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).
Energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport would bring Australia’s emissions back to 2005 levels by 2030. Then switching to renewables in the electricity sector, and powering more sectors with that green energy, plus some land use changes and a switch to biofuel and gas in some areas, would finish the job.
$450m has been committed to construction of the Ararat Wind Farm, breaking a two-year investment drought with a bang. But it's not yet clear that passage of the new RET means other investors will flock in, although they probably should.
Despite the vast strides renewables are making on competitiveness, they are still only cheaper than new-build coal and not already-established plants. More policy reform is needed to avoid global electricity emissions soaring.
An opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review this week claimed that increasing investment in renewables and particularly wind will cost consumers billions of dollars. It's worth debunking the claims one by one.
You hear some wild things said against solar, wind and energy efficiency. Among my list of favourite such furphies is that grids can only handle 5% renewables, the developing world will reach Western per capita consumption and merit-order makes solar worthless.
AEMO sees energy efficiency surge waning as consumers recover from bill shock, while lower dollar curtails loss of industrial demand but solar and wind should ensure subdued power prices in the wholesale market, bar Queensland.