Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
Things have been grim for NSW coal generators, so grim that the NSW government could only manage to get $1 million for a 1320 MW power station with a replacement cost of $2 billion. Yet there are signs it could be the steal of the century.
We know that brown coal generators are the biggest polluters but we've made little in-roads into reducing their emissions via a wide array of policy measures. Should taxpayers foot the bill to shut one of them down or should we just pick out Hazelwood and force it to shut? We propose a better market-based alternative.
The latest CEDEX index for power sector shows black coal continuing its recovery since the carbon price was repealed and renewables went into a review-induced investment freeze. In addition Queensland's power demand is spiking upwards while other states' demand remain flat.
The assumptions underpinning the International Energy Agency's projections of the growth of renewable energy and the countries' follow-through on emission reductions have been criticised as unrealistically pessimistic and out-of-date. Even so they still see a radical shift in the world's energy market.
Contrary to the assertions of some, electricity networks will be vital in any effort to decarbonise our power system. The issue is whether we allow the growth of solar and batteries to be driven by the value they create or their ability to shift costs onto others.
If you believe some in the media we are apparently at imminent risk of suffering serious blackouts as a result of proliferating solar panels and wind farms. But is that what the energy market operator actually said?
Global coal consumption fell by between 90 and 180 million tonnes in the first half of this year — the largest drop on record. A small gain in India was overwhelmed by declines across the rest of the world.