Federal Energy White Paper stuck in the past

Giles Parkinson, from RenewEconomy, notes some details from the Federal White paper on Energy:

The energy white paper begins with a false assumption. That “Australia’s large quantities of traditional energy resources provide low-cost, predictable and reliable power for Australia and the world.”

The energy white paper’s assumptions are based on the International Energy Agency’s “new policies” scenario, which sets the scene for what would be a catastrophic rise in temperatures to an average 4C.

More details in Parkinson’s full article.

Aside from the extraordinary bias towards fossil fuels, there are some pointers as to the government thinking (my italics):

  • it will not pursue policies to “pay” for exit of surplus generation capacity. This has left Australia with vast amounts of surplus capacity, which in turn has been used to argue against new renewable energy.
  • It will be keeping an open mind on nuclear energy. Interestingly, it says it recognises the argument that nuclear is a costly alternative to renewables, uses lots of water and has waste disposal issues. But it also says other argue that it is “adequate” affordable and reliable, and has significant environmental benefits and public health advantages over other existing base load technologies. It says it will consider the outcomes of the South Australian Royal Commission, including its use as an energy source.
  • The government still believes that carbon capture and storage may be a solution, and wants more funds to be spent.

The middle point suggests there’s a need for a strong FoE campaign to counter the flood of pro-nuclear propaganda generated by the existence of the Royal Commission. We’re looking at seconding Jim Green to work on the issue, and perhaps employing a part-time campaigner.