Kelly Compares Replacing Liddell With Renewables To A Dog With Rabies

Craig Kelly and Liddell Power Station

Craig Kelly image : Liberal Party Of Australia

NSW Liberal MP Craig Kelly has said replacing Liddell Power Station with solar panels, wind turbines and batteries is “as dangerous to the economy as rabies is in a dog”.

His comment came after rumours of Chinese company Shandong Ruyi eyeing AGL’s clapped-out, coal-fired, emissions-belching Liddell Power Station, which AGL plans to shut down. Shandong Ruyi is the owner of the sprawling Cubbie Station cotton farm in Queensland.

The story goes that Shandong Ruyi expressed interest in purchasing the power station to the Prime Minister’s office late last year.

“Green rent-seekers tell us ‘’no one wants to invest in a coal-fired power station’’,” said Mr. Kelly on Tuesday. “Well it’s now clear that someone does – which is hardly surprising given hundreds of coal-fired plants are being built around the world.”

Clear As Coal Ash Mud

Well, it’s not actually clear – more than three months after the alleged expression of interest, AGL states it has not had any approach from Shandong Ruyi and calls the report a non-story.

AGL says it remains committed to replacing Liddell. While it may be viable to replace it with 100% renewables and storage, it won’t be just solar panels, wind turbines and batteries as Mr. Kelly has stated, but also gas peaker plants, demand response and an upgrade to Bayswater Power Station. There’s even the potential for pumped hydro to get a look in.

While perhaps not up to speed concerning Liddell, Mr. Kelly does seem to know a thing or two about rabies. He’s been quite rabid on the issue of coal and often foaming at the mouth over renewables. Earlier this month, Craig Kelly claimed Australia’s solar subsidy was a “reverse Robin Hood scheme“. He was joined shortly after by backbench buddy and ex-PM Tony Abbott, who outright called for an end to solar subsidies (and all new renewables).

Ending or dialing back solar subsidies further that are already being gradually phased out might not be a great way to win friends and influence people in a country where solar power is extremely popular among voters ..and there’s that NewsPoll thing.

Speaking Of Knobs..

As SQ’s Ronald described in more detail following the backbenchers’ recent comments, Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly appear to want Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to fiddle with his small-scale knob in a way that could negatively impact the level of solar power subsidy available.

If Mr. Frydenberg is going to do so, he has little time as it needs to be done by the end of this month – and there’s just one business day to go (today) given the looming Easter break. He can also choose to step back, not fiddle with his knob and just let the Clean Energy Regulator do the necessary tweaking, based on an established formula immune to the influences of Messrs Abbott and Kelly.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Typical Liberal reaction…. why are they so protective of fossil fuel industries?

    Oil will run out. Science has not demonstrated any practical means of mass producing synthetic versions of it for energy generation. Coal will run out in about 200-500 years at the rate we are burning it. Both oil and coal take eons to create. Nuclear is not really a viable option mainly because we can’t properly dispose of its waste in a safe manner. Even if it was safe to do so, nuclear power generation is not suitable in Australia. Why? Because nuclear power generation requires about 80% more water than coal-fired powered stations. And guess what? How much do we have in Australia? This is a desert country. Not like most of northern hemisphere countries where they have large access to constant water supply. So, what’s left? Oh, yeah, that big yellow round thing in the sky. Most people don’t know that solar energy generates in 1 hour what we consume in fossil fuels globally in one year. That’s 8000x the energy for free! Even if we only captured just 1%, it will still be 80x more than combined fossil fuel energy in a year!

    The logic I don’t understand is why aren’t we harnessing free energy from the sun for everything? Even if it wasn’t for climate change, pollution, etc. Who does not want free energy? The fossil fuel industry needs to go….. it has outlived its useful purpose on planet earth. There’s a reason why it’s locked up in the ground and should stay in the ground. We shouldn’t just take, take and take from the ground without expecting any consequences of doing so. The last 100 years has been demonstrative of how destructive the fossil fuel industry has been to the planet. Humans have managed to live right up to the 20th century without fossil fuels on a grand scale. If anything, fossil fuel will show up as just a short anomaly blip in the human timeline. Future historians will look back and say “Whose stupid idea was it to dig up oil and coal for energy production?” Just like they are saying now “Whose stupid idea was it to put lead in petrol and paint?” Greedy entrepreneurs, misinformed politicians and sloppy scientists who did not do their homework!

    • Gregory J. OLSEN Esq says

      A brilliant response, Graham! I concur 100%! ??

    • I don’t concur at all, oil is virtually inexhaustible, they keep finding more and more and further extending the forecast “run-out” date. Same goes for coal and gas.

      The problem with renewables is that they’re very expensive and have to be subsidised heavily by the government for new developments to make business sense. Not to mention their intermittency – wind and solar depends on many uncontrollable factors including wind speeds, cloud cover etc. We will always need reliable baseload generation from fossil fuels or nuclear power simply due to the intermittency of renewables.

      We’ve seen how hopeless a heavy investment in wind generation is in this state from the failed Labor energy policies, with wind generation rarely reaching its full installed capacity. The closure of the Northern and Playford coal plants was stupid as well, and our extreme lack of reliable, fossil-fuelled baseload power was shown starkly in the state-wide blackout in 2016. SA’s Labor energy policy is the laughingstock of all of Australia with over-ambitious renewables targets and underperforming investments in renewables. We consistently have to import loads of Victorian coal-fired electricity to meet the shortfall due to the closure of the coal-fired plants and the under-performing wind generation.

      And yes, nuclear power is actually an extremely logical option in Australia, given we are among the top 3 exporters of uranium in the world. Not to mention the extremely high efficiency of the uranium fuel – 8,000x more efficient than coal. Nuclear plants can be located on the coast and use seawater, so excessive water use isn’t an issue. (By the way, nuclear power plants only use 11% more water than a coal-fired plant)
      Oh, and I forgot to mention its also a renewable source of electricity…

      • Ronald Brakels says

        Luke, can you name one SA Labor policy that subsidized wind power?

        • Yep, sure Ronald, both the State and Federal governments have subsidised renewable power developments to achieve the RET. You may have misread my comment, it’s the developments of renewable power facilities that are subsidised. Federal organisations like ARENA have been set up under Labor governments and the Renewable Technology Fund was set up in SA by Labor to subsidise the development of renewable power facilities so they could reach their unrealistic 75% by 2025 target.

          To be clear, I have nothing against renewables, in fact I love the technology and the concept of free energy from sun, wind and water etc; but the way renewables been used and the energy policy has been managed in this state by Labor has contributed to the high power prices that we face today. The same high power prices that are causing more and more people to sensibly go solar! 🙂

          Now we’ve had a change of government, things have already improved and will hopefully further improve!

          • I think if you bother to look into the details you will find that SA’s high electricity prices are due to SA’s high proportion of gas-fired generation. There is a statistically high correlation between the price of natural gas & the price of electricity. If it weren’t for renewables, SA’s electricity prices would have been even higher.
            Thankfully that is coming to an end because the Hornsdale Power Reserve is spoiling the gas guys’ attempts to fix the market spot prices.
            And since when is Uranium a renewable resource? The Earth isn’t massive enough to form new heavy elements.
            By the way, NOBODY is going to close down a coal plant that is operating profitably for political reasons. The only reason electricity generation companies will close an existing plant is because it is no longer profitable to keep it running.

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