Australian energy: what a tangled political web

More than 200 years ago, Sir Walter Scott wrote: “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Yet the Turnbull Government seems to have forgotten how lies, once started, get built upon, they become twisted and, eventually, an unceremonious unraveling ensues spitting out the perpetrators revealing them for what they are – hollow men! The web of deceit the government has been weaving around energy in general and renewables, in particular, is beginning to draw ever tighter around itself to the point that the twisting and turning is strangling the truth.

The truth is the government hasn’t got the slightest idea of how to move forward in a progressive manner, balancing the imperative of curbing emissions and of rejuvenating our electricity system. The government has now lost all credibility to deal with Australia’s energy network after revelations it blatantly misled Australians about the cause of the South Australian blackout last year. Australians have a right to be disappointed. All while we continue to wait for the creation of critical energy policy.

The truth is this government has been all talk and no action. It’s wasted more than four years, trying to blame others for the crisis it has helped create, while ignoring crucial advice from scientists, energy experts and experts on renewables.

Australia’s electricity system is not yet broken.  But through successive decisions to replicate the past, parts are ageing, unreliable and polluting. It is time to embrace the future and to rejuvenate and invest for smart, secure and affordable 21st century based on renewable and storage technologies. In any sector, there’s always new technology coming online. The transition to renewables is under way worldwide. But without a national energy plan, Australia is resisting the inevitable. And that’s the truth.

Greg Bourne is a Climate Councillor and former head of BP Australasia.

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