlier this year, and now wholesale electricity futures are near the peaks of last year. We haven’t reached winter yet.”

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief ­executive Andrew McKellar said small businesses were already struggling to survive before the regulator’s shock electricity price figures were released.

“We are now hearing of small businesses that are having to choose between paying their power bills and hiring more people – this is a totally unsustainable situation,” Mr McKellar said.

While some of the increased costs could be passed on to customers, Mr McKellar said small businesses would be unable to maintain their competitiveness as he called on the government to find a solution. …
The Australian

SA default market offer power bills to rise by more than $500 for households, more for businesses
The Australian
Ellen Ransley and Miles Kemp
25 May 2023

Households will battle huge electricity bill increases next year, but many will be saved by a $500 rebate from state and federal government.

The federal government electricity watchdog has approved a huge bill hike, sparking fears some will be forced to choose between food and heating their homes.

From July 1, around 140,000 customers will pay up to 23.9 per cent more for households – $512 – and up to 28.9 per cent more, or $1310, more for businesses.

Directly affected by Thursday’s decision will be about 62,000 households, who will pay on average up to $2789 for the 2023/24 year and 14,000 businesses, on track to pay on average up to $5849.

The price rise announced on Thursday by the Australian Energy Regulator applies to the “default market offer” – and is set as the maximum cost that can be charged in a safety net system for those not shopping around on the open market.

Another 65,000 customers in a similar state scheme are likely to follow within a week.

But the flow-on effect is expected to hit all electricity users, the decision described by Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis as a “savage blow” by the regulator.

“No city was spared and families across the county are suffering from an unprecedented increase,’’ he said.

Softening the blow will be a $500 rebate for 420,000 SA households, around half, with part payments starting after July 1.

SA Council of Social Service CEO Ross Womersley said people were already “at breaking point”.

“We know people are going without food and medicines to pay the bills and try to keep a roof over their heads,” he said.

Households that use an average of 4,011 kWh, will be hit by an increase of $439, to $2279, or 23.9 per cent

Households that can save by turning off appliances at peak times also use more power on average, so they face an average bill increase of $512, to $2787, or 22.5 per cent.

Businesses will also be hard hit, with a $1,310 increase to $5849, or 28.9 per cent.

St Vincent de Paul Society spokesman Gavin Dufty warned the vast majority of people who had switched to market offers would not escape.

“The government-controlled offer does indicate that electricity prices for those on market offers will have either already gone up, or will soon go up, depending on what contract households are on,’’ he said.

“But for those who are on the (controlled) default market offer, moving to a market offer can still save you in the order of $400 each year.”

The default market offer system was established to protect the vulnerable when companies were first allowed to poach each other’s customers.

It is now cheaper to switch to a contested market offer from electricity retailers operating in SA.

The AER regulates prices for New South Wales, South Australia and southeast Queensland, and this year SA has the biggest price increase for businesses.

For those wanting to switch, Canstar currently ranks the cheapest market offer providers in SA as: EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy, Simply Energy, AGL and then Alinta Energy.

Owner of KC Leather in Topham Mall, Emanuel Karakulak, said electricity bills were a constant problem for business owners.

“We will make changes like energy-saving lights, and soft-start airconditioning, but then the money you save gets taken away again when the bills go up,’’ he said.

The announced hikes could have been far worse, but federal government intervention saved users from increases of between 35 to 50 per cent.

In December it granted eligible households the $500 rebate and for businesses $650.

AER chair Clare Savage said it had been a “difficult decision” but that high wholesale energy costs continued to drive up retail prices.

Opposition energy spokesman Stephen Patterson said the increases were alarming.

“South Australians are living through a cost of living crisis and today’s price hikes will mean families and businesses will be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for electricity,” he said.
The Advertiser

Rising electricity prices expose the high cost of wind and solar
The Australian
Terry McCrann
25 May 2023

Phew. Thank goodness for all that ‘free’ wind and solar electricity flowing into the grid – keeping price rises down to just 20-25 per cent for this coming year.

Who knows what price rises would have been if we’d stuck with all that black and brown coal? Try, minus – to stress, that’s minus – around 75 per cent.

For the last few years, the madness in the deliberate destruction of our electricity system has been like the boiling frog exercise.

Prices have gone up relentlessly every year as we shut down and blew up the stations that delivered plentiful, reliable and cheap electricity; and we’ve sort of absorbed and adjusted to the ‘rising temperature’.

But in the last year – and now, also, prospectively for the year to come – prices are ratcheting up dramatically. Suddenly the ‘hot water’ has become decidedly noticeable and even more ‘uncomfortable’ for 26m ‘frogs’. Do you think; do you really thunk, that there might be some – I dunno – vague connection?

That all this supposedly ‘free’ electricity not only ain’t free at all, but is indeed pretty damn expensive?

With anyone with a functioning brain – there’s a very, very long list of those, headed by our national twerp-in-chief Chris Bowen, that clearly don’t – it is not and quite simply can’t be ‘free’.

At the most basic, the wind doesn’t turn into power behind that switch in your home; the sun doesn’t shine directly into your appliances.

You have to spend money, you have to build things, to turn the wind and sun into electricity, just like any other form of electricity apart from lightning.

But it gets worse, albeit in a way that’s difficult to comprehend to Bowen et al.

If you want to use a lot – even more, all – wind and solar – you actually have to build two generation but also to some extent distribution systems.

That’s all the so-called turbines – actually, just lazily rotating bird-killing blades – and solar panels, which do a passing good job of frying assorted wildlife.

Then in addition, you still have to build the real electricity generation system to provide the power when – have I written this before? – the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.

This second mass of infrastructure could have been, should have been, used to be, the actual, first and only, power generation systems.

The ‘second build’, of all those wind and solar so-called generators, is a complete waste of money.

But also, money that has to be recouped in prices – when it’s not being recouped in billions of dollars of direct taxpayer subsidies; along with the basic reality that the free electricity is not only not free but the most expensive you could invent.

The proof of this is laid out in stark and undeniable terms in the AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) statistical record.

Back in the early 2010s, electricity was coming out from almost entirely real power stations, at a wholesale cost of around $30 to $40 a MWh, from SA to Queensland.

In 2022 it was between $80 and $160; in 2023 so far $105 to $150; and who knows what in 2024.
The Australian