Renewables are not to blame for high energy prices
Author: Darvin Tocmo Date Posted:18 April 2017
The Coalition seems to get it all wrong. It’s the fossil fuel generators, not the renewables, causing high energy prices.
Australians feel the effect of high energy prices. In fact, the increase appears constant that even businesses that benefit from cheaper rates are going solar now. While the Coalition claims they are pretty focused on power prices, their actions do not reflect it.
For one, they think renewable energy is behind the rising wholesale power costs. Second, they promote “clean coal” which is neither clean nor cheap. Sure, Australia suffers from incredibly high energy prices particularly this summer. But most increases are found in states with few large-scale renewables.
The Coalition misses out on an important point. Fossil fuel generators try to get rid of renewables and their activities lead to high energy prices.
High energy prices investigated
The Australian Energy Regulator looks into events that involve energy price hikes. It’s one of their responsibilities when rates go over $5,000/MWh.
Some results are quite surprising, for instance, the November 18 NSW jump. The spot price reached more than $11,700/MWh and recorded bids over $13,700 on seven various trading intervals. It’s the kind of level that hyperventilates media and politics about South Australia’s renewable energy.
The NSW November price event should not have happened. However, it occurred because two energy players manipulated the market and got rid of the competition. And they were able to do it without breaking any rules.
Renewables had nothing to do with high energy prices
Electricity prices are not influenced by renewables but driven by the pricing power of fossil fuel generators. They are, in fact, owned mostly by retailers who claim they have the customers’ best interests at heart.
More renewables mean more competition. This should have decreased the fossil fuel generators’ pricing power. However, the Coalition, as well as a number of mainstream media, just do not want to know that. They barely covered NSW and Queensland’s high-priced events. They also ignored the real reason behind the events in SA.