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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

energy politics « Previous | |Next »
January 25, 2012

In Will the next GFC turn out Vic lights? Andrew Herington at Climate Spectator highlights the risk of stranded assets amongst the coal-fired power generator companies in Victoria:

In 2010 it was reported that the Latrobe Valley generators had a combined $9 billion in debt to be rolled over by 2015. Some power companies may already be close to insolvency, facing massive asset write downs on their power stations – in particular, Morwell, Hazelwood, Yallourn W and even Loy Yang A and B. The stark reality of the new carbon pricing regime is that, despite free credits being available in the early years, the viability of long-term operations will be closely scrutinised in 2012 as companies struggle with massive refinancing costs.

The context for this massive challenge on debt re-financing is the deregulation and privatisation of Victoria’s electricity industry, the emergence of world-wide banking credit crisis from events in Europe, and the declining quality of existing infrastructure – our 40-50 year-old coal-fired power stations have basically passed their use-by date.

This context highlights the struggle for control over this basic form of energy, which many have traditionally seen as an essential public service.

You can see why the powerful vested interests associated with the coal industry are fighting to prevent both the emergence of renewable energy technologies --solar and wind-- and increased energy efficiency. They have succeeded in ensuring that the carbon price,is too low for at least a decade to assist significantly in building the market for large-scale solar power.

The reason Australia has such a piecemeal and ineffective set of solar policies is the immense political power of Australia’s big greenhouse polluters--- the coal industry. This is an industry that receives huge continuing subsidies to the production and use of fossil fuels yet opposes subsidies to renewable sources of energy associated with the federal Renewable Energy Target and the remaining state-based feed-in tariffs.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:58 PM | | Comments (1)


Solar policies would be good but power outages would be far more effective in getting people to put panels on their roofs.