The stakes continue to get raised in the game to see who can blow the most of our money on energy schemes in the most efficient manner possible.
It all began when South Australian premier Jay Weatherill opened the betting by attempting to generate 40% of his state’s energy needs from wind and solar. Refusing to be intimidated, Tasmania immediately called South Australia’s opening gambit by:
- emptying its hydro dams;
- using Basslink to overpay for as much of Victoria’s brown coal as possible; and
- hiring 200 diesel generators to keep the state’s lights on for good measure.
In a completely unconfirmed conversation with a source, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman was quoted as possibly having said:
‘I don’t know what Weatherill thinks he’s playing at, but he needs to realise that we invented this game and we’re not just going to let him walk in willy-nilly and knock us around. I mean, we might let Victoria knock us around, but definitely not South Australia.’.
On hearing Hodgson’s invitation, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews immediately threw his state’s hat into the ring by committing to his own 50% ‘renewable’ target and blithely shutting down the Hazelwood coal fired power station (responsible for 20% of Victoria’s energy generation – and South Australia and Tasmania’s emergency power supply).
As Andrews’ press conference concluded, a source confirmed that they may or may not have overheard Andrews muttering to himself in the restroom:
‘Does Tasmania really think it can just use Basslink to overpay for our coal as part of some sort of climate game they’ve got going on with South Australia? And do they really think that we’re just gonna stand by and not get involved? We’re triple the size of those two states put together and our unions are way meaner than theirs. We can easily win this thing ourselves. Sure, their energy costs might go a up a bit as a result of the Hazelwood thing, but our costs are going to go up way more!’.
Completely unfazed by the whole affair, a nonchalant Malcolm Turnbull casually stuck in his own small raise – announcing that he would ‘clean coal’ and ‘capture’ the ever elusive carbon at any cost. As the subsequent Press Club mingle unfolded, sources believed that they thought they might have overheard Turnbull saying:
‘Uh, if that sycophant Weatherill thinks he can just, uh, walk in and, uh, generate the world’s lowest energy to dollar ratio without a fight then, I assure you, uh, he’s seen nothing yet. Wind and solar are such inefficient ways to blow money. Clean coal is, uh, way better. As for Tasmania and Victoria, I think everyone knows they’re, uh, not serious players in this thing. They need to, uh, let the big dogs eat’.
With the call now over to South Australia, an increasingly defiant Weatherill angrily re-raised the call, plunging his entire state into darkness and announcing a plan to spend $550 million on building a giant battery (that won’t generate any energy because… it’s a battery) and a gas fired power station that won’t be used unless he says it’s ok:
‘Do these guys think I’m not serious or something? Is this some sort of Tasmanian, Victorian or Canberran joke that us South Australians don’t get?
Have they got the cajones to shut down a whole state? Are they going to spend half a billion not to generate any power? Please. Spare me. As you can see, I’m unpredicable – I’ll do anything. You just never know when I’ll cut the power or make the spot price go over $1,000 per mW/h. I’ll even put Adele in the dark if I have to. That wasn’t just anybody who kicked over the cord at her gig – it was me!!!’.
On hearing Weatherill’s stern words, Victoria and Tasmania immediately folded their climate credentials in a quivering heap. Meanwhile, the ever-cool Turnbull unflinchingly re-raised his hand – announcing an audacious plan to make power happen by literally pushing s*** up a hill:
‘Putting people into darkness – that’s, uh, so Kim Jong Un of Jay. He obviously doesn’t know that I’ve got the Snowys. I can pump water up the hill, take energy out of the whole damn grid and call it nation building. I even get to explain the challenges while I’m at it and I love doing that.
Blowing half a billion on energy projects that don’t generate energy is nice and all, but I’ve just p***** away $2 billion here to actually make energy go backwards. I can also keep taking out loans to do this sort of stuff until the cows come home’.
Australia now nervously awaits Weatherill’s next move…
In the meantime, you could be forgiven for feeling a little bit like Gene Wilder’s character (Dave) in this scene – particularly at 1min 30sec: