19 February 2019
The Chairman of the Saltbush Club, Mr Jerry Ellis, today warned that Australia needs more reliable baseload power.
“With the population and the economy growing, but with electricity availability and reliability in decline, we are racing headlong into a brick wall of blackouts.
“Recession and disruption will probably follow, bringing to mind those memorable 1990 words of Paul Keating: ‘This is the recession we had to have’. Except in this case the recession will be self-inflicted.
“Much of my working life was in the steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s. It operated 24×7, with large numbers of electric motors requiring a continuous supply of low-cost electrical power. Un-planned interruptions were rare, but when they occurred they were very costly.
“Now we face the prospect of planned and unplanned loss of power due to the rundown of base-load power capacity. It must be a nightmare for today’s steelmakers and aluminium refineries facing this growing crisis.
“It is essential that Australia rebalances economic imperatives against populist ideas regarding the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
“A strong Australian economy is crucial to Australia’s welfare and will also make a valuable contribution to world prosperity.
“Australia produces a tiny proportion of the world’s carbon dioxide. Even total closure of our industry would have no detectable impact on carbon dioxide emissions or global climate.
“We urgently need new supplies of reliable energy from coal, gas, hydro or nuclear.”
Jerry Ellis was supported by Sir Rod Carnegie, former Managing Director, CEO and Chairman of CRA (Rio Tinto) who said:
“It is essential that Australia regains its reputation for cheap reliable electricity or we will lose our manufacturing and refining industries, returning only to our backbone industries of agriculture and mining”.
Jerry Ellis once managed Australia’s biggest steelworks at Port Kembla, and one of the world’s largest mining enterprises BHP minerals. He is a past Chairman of BHP and of Landcare.
Sir Rod Carnegie
PA Phone: 0419 329 700