The renewable energy dream turns nightmare for Tasmania

Caption: Tasmania’s hydro scheme should mean it has an abundance of cheap, renewable energy, yet Tasmanians are being slugged with spiralling costs and unreliable supply.

The climate alarmists endlessly babble that ?renewable? energy is cheaper than ever, cheaper in fact than wicked coal. Yet, the more Australia rushes to embrace ?renewables?, the more our electricity bills swell. Indeed, in South Australia, the state which more than any other has rushed headlong into the gangrenous green embrace of renewables, has some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Tasmania, of all states, is blessed with abundant renewable energy. With its mountainous terrain, wet climate and copious rivers, hydro-electric generation has dominated Tasmania?s energy supply. Even today, many Tasmanians refer to their electricity bills as ?the Hydro?, and call power poles ?Hydro poles?.

But even Tasmania is not immune to spiralling energy costs. Quote:

If your last electricity bill gave you a shock, spare a thought for Tasmanian business owners that are struggling to pay annual increases worth tens of thousands of dollars.

John Dabner, the general manager of Tall Timbers, an accommodation and tourism business in Smithton, said his annual power bill jumped by about $50,000 in the past year to $150,000.

If the trend continues he said he will have no choice but to increase the price of accommodation and restaurant meals. End of quote.

Energy costs are biting farmers as well. Tasmania?s lucrative dairy industry is heavily dependent on electricity. Quote:

Derwent Valley dairy farmer David Jones does not have the option of increasing the cost of his product to ease the pain of power price hikes.

Mr Jones is expecting his annual electricity bill to increase by $30,000 to $100,000 next year and said it would be a very difficult cost to absorb.

“Unfortunately like all farmers we’re price takers, not makers and we can’t ring Fonterra tomorrow or whoever I may be supplying and say I’ve just had a 30 per cent increase in my power bill, can I have a 30 per cent increase in my milk price?” he said.

Mr Jones said power and irrigation are necessities so his only option will be to cut labour and feed costs.

“But you can only do that for so long,” he lamented. End of quote.

So, why is Tasmania being hit? Quote:

Energy Minister Matthew Groom?said the significant volatility in the national market following the South Australian blackouts, issues in New South Wales and the closure of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria were all driving up power prices. End of quote.

While Tasmania is isolated from Mainland Australia in many ways, the Basslink electricity interconnector integrates the island state with the Mainland electricity grid, via nearly 400 kilometres of high voltage cable. Basslink enables Tasmania to sell its hydropower to Mainland states ? but it also allows it to buy energy from them as well. Tasmania?s hydro capacity has been limited since the anti-dams campaigns of the 1980s, at the same time as its population (and concomitant energy use) has increased. Consequently, Basslink often costs Tasmania more than it returns.

At the same time, this connection to the Mainland also makes Tasmania vulnerable to the shenanigans of green-besotted governments in places like South Australia and Victoria. In 2015, the combination of the Gillard government?s carbon tax, low rainfall, the closure of its only two non-hydro power stations in Tasmania, and a year-long failure of Basslink left Tasmania facing a critical power shortage.

Luckily, Tasmania has reliable(-ish) supply again, but we?re paying through the nose. Quote:

Tasmanian Energy Consultant Marc White said it was a trend hurting all of Tasmania’s 500 medium-tier power users operating across thousands of sites.

Mr White said tariff pricing was only capped for businesses and residential users spending less than $40,000 a year on electricity.

Medium-tier power uses have to negotiate individual, complex contracts with energy retailers and they are affected by any volatility in the National Electricity Market?He believes job losses are inevitable in some sectors.

“Particularly in businesses like aged care which can’t raise their prices or businesses that are competing in global markets that can’t raise their pricing, they seriously have to look at their staff as the next sort of controllable cost category,” Mr White said. End of quote.

Yet again, the watermelons? utopian fantasies fall far short of reality. It?s probably too much to hope that the Greens-voting ?progressives? of wealthy Sandy Bay will finally put two and two together when the cost of their latte goes through the roof and they have to wait an hour to be served because their hip little cafe can only afford one waiter.