Abbott’s divide and conquer rule crucifies renewables industry | RenewEconomy

Abbott’s divide and conquer rule crucifies renewables industry

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First the Abbott government brought the renewable energy industry to a standstill, then it brought it to its knees. Now, it has effectively told it to go and get stuffed. Abbott has crucified Australia’s renewable energy industry by cynically preying on its three major weaknesses – a lack of financial muscle; a lack of unity, and it’s craving for policy certainty.

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First the Abbott government brought the renewable energy industry to a standstill. Then, this week, it brought it to its knees. Now, it has effectively told it to go and get stuffed.

The Abbott government – doing the bidding of the incumbent fossil fuel industry – has crucified the renewable energy industry in Australia by preying on its three major weaknesses: it’s lack of financial muscle; its disparate interests; and it’s craving for policy certainty.

In the past 18 months investment in large-scale renewables has come to a standstill in Australia, even as it accelerates in the rest of the world. In a move it thought would be a calculated risk – but was more an act of desperation – the Clean Energy Council this week tried to broker an agreement between the Coalition and Labor by proposing to split the difference on the renewable energy target between the two major parties.

rsz_australian-wind-farm

It reasoned that something was better than nothing. So, on the same day that yet another poll revealed overwhelming public support for renewable energy, the peak body went to the government with a proposal that it knew was barely enough to sustain the industry, and would slash projected investment over the next five years by $5 billion, and jobs by around 3,000.

It was a risk, and it could turn out to be a spectacular failure. The Abbott government, which had started off on the premise that it wanted to kill the RET altogether, refused to budge from its position with industry minister Ian Macfarlane rejecting it out of hand.

Labor, which had fought for a higher target, and had set 35,000GWh on the basis of advice from the industry, appeared dumbfounded, having been told by the industry just a few days earlier that such a target would be intolerable. It promised to consult further.

“Labor has always placed high value on advice from the Clean Energy Council,” Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler said. “Labor would always give serious consideration to CEC positions in consultation with other key stakeholders. However, Labor understands that the government has reaffirmed its refusal to budge from a position of 32,000GWh which remains unacceptable to everyone.”

The CEC’s move this week reflects an industry in crisis. It cannot afford an extended investment drought, and it highlights the divisions within the industry that the Abbott government, and the fossil fuel industry, have so cynically and skillfully exploited.

A priori, the Coalition dislikes wind but may tolerate solar. The fossil fuel industry is fearful of both, because of what each will do to reduce its revenues. The irony is that the Coalition’s position – if it ever got to legislate a much reduced target – may open the door for more wind farms but slam the door on large-scale solar.

As Labor’s Mark Butler pointed out this week, getting unity among the varying technology groups is problematic; the large-scale solar sector, for instance, needs a much higher RET figure because its investments will come a “little later” than wind.

Earlier this week, Butler noted in comments to ABC radio, the industry had met with Macfarlane and agreed that a 32,000GWh would be a disaster and would be worse than no deal whatsoever.

So what has changed? It’s one thing for a politician to say that nothing is better than something, quite another for a peak body to take the same line.

It seems the wind industry – and some in the solar industry too – got cold feet, and rushed to secure any agreement they could before parliament packed up again for another six weeks. With the Budget session approaching, that would mean no agreement for months, if at all.

CSIRO_solar thermal1

The large-scale solar sector – with a different timeline on their investment horizon – was appalled, particularly those technologies still coming down the cost curve. Andrew Want, the head of the Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association, was scathing.

“This is an extraordinary capitulation and betrayal by the CEC,” he wrote in the comments section of RenewEconomy in yesterday’s article. “It appears Government strategy to divide and conquer has been swallowed by the CEC, and CEC has decided the wind sector is where its bread is buttered.”

Want, whose company Vast Solar, is building a commercial pilot project for large-scale solar with storage, says relying on the CEFC and ARENA, as the CEC suggested the industry could do, was no solution. Large-scale solar needed a market, and it needed a target of 38,000GWh to give it room to compete, not a 32,000GWh target.

Others in the solar industry expressed equally strident views. “The CEC has made a decision that does not in any way represent the view of the masses in the renewables Industry,” wrote one in an email to RenewEconomy.

In the past few weeks, RenewEconomy understands that some big solar companies have been pushing for “banding” or reserving some of the capacity of the RET for solar technologies. The wind industry fought against such proposals.

The jockeying between wind and solar should not be a surprise, but it highlights one of the difficulties for a peak body such as the CEC, which in the past has struggled to marry the demands of technologies as diverse as wind, geothermal, wave energy, solar PV and solar thermal – both large-scale and domestic.

CEO Kane Thornton has spoken of the frustration – after years of negotiating rises and expansion in the target – of having to be in a position to negotiate such a savage cut. He points to the position of Pacific Hydro – which in the past month has had to cut 25 per cent of its staff – could cause contagion within the industry.

Infigen Energy, which last year flagged it was facing difficult choices if the market did not recover, and debt write-downs and a crisis in the industry, was the most vocal supporter of the move, saying it was the only way to resolve the impasse that has frozen investment for more than a year. CEO Miles George is also chairman of the CEC.

Infigen, on Thursday, followed this up by publishing an open letter to Abbott, pleading for an agreement. General Electric, the biggest energy supplier in the world, also called for a bipartisan agreement, but it wasn’t talking numbers.

It’s not the first time that CEC tactics to deal with the Coalition have been questioned. In 2013 it urged the then Labor government to back off on legislation to push the next review of the RET out to 2016 – apparently based on threats by Macfarlane. That decision gave the Abbott government the cue, and self anointed justification, to appoint the Warburton review.

Major players in the industry had also offered a compromise – way back in July 2013, to defer the 41,000GWh target, apparently in an attempt to appease the major retailers. The CEC was criticised for being too quick to accede to a request to exempt the aluminium industry.

However, the events of the past 18 months highlight just what a stranglehold the incumbent fossil fuel industry has over the energy sector, and many politicians. There are regular accusations of the extent of “regulatory capture” that results in favourable rulings from pricing regulators and rule makers, effectively building walls to protect incumbent business models.

As former Liberal leader John Hewson said on Thursday: :”The dirty 3 companies are the main reason the Abbott Government is squibbing on its clear election promise to keep the RET at 41,000GWH. All three are complete hypocrites. They claim to support renewable energy while walking the corridors of power, lobbying to undermine it.

“And, unlike renewable energy backed companies, they’ve been getting away with screwing households on their electricity bills by hitting customers with almost obscene profit margins as energy retailers too.”

The issue also threatens to re-open old wounds from the past. The CEC itself has been criticised for its attempts to negotiate from an “inside position”, and for effectively selling its most influential memberships to the big retailers. In effect, allowing the fossil fuel industry to influence its own boardroom.

For several years the CEC was chaired by Richard McIndoe, from EnergyAustralia, a man who once said a carbon price would cause the lights to go out and was no fan of renewables. He was succeeded by AGL boss Michael Fraser, who changed AGL’s green hue by investing billions in becoming the largest owner of coal generation in the country before stepping down as CEC chair.

The CEC’s former CEO, Matthew Warren, a controversial choice when nominated, now heads the Energy Supply Association of Australia – a lobby group for the incumbents – and is a fierce critic of the RET.

Now, the CEC is being accused of catering to its most influential members, which remain large wind energy producers.

Thornton disputes this, saying there are differences among wind energy producers and the solar sector. “This is a broad church,” he says.

“While views varied on the level of target reduction different businesses were willing to accept, a clear majority was prepared to accept a level of 33,500 gigawatt-hours.

“No one is pleased about this, but the damage being done to the sector is massive, and will continue if we can’t find a way to resolve this. We recognise the impact this would have on technological diversity and continue to promote ways to address this issue, including our call to retain the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as part of our proposal to the major parties.”

It should not be forgotten, though, that the industry has been put into this position by the Abbott government which,  despite all the protestations of some of its ministers, never had any intention of doing anything but wind back the renewable energy industry – for the apparent benefit of the coal industry and the satisfaction of its right wing ideologues.

It has been able to do so simply through the creation of policy uncertainty. Environment minister Greg Hunt has harangued RenewEconomy for daring to suggest the Coalition promised not to change the target. Hunt says his pre-election comments were always carefully calibrated – as though obfuscation were a policy virtue. Politically, it may well be.

QUESTION TIME

Australia – having become the first country to ditch a carbon price, is now hurtling in reverse on renewable energy, just as the International Energy Agency credits wind and solar for stalling the 40 year growth in emissions, and it says that wind and solar can carry the bulk of decarbonisation and the energy transformation.

Economic giants such as India and China appear to agree, and have both announced huge additions to their solar and wind energy targets, while analysts around the world hail the arrival of competitively-priced renewables. That, however, does not mean much in Australia, where large-scale renewables are fighting just to stay alive, and to try to dislodge fully depreciated coal-fired generators that have gone beyond their “natural” life.

The one place where solar can make its mark, on rooftops of homes and businesses and behind the metre, and so upturn the nature of an energy sector unchanged for a century, is threatened by regulatory inertia. The regulatory and political capture by the incumbent fossil fuel industry in Australia is almost complete.

The question for the industry that remains is: Where to now?

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57 Comments
  1. Keith 5 years ago

    What a disgrace. Why is the Labor party so passive?

    • Connor Moran 5 years ago

      …. because they captives of fossil fuel too.

      • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

        Rubbish! who do you think brought in the carbon tax, the renewable energy target and the clean energy finance corporation? With the help of the Greens.
        Try to be honest.

        • Connor Moran 5 years ago

          Please. Martin Ferguson tried to do anything and everything to destroy every step of the birth of those concepts. Gillard wanted to dump it as too hard (typical Labor), then couldn’t fight for it once implemented.

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            I just wrote same thing above haha Yes forgot to mention Gillard cold sales pitch:: “blame the greens”

  2. Connor Moran 5 years ago

    Somehow we have to get to 2016. I’ve no idea how and have lost confidence that an ALP-lead Govt would be any different. Apart from noteable examples, the media has gone off reservation on this issue. The crisis is a creation of the Abbott Govt, but the ABC this morning did nothing about talk about the need for compromise – why not take the Govt to task for creating the problem in the beginning? Pathetic ABC.

    • Mags 5 years ago

      The ABC is under the gun too remember.

    • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

      Who do you think brought in the carbon tax, the renewable energy target and the clean energy finance corporation? With the help of the Greens.

      It was Labor – they are NOT both the same!

      • JeffJL 5 years ago

        I think you will find the RET was brought in by Howard.

        • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

          Howard went to the 2007 election supporting some kind of RET (no detail) but didn’t bring it in. Turnbull supported and RET in opposition, and got rolled by climate denier Tony Abbott, and here we are.

          • JeffJL 5 years ago

            The MRET was introduced into Australia in 2001 by the Howard government. Look it up.

        • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

          In short, if Howard HAD brought in an RET we would have one. And we don’t.
          We have no market mechanisms at all, thanks to the LNP wreckers of the economy, and everything along with it.

      • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

        with the help of the greens?! ALP dragged kicking and screaming to secure Greens supply of moneys in Senate and Bandt’s vote in Reps.

        You know Mark Butler only just accepted late last year that RE is even economically a possibility and 100% is not la la land. Progress is great but ALP is way behind the curve.

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      The torries are experts at playing the ABC at their own game. The proposition hang-on, counter-proposition is always put forward. Climate Science, hang on there’s another point of view, what if it’s, er nothing, scientifically, sort of. RET working, hang-on, make up some BS about it driving retail prices up, instant debate. Compromise is only fair right.

      So the ABC engages the debate, probably with presenters getting marching orders from upper management and the board which has more than it fair share of Libs and business enthusiasts. For many years before John Oliver’s 97 Climate Scientists skit I was tweeting Mark Scott about inviting 33 Climate scientist for every lay denialist Lateline/7:30 presented.

  3. Leigh Ryan 5 years ago

    There is no ideological difference between the ALP and LNP, there are only words for deluding the public, both parties are clearly corrupt and corruptible, wake up Australia and don’t vote for either, do your best to cut back on your energy use, install Solar PV and deny old King Coal his profits, close any account held with Origin, AGL or Energy Australia, it’s the Wallet in their pockets that does all the talking, you all know it, so do something about it, the RET is in your hands, not the politicians, do not be hoodwinked.

    • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

      Who do you think brought in the carbon tax, the renewable energy target and the clean energy finance corporation? With the help of the Greens.

      Labor is fighting hard to keep the RET, and so are the Greens.

      Don’t vote Liberal just because your parents did!

      • JeffJL 5 years ago

        Refer to above.

      • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

        If Gillard hadn’t needed Adam Bandt’s vote, former Minister for Fossils, Matin Ferguson would have jumped all over The Green’s CT with glee. ALP only just waking up to RE and EE and fact that it can get the job done. Something the Greens have known for at least 7-8 years, and amongst members for decades.

      • Damien Ellis 5 years ago

        I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to “with the help of the Greens” I think the only way we can decent outcomes from our government is to get the Greens up from minor party status to major party or at least close enough to give Labor and Libs enough of a scare so they take environment (you know the bit of world we actually live in) seriously.

  4. SolarBusiness_ 5 years ago

    An excellent and eloquent summary of the conundrum, Giles. Ultimately, their is a single, ideologically driven Luddite who is responsible for the whole mess.

    The “big onion eater” will undoubtedly go in history for being the oddest, most backward thinking, uninspiring leader we have ever had I’m sure.

  5. Brian England 5 years ago

    As Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association, I am appalled at the events of the last couple of days. The rejection of the offer out of hand by the COALition was expected, as having a resolution would actually allow the renewable industry to start getting back on it’s feet and redress some of the collapsing investment that is happening for renewables.

    What really appalled me was the offer in the first place by the CEC. Neither the Solar Energy Industries Association or the Australian Solar Council, as major stakeholders representing a large number of solar industry bodies and installers, were contacted for a view on a possible offer to the Government. The presumption was that they were speaking on our behalf, which they are not. I would be interested to find out if the major solar suppliers and manufacturers were contacted either.

    The offer made has all the hallmarks of a wind industry agenda, and I am happy for them, but not if it comes at the expense of the solar industry.

    The only way things will change is if we vote with our feet. Either the Government needs to go at the next election (what replacement do we have and can we wait that long?) or Turnbull gets a shot at the top but with a revamped front bench and a new product, not a new sales pitch for the existing product.

    We can also vote with our feet when it comes to the big 3 energy retailers who are, according to John Hewson on the latest GETUP post, driving the Government’s agenda while pretending to support solar. These 3 are Origin, AGL and Energy Australia and we can choose to change our retailer to one who supports the RET and solar, such as PowerShop. Maybe when they see their bottom line on a slide they may wake up to the reality of the new world we are entering and start playing a productive role in the transition.

  6. Jason 5 years ago

    if this makes you angry- call Labor – call your green candidate in your are- call people- call the minister hunt- get off your ass and get involved- call them- email them! make damn sure your voice is heard- MARCH ! DO NOT SUCCUMB TO THE FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS- nothing of this size ever gets done without a fight! SO FIGHT GODDAMMIT GET INTO THE FIGHT!!!

    • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

      I was in the fight and nobody backed me.

  7. Jason 5 years ago

    in your are = in your area

  8. Farmer Dave 5 years ago

    Jeremy Leggett is right – this is war. (Jeremy Leggett latest free ebook, to be released in monthly installments is “The Winning of the Carbon War”, and I recommend it.) The war is between the incumbent fossil fuel companies and all other life on the planet. Unfortunately, it is all too clear whose side the Abbott Government is on. On whose side is the Australian Labor Party?

    Great call to arms, Jason!

    • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

      Who do you think brought in the carbon tax, the renewable energy target and the clean energy finance corporation? With the help of the Greens.

      • JeffJL 5 years ago

        If you say this enough somebody may believe you. See above.

    • John Silvester 5 years ago

      Thanks for the heads-up on the Jeremy Leggett eBook.

      I found a presentation by Jeremy Leggett on YouTube on the book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=I2EMFCdsIOE
      It’s a bit long but very wide ranging.

  9. Tommyk82 . 5 years ago

    I understand the move by the CEC. The renewable energy industry is under siege. Supply lines are blocked, no food or water getting in or out. The government is for the most part happy to watch us starve and sees little pressure in any form of negotiation. Their only motivation for resolution appears to be the aluminium industry which I assume they’ve promised to compensate in any case. I suppose if the CEC wasn’t accepting their gunpoint demands this would go on until 2016 when the current government is replaced with the lesser evil.

  10. Coley 5 years ago

    Perhaps the answer is a media and advertising campaign paid for by the RE sector to highlight the problem and urging the public to defect from the big three and to lobby their representatives?

    • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

      Unfortunately the big 3 have about 3 billion times more money.

      • Coley 5 years ago

        Aye thanks to Joe public, who given the right information can hammer the big three where it hurts.
        Over here,thanks to advertising many people are moving to an RE company called ecotricity, cheaper and green with it, is there not a similar utility provider in Australia?

  11. riley222 5 years ago

    Abbott is as cunning as the proverbial s***house rat. Don’t expect any joy until he goes ,one way or ‘tuther.
    In a sort of perverse way I hope he leads the Libs to the next one, which will increase the chances of his ratbag mates losing their ascendency too.
    Remember, he IS as cunning as all getout, the next one won’t be fought on renewables, thats for sure. It’ll be scare, scare,scare.
    He’s already lining things up for the next one . Actually doing anything to benefit OZ runs a long last, as he continually shows.

  12. Brian Innes 5 years ago

    The CEC position of a strategic retreat is both pragmatic and sensible. The current battle is hurting everyone and we only need an agreement to get through the next 12 months. This can be seen as a liberal party floor position and developers can start talking about the upside of change in govt.

    Economics and common sense says the renewable sector will win the war, however the battle hurts everyone. Whilst we wait for a change of govt/leader a smaller target which helps shovel ready wind and ARENA grants and CEFC money which are focused on solar will be enough to keep everyone fed, whilst developers keep a close eye on the polls.

    Not perfect but better than the alternative of a protracted battle.

    • Geoff James 5 years ago

      Brian, I feel sorry for the CEC and for those about to lose their RE jobs, but sadly a protracted battle is likely to happen regardless of a short-term strategic retreat. Going down with all guns blazing is the metaphor that attracts me more, and I’d have preferred to see the CEC in a more glorious mantle, but whatever our own preferences, this will be a continuing struggle. They’re playing dirty so we need to play hard. And we will come through – the only variable is the amount of pain and suffering along the way. Geoff.

    • Rikaishi Rikashi 5 years ago

      You’re assuming that the LNP will allow a resolution that will keep everyone fed. We know that their goal is to destroy the industry and they have no reason to allow a resolution which fails to achieve that goal. Capitulating to their demands will probably just prompt them to shift the goal-posts or hold out for the destruction of the CEFC and ARENA.

  13. Rob 5 years ago

    Someone should erect a very large headstone in a prominent place in Australia as a memorial to an industry that could have been, but which was snuffed out at birth instead. A memorial mourning the passing of a vibrant young industry that could have been part of what is tipped to be a trillion dollar global industry in the years ahead. An industry helping to produce clean, sustainable and renewable energy that would have helped us contribute to the global effort to limit climate change. An industry in which Australians have already made their mark with important scientific and technological breakthroughs. An industry that most Australians want to grow and flourish. An industry which all Australians could take pride in. And on this memorial, chiseled in stone, should be the names of all those who brought about its demise. Lest We Forget.

    • Pedro 5 years ago

      It is not widely known or acknowledged that Australia has always been a leader in the development of RE systems. Before the world wide grid connect market, Australia had the highest/capita uptake of solar PV worldwide. We have world class PV scientists (Martin Green) who are constantly at the cutting edge of PV efficiency. The sad fact is that successive Australian governments have squandered our RE expertise and never provided adequate funding to commercialize the technology developed here. Martin Greens protege set up shop in China and founded Suntech. The company I would argue made the world wide boom in grid connected PV possible. It could have been Australia exporting 10GW + of PV/year, which would have made our coal exports look paltry in comparison.

      • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

        I have been filming a documentary detailing exactly this- I have interviewed Martin Green, Stuart Whenam, Zenrong Shi and lately Tony Windsor. I planned to tell the story of RE in Australia, starting at the site of the first anti-wind protests of 1870 through to today… I wonder now if there really is an audience for this information.?
        Please, someone, anyone, tell me I haven’t wasted the time of these great men…. my time doesn’t matter, (I’ve just being told quite loudly that I am nothing) but the interviews are awesome and full of compelling information.

        • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

          Sounds really interesting Andrew. If you need post production let me know.

        • Pedro 5 years ago

          Sound like an excellent project. Get my personal email off Giles and I can pass on some more contacts worth interviewing. Westwind did some amazing stuff to do with Wind turbine gearing back in the day. Selectronic as well have been around for 50 years and are were key in developing offgrid sine wave inverters in this country. Rainbow Power company among others spent a lot of time and effort interpreting AS3000 standards for ELV DC systems incorporating RE sources.

        • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

          NEVER GIVE UP! It’s a great idea, you are half way there, don’t stop now!!!

      • Concerned 5 years ago

        Naïve

        • Pedro 5 years ago

          In what way?

        • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

          It’s naive to keep doing what you’ve always done, bag others and do nothing constructive yourself.
          Not just naive, hopeless.

  14. Renate 5 years ago

    The reports that the offer by the CEC represents the position of renewable energy industry are misleading. Giles has captured this early in this excellent piece that the strategy of divide and conquer has proven effective.

    The Australian PV Institute (APVI) retains its position that no change in the 41,000 GWh target is warranted and that the policy makers need to be looking beyond 2020. The APVI, representing its members in the solar industry, relies on the facts around the cost and forecast needs for energy and not the politics of the moment. With the increasing age of much of Australia’s energy infrastructure, we need to be investing to allow for the retirement of old plant. The average age of Australia’s coal power fleet is 30 years. By 2030, more than half the plant will be 40 years old. We need a plan and vision for the future.

    The APVI has been in discussion with various lobby groups about backing a position on the RET but when it was clear that a negotiated position less than 38,000 GWh was the end-game we’ve withdrawn and have not lent the APVI name to advocating for a lower target.

    As a a solar industry association, we’ve taken a position to our membership and in our representations to various parties that there is not a case for a change in the RET.

    The government’s own analysis, through the RET review did not present a reasonable argument for a change.

    The pressure now is an urgent economic pressure felt by some of the larger players that arises from the uncertainty – but this is equally an argument for no change and allowing the RET to continue as legislated rather than settling on a compromised RET outcome.

    We need a greater vision and decisions made on the facts rather than the politics.

    • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

      Foolishly Renate, I tried to provide a point of focus for the Industry to send a message to Baird that we wanted REnewbles and my post-election vote count is just so terrible at 0.06% that it is hard to comprehend it could be that bad. The result is just so terrible that it is actually really funny.
      I want an award for the ‘Worst Election Result in History’ from the next Renewable Energy conference please, can you let them know.
      It would be the only way I would be invited to attend.

  15. electroteque 5 years ago

    Liberal party economics 101. Kill it in one swift move.

    • Rikaishi Rikashi 5 years ago

      This is more a case of killing by slow asphyxiation over two to three years.

      • electroteque 5 years ago

        Since September 2013

    • electroteque 5 years ago

      They haven’t even implemented direct action and was criticised by experts as a fraud. It’s a money laundering scheme. They haven’t even implemented an ETS review they “promised” as part of their “deal” Its a binding contract and they have breached it already 🙂

      • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

        They did a review by Dick Warberton, a well know climate change denier, with links to the fossil fuel industry.
        Total waste of taxpayers money. The LNP keeps doing fake “reviews” to tell them to do what they were going to do all along.

    • electroteque 5 years ago

      Meanwhile gas prices went up the day of the repeal. Power prices really have stayed the same. People still blinded ? perhaps once they sell the distribution and generators to the chinese and then tax payers have to buy it all back at twice the price 😀

  16. michael 5 years ago

    why do they lack financial muscle? (one of your three key weaknesses) i’ve read many reports on here about investment banks (such as UBS) trumpeting reaching parity shortly and FF death spirals etc… seems like a disconnect
    every time there’s a positive analyst report on solar it’s put in lights as to how ‘stupid’ everyone else is, but when it comes to accessing cash, somehow these investment banks apparently aren’t putting their money in… can’t have it both ways

  17. Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

    I (foolishly) stood as a Renewable Energy advocate/candidate in the NSW election. I put together a group to contest the Upper house and received an ‘above-the-line’ group voting square.. a rare thing for a group of Actual independents to achieve.
    Our vote, as a group, is currently standing at around 0.06%, or 1800 votes from the entire NSW voter pool of 4 million voters. This is an astonishingly terrible result..I question is it me? Is it what I promoted?? Or is it that the RE industry didn’t know, didn’t care, or ignored the opportunity to get behind the first REnergy candidate and make a statement.? Even a little statement.
    Am I so offensive to the industry, as a Solar-Farm owner and builder, that none of you could be bothered to vote for me.. honestly, I would like to know. Why do you think that Abbott has treated the industry as he has.. I can say honestly it is because he can.
    Take the ‘North Shore’ electorate for example, there are a lot of solar businesses based there and you would think, with that, smart people.. from this electorate of maybe 50,000 voters we received just 1 vote. Just 1 single vote.

    I didn’t think you could actually get such a terrible result- yet I have now proven that you can.

    Please, have a great laugh at my expense (around $15k), have a joke, take the piss out of me for thinking that I could do something for this industry. Join me in this laugh, because thats about the only thing I can do with what must be the most terrible result possible in a state, Upper house, election.

    And the last word.. you have lost my support. I will do my own thing now.

    • Social responsibility is dead. 5 years ago

      Good on you for trying – I agree, a very disappointing result.
      Have you considered joining the Greens – please don’t believe what you read in MSM – they have excellent economic and social policies, as well as support for renewable industries.

  18. neroden 5 years ago

    Abbott’s attack on the solar and wind industries will not stop the installation of solar and wind. It will simply damage the *domestic* Australian companies. In a couple of years, when the price advantage of renewables becomes so large that every household and business will be clamoring to swatch to renewables, *foreign* companies (which built themselves up selling to other markets) will be ready and eager to sell to Australians.

    Abbott hates Australian business. He apparently wants to let Chinese businesses take over the Australian renewable energy market.

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