Monday, 27 February 2017

Josh Frydenberg tilting at windmills with his Clean Energy Finance Corporation changes - time for another political singalong

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that in "what would represent a significant weakening of the country's environmental financing rules, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg confirmed the government is considering issuing a new ministerial directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to put investment in so-called 'clean coal' on the table." The idea, it seemed, was to gt the Corporation to invest in high-efficiency, low-emissions – also known as super-critical – coal-powered plants.

And an idea that makes the old Weddings and Anything song Tillting at Windmills an appropriate addition to the Owl's political singalong collection.
I know you, I know your ways,
And yes, I hear the things you say,
But what you say and what you do
Are worlds apart, when you go...
Tilting at Windmills,
Chasing a dream through greenfields,
I lose track of your ideals,
I cannot keep up with you.
You are so unreal, you're so piecemeal,
You always say just what you feel.
But what you feel and what occurs
Are worlds apart, when you go...
Tilting at Windmills,


Now true it is that Minister Frydenberg has the power to issue a directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. What the legislation does not allow him to do is direct the CEFC to finance any particular proposal. And even if a compliant board of the body wanted to appease the minister there are obstacles that make financing any form of "clean coal" power generation virtually impossible.

These extracts from the relevant Act explain why.
.             (1)  Technologies that are any one or more of the following are clean energy technologies:
                     (a)  energy efficiency technologies;
                     (b)  low‑emission technologies;
                     (c)  renewable energy technologies.
             (2)  Energy efficiency technologies includes technologies (including enabling technologies) that are related to energy conservation technologies or demand management technologies.
             (3)  Renewable energy technologies includes:
                     (a)  hybrid technologies that integrate renewable energy technologies; and
                     (b)  technologies (including enabling technologies) that are related to renewable energy technologies.
             (4)  A technology is a low‑emission technology if the Board is satisfied, in accordance with guidelines made under subsection (5), that the technology is a low‑emission technology.
....
                   An investment for the purposes of the Corporation’s investment function is an investment in a prohibited technology if it is an investment in:
                     (a)  technology for carbon capture and storage (within the meaning of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007); or
                     (b)  nuclear technology; or
                     (c)  nuclear power.

58  Investment function ...

 (3)  In performing its investment function, the Corporation must ensure that, at any time on or after 1 July 2018, at least half of the funds invested at that time for the purposes of its investment function are invested in renewable energy technologies.
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