By Alan Moran
Rio Tinto’s [Paywall] announced closure of its aluminium smelter in New Zealand due to uncompetitive power prices is a reminder of the vulnerability of Australia’s four remaining smelters, all of which face sharply higher prices courtesy of government energy policies. With energy costs comprising about a third of their total costs, smelters are industry’s bellwethers of future energy competitiveness and all four of Australia’s are on national suicide watch.
As a result of subsidies to wind and solar, these expensive and unreliable energy sources have caused high customer costs, both directly and indirectly, while also diverting the nation’s investment resources into avenues that actually damage the economy.
Commonwealth and state subsidies to wind and solar energy are running at just under $7 billion a year. $4 billion of these are as a result of requirements imposed on consumers by the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target, its similar provisions…
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