Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Another big Australian power station closes -- with a big impact on costs and another threat to system reliability
Even after watching what South Australia did to itself – pushing for renewable energy, increasing electricity prices, shutting down coal-fired power stations, reducing energy security, and triggering a statewide blackout – the Big V is rushing headlong down the same path.
Confirmation the Hazelwood coal-fired power station will close early next year guarantees power prices will increase by at least 8 per cent in Victoria next year.
Given SA imports huge amounts of power from that state, the increases will flow across the border.
The La Trobe Valley plant has 1600 megawatts of baseload capacity and has supplied up to 25 per cent of Victoria’s power.
Victoria has been an exporter of electricity, sending power to SA, Tasmania and even NSW at times but now will need to import power at peak times – mainly coal-fired electricity from NSW.
Instead of cheap reliable coal-fired power, Victoria is following SA with increased reliance on subsidised, unreliable wind and solar energy. Good luck.
Just like SA, Victoria has seen car manufacturers and other companies close, with jobs shed in the steel and aluminium sectors. Power prices have been a major factor.
More job losses will come – this is deliberate policy leading to inevitable deindustrialisation.
It is bad news for SA because, as industry shrinks across the border, local suppliers will be hit.
And, as Victoria’s electricity becomes more expensive and less reliable, it will increase SA’s exposure, given the state’s dangerous reliance on the Victoria’s Heywood interconnector – as everyone discovered on September 28.
SA’s biggest user of electricity is the Olympic Dam mine – one of the world’s largest uranium and copper operations.
BHP-Billiton shelved its huge open-cut expansion a few years ago but now plans to massively expand its underground mining, more than doubling copper output from 200,000 tonnes a year to 500,000 tonnes over the next decade.
This is vital for a struggling state economy – Olympic Dam has helped to keep SA above water since the State Bank disaster.
Yet the mismanagement of the power situation could kill the plans, as the head of BHP-Billiton’s Australian operations, Mike Henry, told me on television last week.
Olympic Dam refines copper on site, requiring vast amounts of “stable, affordable energy” and the company is deeply worried about a repeat of September’s blackout (that shut it down for two weeks) and ongoing price spikes.
“Left unresolved, that sort of thing will start to put at risk some of the investments we have planned for Olympic Dam,” Henry said.
That is a stark warning. It should create shockwaves in SA and have the Weatherill government urgently looking at ways to increase baseload power.
Instead, the situation is getting worse because of what the Victorians are doing.
It is difficult to overstate the madness that is afoot – we must be approaching peak lunacy.
In the name of climate change policies, the two states most reliant on manufacturing have deliberately chosen policies to increase power prices and make energy less reliable; and then have mourned the loss of manufacturing jobs.
And to assuage their deep concerns about climate change both states have also spent billions of dollars building desalination plants that are mothballed.
Labor politicians in both states and federally are now publicly expressing concern about workers who have lost their jobs in coal-fired power stations when the policies they have implemented are deliberately designed to shut down these very generators.
Remember, every time these politicians mourn a job loss in the energy or manufacturing sectors, this is exactly what those same politicians have tried to achieve through their climate policies.
Renewable energy targets and other prices on carbon are about driving out so-called “dirty” industries and replacing them with “green” and “clean” jobs – you’ve heard the politicians say that.
They just don’t seem to trumpet these aims so loudly when real people are actually laid off.
And, of course, the real idiocy of all this is that it is doing precisely nothing for the environment.
While we deliberately make ourselves less competitive, impose higher prices on ourselves and toss our compatriots out of work, global emissions continue to rise.
In China and India, they are building more coal-fired power stations that will burn coal mined in NSW and Queensland.
But in Victoria and SA the unemployed can huddle together in the darkness, perhaps using a desalination plant as a windbreak, and try to convince themselves they are saving the planet.
No body, no parole for Vic murderers
Leftist governments do sometimes get things right
Victorian murderers won't get parole unless they reveal where they hid their victims' bodies under tough new laws.
The government's "no body, no parole" laws will be introduced in 2017 and will affect at least seven convicted murderers who have not revealed where they put their victims.
"This is the right thing to do, but it needs to be done properly ... it's what we've been considering for some time," Premier Daniel Andrews told question time on Tuesday.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the laws should be introduced immediately to give families of victims some closure. "There are murderers in our prison system who treat the parole as their right. It's not their right, it's a privilege that's afforded to people who've done the right thing," Mr Guy said.
Labor has rejected a previous opposition bid to bring the laws in and Mr Andrews says there is no immediate need to rush them through.
"There are seven individuals in custody for whom this might be relevant and none of them are eligible for parole in the next 12 months," Mr Andrews said.
Australia: The anti-democratic Left shows its colours
Democracy is only good if it leads to the "right" answers
The Federal Government's bid to hold a plebiscite on whether to legalise same sex marriage has been defeated in the Senate. The proposal was voted down on Monday night in the Upper House 33 votes to 29.
The Attorney-General George Brandis had warned that a defeat would result in delaying same sex marriage in Australia for years to come.
But the Federal Opposition says the plebiscite would have resulted in harmful debate against the gay and lesbian community and want a direct vote in Parliament, instead.
Labor and the Greens were joined by the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch to defeat the bill, while the Coalition secured the support of the One Nation Party, the Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie.
Liberal Senator Dean Smith abstained from voting in Parliament late on Monday night.
It ends 14-months of debate over the fate of the plebiscite, which was first proposed by the former prime minister Tony Abbott and taken by his successor Malcolm Turnbull to the 2016 federal election.
The Federal Government said it was the quickest way to achieve same sex marriage, promising a plebiscite would be held in February 2017, with Mr Turnbull confident it would be supported by the public.
But the Federal Opposition, joined by an increasing number of gay and lesbian groups, argued it would result in divisive debate that would have hurt vulnerable members of the community.
It also attacked the proposed $170 million price tag for the plebiscite.
Attorney-General George Brandis earlier criticised Labor for opposing the plebiscite.
"Stop playing politics with gay people's lives, because that is all that you are doing," Senator Brandis told Parliament.
"A vote against this bill is a vote against marriage equality."
"And those who claim to believe in marriage equality, but nevertheless, for their own cynical, game-playing reasons, are determined to vote against it, should hang their heads in shame."
Labor Senator Louise Pratt described the plebiscite as "an utterly demeaning act."
"No child should have their family status a subject of public debate like this."
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said the gay and lesbian community had lobbied strongly for the plebiscite bill to be defeated.
"I've lost count of the number of my LGBTIQ friends who have urged and begged us not to support this plebiscite."
Chair of Australian Marriage Equality Alex Greenwich said supporters of same sex marriage should refocus efforts on a direct vote in Parliament to change the Marriage Act.
"We know that a majority of Australians, indeed a majority of parliamentarians, support this reform."
"We hope that we can all work together to finally get this through our Parliament."
Africa comes to Melbourne
A gang of 15 teenagers brazenly shoplifted from a Melbourne Officeworks store and left 'cheering and dancing' while holding the stolen items above their heads.
Witness Chris, who chose to keep his surname anonymous, said he went to the South Yarra store in the city's southeast to buy a computer at 4.30pm on Saturday when he noticed the youths, aged 13 to 17, taking headphones and speakers from the shelves.
He said the teenagers, believed to be members of the notorious Apex gang, were dancing down the aisles and walked out cheering a minute later, setting off the store alarms.
'They certainly weren't walking around with their heads down - they were happily ransacking the shelves,' he told 3AW on Monday.
'The staff just stood there, like myself, probably in shock at what they were witnessing'.
Chris said the teenagers, all of African descent, were all wearing hooded jumpers, but were 'confident' as they trawled the store.
He said after the gang left and police had been called, he asked a staff member whether it was the first incident they had at the store.
'She indicated it had happened a few times before and they were a soft target on the weekends with reduced staff,' he said.
Victoria police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia officers went to the store following reports a group of about 15 males were shoplifting.
A woman who heard Chris' account, said she was driving along Nepean Highway on the same day when she saw a similar group emerging from a house and heading toward the Moorabbin Officeworks.
Witness Julia said the group were milling out the front of the store, but 'nervously legged it' down Highett Road when they heard police sirens approaching.
There was reportedly another similar incident at the Officeworks in Chadstone, 17-kilometres from the city centre, on Saturday.
An Officeworks spokesperson confirmed there were 'incidents involving theft at four of its stores in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne on Saturday'.
'No Officeworks team members or customers were harmed and all affected stores remain open today with a heightened level of security,' a statement read.
'As the incidents are currently under police investigation, we are unable to provide further comment at this time'.
Murky past of NSW cop Damian Goodfellow, and the criminal who went on to kill
A senior NSW police officer who played a key role in a botched drug case that resulted in a violent criminal being released to roam the streets has been convicted of assault, drink driving and has twice survived recommendations he be fired.
Despite an assault conviction for the drunken bashing of an off-duty colleague at a cricket international, then being arrested at gunpoint for fleeing a breath test and crashing a police car, Damian Goodfellow has climbed through the police ranks to become one of Sydney's most prominent crime managers.
A Fairfax Media probe has placed him at the heart of two recent significant investigations that resulted in a drug sting that left four police officers claiming they were wrongly persecuted, and the release of a criminal who was facing serious drugs charges:
"As acting crime manager at Kings Cross local area command in 2011, Detective Inspector Goodfellow filed a report to the agency's Professional Standards Command that later resulted in a string of drug charges being inexplicably dropped against a violent criminal named Wayne Edward Jones. A year later, the Nomad Outlaw Motorcycle gang member, who was operating an illegal prostitution racket in Kings Cross, tortured and strangled to death a mother of four.
As the current crime manager at Newtown, Inspector Goodfellow was one of three senior police from the station who, based on "strong supposition", recommended a "covert investigation" be launched against the only openly gay male officers within the command, targeting illicit drug use. After combing through their private lives for six months, the operation found no evidence of wrongdoing. The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW has since "accepted for investigation" four individual complaints of employment-based "homosexuality discrimination" against the force"
In 1999, Inspector Goodfellow was one of two police personnel who were recommended be sacked after they repeatedly punched a third off-duty officer during a drunken brawl at a one-day cricket international at the SCG.
Magistrate Kevin Flack recorded convictions and fined each of the officers $400 plus $52 court costs.
The then police commissioner Peter Ryan gave Inspector Goodfellow a second chance.
But in 2002, he was convicted again, this time of drink driving, after an erratic attempt to skip a breath test resulted in him crashing an unmarked patrol car.
While Mr Ryan lost his patience and issued a dismissal notice, Inspector Goodfellow received another reprieve from incoming commissioner Ken Moroney who, 18 months earlier, had delivered a heart-warming speech at the detective's wedding to fellow officer Carlee Mahoney, the daughter of then assistant commissioner Reg Mahoney.
Police sources who spoke to Fairfax Media at the time expressed dismay that other officers, with no such ties, had been sacked for far less.
Mr Moroney responded by saying his confidence in any officer was relevant to them acknowledging their mistakes and their continued good behaviour.
"Leniency extended once is rarely extended twice," he said.
Inspector Goodfellow was in the headlines again 12 months later as was one of four off-duty officers who were hospitalised following a punch up inside a Kings Cross strip club.
While he was the least injured, Inspector Goodfellow had been knocked unconscious.
"There's no suggestion they made it known they were police officers," said former Kings Cross commander Dave Darcy, who added it was irrelevant they were from the force.
"It could just as well have been any group of young people who happened to be visiting a strip club."
While more than 10 years have passed since those personal indiscretions, Inspector Goodfellow is again under scrutiny after a Fairfax Media investigation published explosive revelations last week about a Kings Cross drug case, handled by him, that ended in controversy and tragedy.
After the drugs case was bungled, Senior Constable Glen Roberts faced charges relating to the professional standards report filed by Inspector Goodfellow (see below).
But in court, magistrate Graeme Curran tongue-lashed police, labelling the conduct as "quite unacceptable" and "quite inexcusable".
In dismissing the case against Senior Constable Roberts and awarding him costs, Mr Curran pointed to two "critical" pieces of evidence the agency had withheld from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the defence that would have proved the officer's "truthfulness" from the start.
But equally as important, he cited the prosecution's "failure to obtain" any form of statement or evidence from Inspector Goodfellow. "It could have been of assistance to the prosecution ... it may easily have been of assistance to the defence," he said.
Fairfax Media requested an interview with Inspector Goodfellow and also forwarded him questions about the case. However, the NSW Police Force advised he was on scheduled annual leave. It provided the following statement:
"[Inspector Goodfellow] was not relieving as crime manager when the charges were recommended for withdrawal.
"The charges against Jones were properly and ethically withdrawn when the force found it could no longer rely upon the evidence upon which the [drug] charges were founded. It was alleged the original information provided by the main police witness [Roberts] was incorrect and that witness never produced a statement for use in court.
"The charges preferred against the former officer were supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and this matter was prosecuted by the DPP. Any questions concerning material contained within the brief are best referred to the DPP."
The botched drug bust that set free a criminal
In April 2011, Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnessed a drug exchange in Darlinghurst between a man, Wayne Jones, and one of three young women he had allegedly transported to Sydney from Newcastle and the Central Coast for prostitution.
Already on parole over a brutal bashing that left a woman disfigured, the drug charges served that night were enough to send Jones back to jail for several years. But a short time later, Inspector Goodfellow forwarded a "report" to the Professional Standards Command.
It's contents remain a mystery. However, it led to the PSC charging Senior Constable Roberts with having fabricated evidence and Jones being released from jail in October 2012.
A year later, Jones tortured, burned, bashed and strangled Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel while high on ice.
When Senior Constable Roberts' own case finally came before Sydney's Downing Centre in 2013, the prosecution went all out to jail him.
Today, after being exonerated by Mr Curran, Senior Constable Roberts is no longer in the force and is haunted by "what might have been" had Jones' charges not been "wrongly withdrawn".
The secret police drug sting and the gay officers
In May last year, Inspector Goodfellow was the "resolution manager" who, with two senior colleagues at Newtown, escalated a complaint to the PSC, recommending a sting be launched against three serving gay officers and one of their long-term partners who used to work at the station, over suspicions they might be taking drugs.
The result was an eight-man strike force codenamed "Andro" that, six months later, had turned up "no evidence" of drug use or "related misconduct". The covert operation is estimated to have cost about $250,000 in wages alone.
Their lawyer has since written to police hierarchy, complaining about the "improper use of public resources" to "systematically target" the men because of their "sexual orientation".
Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller replied, stating he was "satisfied" the investigations were "appropriate in the circumstances".
The initial response from Anti-Discrimination Board NSW suggests otherwise and it has "accepted for investigation" all four complaints of "homosexuality discrimination" against police.
Despite suppressed documents entitled "behavioural observations of subject officers", "analysis of subject officers' communications" and further material relating to bars "regularly visited", the force said on Saturday the investigation had "involved no covert surveillance as alleged".
It added the inquiry was "concluded before it was necessary" to interview any of the men who had been "exonerated of any wrongdoing." Only one of the officers remains in the force.
The life and crimes of a Sydney police officer
1995: As a probationary constable, Damian Goodfellow was forced to apologise to a motel owner after property was damaged and female guests harrassed during a police conferencing session.
1999: Bashes a fellow off-duty officer at the SCG while drunk, is convicted of common assault and fined $400. Receives notice requiring him to show cause why he should not lose his job. Then Commissioner Peter Ryan gives him a second chance.
2000: Marries the daughter of NSW Assistant Commissioner Reg Mahoney. Future Police Commissioner Ken Moroney is among the speech givers.
2002: An attempt to flee a breath test backfires when he crashes a police car while drunk and then gets arrested at gunpoint. Fined by the court. Loses his licence. Issued with a dismissal notice by Mr Ryan but gets another reprieve by incoming Commissioner Ken Moroney.
2003: Among four off-duty officers hospitalised after a violent, early hours brawl inside a Kings Cross strip club.
2007: Receives specialist promotion to senior sergeant at what was then Special Crime and Internal Affairs.
2009: Joins Kings Cross as Duty Officer.
2011: While Goodfellow stands in as acting crime manager at Kings Cross, one of the station's detectives, Glen Roberts, lays drug charges against local crime figure and Nomads bikie gang member Wayne Jones. After Goodfellow sends a report to the force's Professional Standards Command (PSC), they are dropped.
October 2012: Senior constable Roberts is charged by the force with having fabricated false evidence against Jones.
December 2012: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles to death Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds.
2013: A magistrate dismisses the case against Roberts, awards him costs and slams police for failing to obtain evidence from Goodfellow and concealing, for two years, vital evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness".
2015: Goodfellow, now crime manager at Newtown, is one of three senior police who, based on "strong supposition", signed off on a joint decision to investigate four officers over illicit drug use. The men, who are gay, claim homophobia sparked the six month sting - which found no evidence of wrongdoing.
2016: The Sun-Herald reveals the chain of events that led to the murder of Michelle Reynolds.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here