January 21, 2013
Well, they could come clean about what is happening to the demand for electricity, and the reasons for its rising cost for a start. Then they could add to that by acknowledging that the National Electricity Market is in chronic failure mode.
But why bother with this line of reasoning. Partisanship to deeply divide Australia, not good policy, is what drives the Liberal Party today. Climate denialism is what holds the Abbott Liberal Party together. This means that we need to dump the idea of “independent” regulatory agencies or a “scientific” bureaucracy.
We know that the energy policy of a forthcoming Coalition government would be ruled by the intense lobbying of the fossil fuel and alumium industries protecting their own interests that are threatened by the emergence and growth of renewable energy. The Coalition would dump the climate change department, get rid of Climate Change Authority because they would not want independent advice on climate change, emissions reduction and renewable energy, repeal carbon pricing , and use taxpayer revenue to pay polluters to reduce their emissions.
Even the Big Miners are starting to embrace solar energy in response to soaring fossil fuel costs, particularly diesel. It's more cost effective in Chile to do so. Some renewable energy technologies are already cost-competitive with fossil fuels and many others would currently be so if existing subsidies for fossil fuels were eliminated, and external costs of energy production and use (including climate change, other environmental and health impacts) were included in the price.
It is well known renewables face opposition from entrenched and vested interests, which take advantage of their significant market power and political influence to safeguard their positions. Consequently, public energy policy is distorted as a result of excessive influence by set of fossil fuel interests at the expense of others. It's called regulatory capture and its well known in the economic literature.