22 August 2018

Capping electricity prices: a quick fix with hidden risks

Governments have got the message: Australians are angry about electricity prices. The federal government has made a decisive shift away from reducing emissions to reducing prices. The good news is that price caps will probably work as advertised. The bad news is that capping prices could also have unintended consequences.

21 August 2018

How the federal government can get to NEG 2.0

The good ship NEG had almost unanimous support from the energy sector’s suppliers and customers. Yet it has been deliberately run aground by the captain and his mutinous crew. Australians are left to wonder what can be salvaged from the wreck, and what the grounding means for investors and consumers.

21 August 2018

We should mourn the NEG, latest victim of the ‘political slaughterhouse’

For more than a decade, integrated energy and climate policy has been the desired pathway to affordable, reliable and low-emissions electricity. One of the more credible vehicles to get us on that pathway, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), is the latest victim of the political slaughterhouse in Canberra that passes for government. Its death should be mourned by us all.

15 August 2018

All sides of the climate wars should give the NEG a chance

Australian homes and businesses need lower electricity prices. How to make that happen is now a three-way debate between federal Labor, the federal government and a vocal minority in the government. Addressing climate change has been downgraded or vilified.

17 July 2018

AEMO’s new electricity plan is neither a death knell nor a shot in the arm for coal

Beholders of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan (ISP) see different futures for coal-fired generation: it’s either on the way out; or it’s going to be needed for decades; or perhaps even new coal plants should be built.

13 July 2018

Policy overload: why the ACCC says household solar subsidies should be abolished

The keenly awaited report on retail electricity prices, released this week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has made some controversial recommendations – not least the call to wind up the scheme that offers incentives for household solar nearly ten years early.

12 July 2018

Argument for subsidies has no power in economic merit based world

Australians need energy policy that is driven by neither green evangelism for renewables nor a deep-seated fear to protect the role of coal for baseload power.

12 July 2018

The ACCC has produced vital ammunition to reform energy

On Wednesday, the ACCC released its highly anticipated report on electricity affordability. This report complements the Finkel blueprint that focused on reliability and security and the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) that integrates energy and climate policy. The ACCC concludes that the National Electricity Market (NEM) has not worked for consumers and must be reset. It is unsparing in its criticism of the market participants, governments and the regulatory bodies. Its recommendations will leave none of them untouched.

2 July 2018

Higher energy prices are here to stay – here’s what we can do about it

The good news is that after two years of big rises, wholesale electricity prices have fallen somewhat since mid-2017. The bad news is that prices are still much higher than they have been for most of the past 20 years. And the worse news is that we had better get used to these high prices.

1 July 2018

Why politicians have to stop promising to cut electricity prices

Australian households and businesses are waiting with intense frustration for governments to fix the problem of high energy prices. But they will not easily forgive the same governments for more blackouts, or for failing to confront the challenge of climate change. Herein lies the trilemma for governments and the reason for the intense policy debate on the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).