Investor News

Minerals Council loses voice of reason

You know the old saying; never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

When it comes to energy policy, this seems to be the prevailing approach for those seeking to generate and maintain subsidies for otherwise expensive and unreliable wind and solar.

The Minerals Council of Australia, led by Brendan Pearson since 2013, has been a voice of energy policy reason, confronting "green emotion with cold, hard facts."

According to a recent article by Janet Albrechtson in The Australian (link below $), Pearson has paid the ultimate price for his advocacy of affordable, reliable energy, apparently ousted in a move to stem the flow of inconvenient facts that have been very effective in shining a light on the affordability and reliability issues associated with renewables.

Too often, misinformation from renewables advocates goes unchallenged. For example, they claim the rest of the world is moving away from coal toward renewables and that renewables are now cheaper than coal here in Australia. And while there is an ongoing uptake of wind and solar globally, these claims ignore the facts.

Pearson's advocacy has been instrumental in highlighting what's actually happening in the rest of the world.

He's highlighted the fact that coal provides 80% of baseload power on Australia's east coast, covering our needs when the wind doesn't blow, and the sun doesn't shine, further pointing to the reality that high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal generation is being used in China and India, where it is the cheapest available energy option.

The fact that Japan is developing 45 new HELE plants right now and a total of around 1,100 HELE plants are under development globally, while Australia has none, contradicts the narrative that Australia is being left behind as the rest of the world moves away from coal. Even Germany, arguably the global leader in the adoption of renewables, is developing HELE plants to bring down costs and increase the reliability of its power network.

Those renewables, which the greens claim are today cheaper than coal, will have received $60 billion in federal renewable subsidies by 2030, exposing the nonsense of such claims.

And given Australia's world-class energy resources, we need to keep asking why our electricity costs are double that of the US and 60 per cent higher than Canada.

The energy policy trilemma we face - affordability, reliability, emissions intensity - cant be balanced through the current rush to renewables.

An effective, pragmatic approach to energy policy would seek to balance the three objectives with careful analysis and planning, which logically entails a transitional, generational phasing out of fossil fuels as renewable technology matures and is able to compete on its own merits.

We believe our own Coldry process can play a part, acting as a transitional solution for practical, affordable emissions reduction while maintaining energy security.

By deploying Coldry on existing brown coal power stations such as Yallourn and Loy Yang here in the state of Victoria, we could reduce their CO2 footprint by around 20%.

By deploying a new integrated Coldry-HELE plant, emissions could be reduced by 43% to 62% compared to standard brown coal-fired power stations. We covered this in more detail in a previous post (click here).

The MCA may have lost a voice of reason, but given the pain being felt by businesses and households as gas and electricity prices rise, we suspect the drive to rebalance energy policy to deliver affordability and reliability won't disappear any time soon. And we'll continue to present our case through cold, hard facts and figures, just like Pearson.


Coal loses as Pearson leaves Minerals Council

The Australian | 4 October 2017

We lost a valuable voice last week when Brendan Pearson was effectively shoved out of his job as boss of the Minerals Council of Australia by those who prefer feel-good corporate bromides and green myths over energy facts and figures...

SourceWe lose as Pearson leaves