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).
A deal between the government and crossbench senators to cut the large-scale RET to 32,500GWh may actually work out better for the renewable energy industry than waiting out for a deal involving Labor. It offers greater upside and less risk of no deal at all.
SunEdison has now proved that the low power prices for large-scale solar power achieved in India and Brazil were no fluke, contracting to build 350MW in Chile. It will have all the competing technologies such as wind, gas and nuclear feeling decidedly uncomfortable.
The COAG position leaves the generators on the back foot as they try to steer supply and demand back in their favour. Utilities may now increase their focus on undermining new renewables, about which ministers were more vague.
The latest data from Green Energy Markets shows solar PV installations powering on at 75MW for November but with QLD in decline. Meanwhile large scale renewable generation market share has been steadily declining thanks to seasonal factors and little new capacity due to RET uncertainty.
One would hardly describe the foreign minister as an enthusiastic backer of action on climate change, but from her international vantage point she must realise Abbott's ideological blindness must give way to pragmatic reality.
The lobby representing power network companies wants these companies to have the power to mandate custom designed tariffs for specific customers. It's dressed up as being about protecting fairness but it creates a real risk of being used to protect them against competition from new technology.
The government has provided some good news for both rooftop solar and utility-scale wind and solar, telling Climate Spectator there'll be no changes to eligibility under the small-scale renewable energy scheme. But questions still remain unanswered.
The PM has made an eerily similar 7.30 Report confession as Julia Gillard did several years ago. Does he realise how silly he sounds accusing others of 'intergenerational theft' while claiming the axing of the carbon tax as a great achievement?
Privatisation is obviously not a dirty word but nor is climate change in NSW's corridors of power. One National Party MP has even declared the NSW Government will do all in its power to promote renewables. Abbott may be able to learn something from their different approach to Baillieu-Napthine.
One of the world's largest power utilities, E.ON, has announced it will be offloading its conventional energy business to focus on renewables and distributed energy solutions. It carries ominous signs for Australia's power companies about how technology and policy are transforming energy markets.
A highly detailed report looking at a range of geographic locations, household types and 'gas vs electricity' price relativities finds bad news for gas utilities, with the fuel uneconomic versus efficient electric appliances in a wide range of scenarios.
It is extremely odd that the Napthine Victorian government was tossed out after just one term. Anger over the Abbott Government is heavily to blame. They need Turnbull's talent in Treasury to turn the tide of anger.