Australia’s energy schmozzle

Today in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a feasibility assessment of expanding the Snowy Mountains scheme role in the national energy grid, the Australian Science Media Centre sought comment from a range of academic experts in fields related to the issue.  My response appears below:

The Prime Minister’s vision to turn the Snowy scheme into a massive renewable energy battery represents on the one hand resourceful sustainable energy innovation and on the other national policy failure.

That a country that once billed itself as the next energy superpower of the Asia Pacific could get to a point where affordable energy security is no longer assured reflects a decade of cheap point scoring by both sides of politics.

The loser has been Australia’s national interest and well-being.

In their rush to a clean energy world, perversely the left will secure higher emissions outcomes.

The setting of accelerated mandatory renewable energy targets is killing off the possibility of a gas fuelled lower emissions transition and locking in longer lives for coal fired power stations.

In terminating a carbon price, the Coalition parties have scuttled the potential technological and economic efficiency to be played by markets in facilitating lower emissions power generation.

The upshot is an energy policy schmozzle likely to generate more energy system fragmentation, government intervention, loss of investor confidence and higher prices for consumers.

It is essential that the major parties stop the buck passing and achieve a workable bi-partisan consensus on how to stage a technological and economic transition to a low carbon future.”

Other responses can be found at the Australian Science Media Centre at

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