Turnbull’s faith in coal is weak: his home is ready to go off-grid.

13 Feb




Today, FOI documents confirmed that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was advised that last year’s power blackouts in South Australia were not due to renewable energy failures, but to severe weather conditions that caused unprecedented damage to the network.

Turnbull decided to ignore this advice as it does not align with his commitment to fossil fuels and his party’s entrenched opposition to renewables. Instead, he and his ministers seized the opportunity to politicise the blackouts by blaming the generation mix and the South Australian Labor government, despite having been advised by concerned bureaucrats that in so doing, they were disseminating false information to the Australian people.

Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg claimed that state and federal Labor governments had recklessly committed to ambitious new energy targets, using the SA blackouts as an example of how renewables are allegedly unstable, and allegedly lead to energy insecurity.

These men, along with Barnaby Joyce and other politicians, deliberately misled both parliament and the public, seizing the opportunity to manipulate and obfuscate for their personal and political gain, without any regard for the wellbeing of the country and its citizens. They are traitors.

Turnbull has done an extraordinary backflip from fighting to introduce a carbon price and losing the leadership of his party for his pains, to attacking Labor for “ideological obsession” with renewables at the expense of “energy security.”

However, Turnbull’s commitment to coal and gas does not extend to his personal life. Apparently he is not fully persuaded that coal and gas do indeed provide sufficient energy security. We learned today that the Prime Minister does not seem to be walking his talk, and has installed battery storage in his Point Piper home.

Turnbull also recently upgraded his solar array, to the point where he could almost go off-grid.

As was noted on Twitter, Turnbull is protecting himself and his family from the inconveniences, distresses and dangers of power outages in a NSW market dominated by coal, with renewable technology his policies vehemently oppose.

Turnbull is a hypocrite, as well as a traitor.

In the meantime, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) which is currently considering a $1billion loan to mining giant Adani, has refused a Greenpeace FOI request for dates and locations of upcoming board meetings, on the grounds that it could encourage protesters and media interest if they were made public. This is an acceptable reason for refusing a FOI request? We shall find out. Greenpeace is appealing the refusal.

Coal-fired generators have no future in Australia, writes Ian Verrender, in a piece that is worth a read.

I’m sure Malcolm Turnbull knows there is no future for coal.  I’m also sure he doesn’t care.

Turnbull will gamble with the future of the country and its citizens, many of whom suffer through upwards of 47 degree heat-waves without the benefit of battery storage, because Turnbull wants to keep the job he bought himself for $1.7 million.

And we thought we couldn’t do worse than Abbott.

29 Responses to “Turnbull’s faith in coal is weak: his home is ready to go off-grid.”

  1. paul walter. February 14, 2017 at 12:16 am #

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Dr Jennifer Wilson.

    May you never go off line.

    Just here with a bung head now that the cool change has arrived) after watching QA where this energy grid subject fitted nicely with other topics like the Centrelink/Welfare so- called “ömnibus” legislation that Jackie Lambie reckoned the government knew where it stick a huge giant omnibus up, from her viewpoint as a former pensioner and nowSenator considering such legislation.

    I wish Jackie had not muffed it over people movements but the public is strangled with anti islamist propaganda. I think what she really meant was neo liberalism is choking off money for social linfrastructure, but wasn’t smart enough, but otherwise,gotta say I like the woman on the whole, unlike the slimy Elitist preppie LNP Senator James Patterson, who typifies the real problem, which is Wedge politics to divert the public away from understanding concerning a raft of actually loosely interconnected issues to do with the problem of adequate and fair funding.against financialised capitalist carpetbaggery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2017 at 6:48 am #

      Thank you PW.
      I’d take Lambie over Patterson any day, the latter being LNP pond scum & drunk with the arrogance of inexperience. IMHO.
      I’m tackling the omnibus bill today if time permits.
      I thought of you and Marilyn in the heatwave. Good to hear there is some respite.
      Take care of your bung head.


      • paul walter. February 14, 2017 at 7:02 am #

        Look, I was grateful for the relatively benign weather only a few days over forty) after reading at the ABM what Sydneys western subs and part of QLD have been going through.

        Patterson demonstrates the Machiavellian folly of sending children in as faction hacks to do adult’s jobs for them and I had wanted “The Adventures of Harry Potter” I would have rented the CD.


    • paul walter. February 14, 2017 at 7:06 am #

      Not another typo.”..left out “could” stick a huge giant omnibus. Always looks ok till AFTER I send the f…….s.


  2. paul walter. February 14, 2017 at 6:54 am #

    Second thoughts. Insomnia, so got up for a cuppa as the repeat of QA was playing,,,Lambie did bad in attacking another panelist over “Sharia Law”, has missed some of it last time.

    I wonder if she hasn’t cracked.

    Sorry, no derail,
    but I saw parts of QA I i missed the first time while making a cuppa last night and mentioned it earlier, so add this.

    I enjoyed Jennifer Wilson’s article as substantial not least because it alludes to a general problem re Australian democracy and our politics ability to deal with foreign sources of interference in maintaining it.

    We’ve seen big interference re coal mining and gas fracking and the impact on communities and the environment, royalties re the Timor Gap gas fields, tax dodging re all of above while the government looks on and the opposition quivers timidly and privatisation of utilities, the problems with water policy and agri-business in the past and the privatised power grid issue now raised here by JW and by Lambie in a better moment last night.

    It pains me to present this following, because I think it shows state governments lack the power to take on big offshore interests and know it will be taken by some as an attack on a specific state government rather than the system.

    But I include it for an interesting read on yet another problematic, nuclear, as an example of what I see as happening as what it says about how fragile “Democracy” actually is in this country.



  3. havanaliedown February 14, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    The terminology is wrong. It’s “Contingent” energy, not renewable. Wind generators are contingent on the wind blowing within the optimal speed. Solar is contingent on the sun shining. Economically, they are contingent upon subsidies because they are inefficient in comparison to hydro, coal and nuclear, and are unable to compete with these energy sources for generating reliable baseload power. Solar panels are great as complementary domestic energy, whereas as wind generators are completely hopeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      And here we have another opinion. Thanks Havana.


    • allthumbs February 14, 2017 at 11:38 am #

      Origin Energy refer to “renewables” as “renewables” for instance.


      When and where is the next coal fired power plant going to be built H?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2017 at 11:54 am #

        Havana invents his own terminology, allthumbs.


        • allthumbs February 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

          I would never credit Havana with that much imagination Jennifer.

          I’d like to see a dead start race from off to full power between a renewable energy generator and a coal fired power station. You gotta keep those suckers going all the time 24/7 365 days a year even when the base load is uncalled for overnight for example, Havana wall probably call that an “efficiency contingency.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • Moz of Yarramulla February 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

          Havan also invents their own facts, which is more of a concern. If we could peek behind the curtain we’d see subsidies flowing in all directions, which is why you so rarely see energy companies calling for an end to them. Plus the legislative hacks that help ever so much – can you imagine CSG/fracking if the gas companies had to negotiate land access in a free market?

          And then nukes, always with the nukes. Even the most ardent pro-nuke fans don’t seem able to come up with a plan to get nuclear power generation in Australia before 2050 at any price. To compete with anything, even coal, they need huge subsidies – the billion dollar “loan” to Adani pales into insignificance next to the unlimited liability insurance needed by the nuclear industry. Nukes make asbestos remediation look easy.


    • webbermd April 16, 2017 at 5:29 am #

      “Contingent” is correct, but as a person who lives off the grid in the United States, I find solar provides all my electrical needs sufficiently and consistently 9 months out of the year. I have a back up generator I run about a dozen times during the three cloudy winter months. However, I believe I am still better off than those who are dependent to the power grid; especially, during power outages and rate increases.


  4. Barry Waters February 14, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    I’ve noticed that Josh Frydenberg has become a nasty bull pit terrier in presenting his fantasies about renewables and his snide attacks on Labor politicians. He attacks with relish, hiding his doubtful lies underneath his fury that others can’t see things in his way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2017 at 11:28 am #

      Yes, they’re a bunch of louts really, Barry.
      Pity we seem to be stuck with them.


    • doug quixote February 15, 2017 at 8:10 am #

      I don’t call them the Looters & Nutters Party for nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. doug quixote February 14, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    I have no ideological commitment to coal or to renewables. For the foreseeable future the mainland’s energy needs will depend upon coal-fired generation to provide baseload power. But it has been pointed out that coal-fired generators are “uninvestible” – ie no-one will put up the money to build new plant. The result is that the aging plant in Victoria and NSW will become more and more rickety as time passes, unless governments do the investing. A goal of 50% (say) renewable power means that the other 50%+ needs to be produced by coal or gas. Blackouts will become a regular occurrence unless baseload generators are themselves renewed.

    It is time ideology was separated from these sort of issues. No-one can have their own set of facts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      DQ, your last paragraph: exactly. Ideologues are the bloody scourge of humanity.


    • Moz of Yarramulla February 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

      The problem is that we have the facts but we have a population who don’t regard them as vote-changing (as with so many “identity politics” issues, like refugees, racism etc). So we get a government committed to doing something that can’t get funding, and implacably opposed to things that can. Although I did see they are looking at a pumped hydro storage scheme, so there is a glimmer of hope there.

      We could easily go 100% renewable. That is cheaper than what we’re doing now and getting cheaper all time as long as you say “30 year transition” rather than “by 2050”. The latter gets more expensive every year for obvious reasons. “baseload” is a political term, Havana was right that to engineers the distinction is between dispatchable (user controllable) and non-dispatchable, and within the former fast-response and slow-response (PV+battery, coal and hydro are dispatchable, but coal has a multi-hour response time but hydro can go from zero to full power in a few minutes while most battery systems can do it in seconds – you can run entirely on hydro but not coal because demand changes minute by minute. NZ used to run 90% plus renewable/hydro).


    • Moz of Yarramulla February 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

      Actually, the frustrating thing about “not vote changing” is that climate change ticks all the “bogan vote” boxes except the “right now” one. It’s making electricity more expensive and less reliable, right now but only a little bit, but in the 10 year plus timescale it’s going to get really expensive (heatwaves, fires, floods) and it’s going to fuck their kids sideways (food prices, farm viability, sea level rise, what exactly will Australia be exporting once coal and wheat go?). And so on.

      But change their votes? Nah, mate, I got more important things to worry about, like maybe one day we might have a Muslim terrorist in Australia. Oooh, a shiny thing, look at that.


  6. Frank February 15, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

    Being a Liberal, I’m always searching for a quick and dirty way to make easy money off the gullible. It’s true.
    Watching Scott Morrison in Parliament last week scaring Labor and Green politicians with a lump of coal, I think I’ve found the solution.
    Coal Necklaces.
    I’ve found a Chinese supplier of cheap paste jewellery on Alibaba that can give me a container load of gold pendants that I can attach lumps of dirty black coal to the swinging end.
    “Just Araldite it on Mr Frank! No Worries!” he assured me cheerfully.
    Bastard. But I never trust the chinks. Quality control is an issue with those slant-eyed scammers.
    But, If I can sell them to Liberals, I thought, we can scare Labor voters out of polling booths by scaring them off, just like Bram Stoker did using garlic necklaces to ward off vampires. It works more on Green voters than the rusted-on Labor types, I’m told, but its worth a crack. Look at South Australia. A basket case of numb-nuts frightened off using coal. Fantastic business opportunity for fast-talking Liberal entrepreneurs like me! The glass is always half full for some.


    • doug quixote February 15, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

      Easier than selling refrigerators to Eskimos, Fwankie.

      PM Trumble will buy one, and Baaaanarby will want two. Morrison would sell you his own grandmother before parting with a cent. Jules will want two earrings, to match her eyes.

      I see the meds are working for you. 🙂


      • paul walter. February 16, 2017 at 2:22 am #

        People have to understand diamonds are just polished turds. Why do people think people like Joyce and Morrison sit in parliament polishing lumps of carbon all day.

        They just KNOW that if they keep polishing bits of fossilised excreta all day, some day the alchemist charm will work and they will be even wealthier than they already are mugging pensioners.

        Btw, we discovered this new factoid just today:


        That right!

        It needed to be nowhere as bad as it was, because SA Power Networks increased the amount to be cut from 100 megawatts as instructed by AEMO to 300mgs. They are all saying they don’t know why SA Power Networks inexplicably did this…strange days, indeed.


    • helvityni February 17, 2017 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks for the laugh, Frank; you are the only Liberal with a sense of humour.

      Oops I forgot about Hewson, he was the first one to laugh when Keating, oh so beautifully, abused him…’I want to do you…slowly’.


      • doug quixote February 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

        Careful, Helvi. Pat this particular mutt on the head and his bowels start working overtime. 🙂


        • helvityni February 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

          What about the horrid Havana?


  7. doug quixote February 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    Now those who know me know my detestation of Tony Abbott.

    But Abbott’s latest criticism is in reaction to the Poll results, actual and likely, rather than being the cause of those poll results.

    Prime Minister Trumble(?) and his ministers Cormann and Bishop in particular, will not accept that it is their performance, their policy settings, their narrative that is wrong and is being rejected.

    But whatever the question may be, Abbott is not the answer. There’s still a vacancy for dog catcher in Bourke waiting for him. (And some conservatives even fancy Dutton as PM . . . words fail me.)

    The enormous pity is that we have to wait another two years to throw this government out.


    • paul walter. March 16, 2017 at 1:03 am #

      Fascinating re read, this nearly three weeks since it came out, given events since.

      Liked by 1 person

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