As the current Liberal member for Hume, Angus Taylor has followed in the footsteps of predecessor Alby Schultz and is an active campaigner against wind farms. Both Schultz (who is newly appointed Patron to the Waubra Foundation) and Taylor appeared at the lacklustre anti-wind farm rally held at Parliament House in June, 2013.
“[A]ll the taskforce members, except for Mr Reith, represent energy companies or associated industries and lobby groups,” writes ABC journalist Jeff Waters.
The Napthine government has not made the Reith Review public, though it reportedly supports unconventional gas extraction in Victoria and an end to the state’s moratorium on fracking.
Taylor’s presence on the pro-CSG taskforce is not the first time the MP has been linked to research supporting the gas industry. According to RenewEconomy, Taylor circulated a report by Port Jackson Partners (a consultancy where he used to work) among Coalition MPs earlier in 2013:
“The central theme of the report is that the Coalition could drop the renewable energy target entirely (and immediately), save up to $3.2 billion (or up to $300 a household) by 2020 and still meet emissions reduction targets. But it’s based around a whole series of false assumptions. It is more likely to push up costs by around $1 billion a year.”
The Port Jackson Partners report overestimates the price of wind, and underestimates the cost of gas. It’s doubtful the PJP analysis considered climate change impacts, the fugitive emissions from unconventional gas extractions, or the potential damage to prime agricultural land and aquifers.
The PJP assessment is contrary to other analysis of the energy sector. In their Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) 2012, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics shows wind energy will outcompete gas in 2020. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis shows wind energy is already cheaper than gas and coal in Australia.
Perhaps Mr Taylor’s track record supporting gas explains why he is so cool on wind energy–given that the renewable energy technology is a major competitor to the gas sector.