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).
The power networks have a trove of data on customer power demand and its effects on their network, yet barely share - leaving us scrambling to measure things like solar's impact, or lack thereof, on network peaks.
Fixed charges create delays in the parity dates for solar-plus-storage, saving some of power utilities' volume. But this delay comes at a cost, both of customer goodwill and the opportunity to align the interests of solar and storage owners with those of the grid at large.
There is a looming market in Australia to help people convert to a solar, efficient all-electric home with an electric-car/battery-system on top. And companies with expertise, like SunEdison and Origin Energy, should dominate potential big bank rivals.
The Infrastructure PM is in deep trouble – private sector capital investment has hit ‘recessionary levels’ and public infrastructure investment has steadily declined since he came to power. He may not realise it, but renewable energy investment may just be his saviour.
It looks as though my worst fears are about to come true; so-called 'tariff reform' will be hijacked by networks not to improve efficiency but to hobble a potential competitor - in solar - under the guise of helping the poor. The regulator must stamp this out.
Most would agree that some renewable policies have previously been poorly implemented, and the Grattan report is right in highlighting these. However measuring their costs against objectives they were not intended to achieve is unfair.
According to promoters of uranium mining stocks we can soon expect a huge boom in nuclear power because there's so many power projects 'planned' to be built. Based on that logic you might be surprised to learn what it means for solar and wind power.
Origin Energy says it now has greater confidence to invest in wind and large-scale solar with prices at a 'level required for new wind projects'. While AGL continues to say its wallet is shut unless gov't moves to address overcapacity by shutting down existing coal plant.
Back in 2009 and even 2011, if all we cared about was reducing the largest amount of emissions within just a few years solar PV would be towards the bottom of the list. Yet in the 3½ years since I left the Grattan Institute solar PV costs have dropped so far that it's worth celebrating rather than lamenting.