Uncertainty in Australian solar policy rears its ugly head

depressed businessman

CEO of First Solar reacts to Abbott’s latest speech on energy policy

One recurring, if unfortunate, theme of these pages has been the constant spectre of uncertainty in Australian solar policy. We’ve ranted before about why Australia should be led by more forward thinking pollies in both Canberra and the state capitals but bugger it, when you’re onto a good thing, why not continue?

So here goes, Rant #234 about the paucity of Australian solar policy leadership… [Read more...]

Big Clive throws weight behind 20 percent renewable energy target. Or does he?

clive palmer

Thumbs up for Solar? Or not?

Well the big solar news this week was provided by a Big Man. Big Clive to be precise. Yes finally the message of sustainability, affordability and keeping the environment for future generations was played out through the mainstream media. More precisely through Big Clive Palmer’s endorsement of his W.A. Senate PUP candidate’s ringing praise for the 20 percent renewable energy target.

Splattered all over the front pages and on our national broadcaster was the man famous for bloody big holes in the ground, Titanics, grandiose press conferences, collecting mining leases and pouring billions into the formation of his very own lobby group…er political party. [Read more...]

ANU and Trina Solar Panels smash solar efficiency targets.

a solar cell

Trina and ANU are making kick-ass solar cells together!

With the start of the NRL (AFL just around the corner), the Spring cycling classics in Europe and as women’s and men’s football and others reach the pointy end of their respective seasons, its a case of too much teamwork is barely enough for your correspondent. However a more important form of teamwork was announced late last month. Chinese solar manufacturers Trina and our very own Australian National University (ANU) have combined to create a new, super conversion efficiency in solar cells. This has the potential to make Trina solar panels even more cost effective.

[Read more...]

The gutting of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation: is Howard a ray of hope?

John Howard and a ray of light

Is John Howard a CEFC fan?

Just when you thought the gathering of the dark clouds of the new government’s blitzkrieg against renewable energy initiatives was complete, a tiny ray of sunshine bursts through the gathering gloom. Or has it? I speak this week of the uncertainty over the dumping of the showcase Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The ray of sunshine, if it is such, comes in the unlikely form of Arthur “Svengali” Sinodinos, who many will remember as being one of the inner cabal that served John “carbon tax” Howard, noted PM and Australia’s worst off spinner.

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Why the government’s direct action sideshow is a joke

An infographic showing why the government's direct action sideshow is a joke.

“Direct Action” is nothing more than a sideshow. Do you agree?

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Bushfires in Australia: who’s going to talk about the elephant in the room?


Photo Credit: flickr user bertknot

A worrying time for your correspondent this week readers as bushfires, which have claimed well over a hundred properties continue to rage in my region of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

While my town is safe for now, bushfires rage further up the Mountains and down in the Lower Mountains where over the bulk of property loss has occurred. This is not to ignore other bushfires in Australia occurring in other tinder-dry regions where unseasonably hot conditions and lack of decent rain is a major problem.

Now is not the time to pontificate as the emergency situation is still very real according to the Rural Fire Service however when the time comes for sitting down and evaluating the loss, will the subject of a changing climate be included? Controversy rages higher than any bushfire on this subject with many people saying that the jury is still out on the human cause of climate change. This is not to dismiss their point of view. [Read more...]

Where are the visionary leaders that can make Australia (and the world) 90% renewable?

JFK at rice uni

JFK talking about the space effort at Rice University in 1962 Pic: jfklibrary.org

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American to the moon and back before the end of the decade. No one had any idea if it was even possible. The technology needed had yet to be invented. Now that’s what I call visionary leadership.

Next month will be the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.  What a stark contrast JFK is to the current crop of pollies in Australia (and most of the world for that matter).

If we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change in our children’s lifetimes we desperately need a politician or two with JFK’s vision to take charge. [Read more...]

What does the Rudd return mean for solar power?

The big news in Australian politics during the week was of course the return of the Queensland kid, aka The Ruddster, The Nerdy One etc. The Machiavellian machinations of the Australian Labor Party which allowed the regurgitation of Kevin Rudd has done wonders to kick start a moribund election campaign, but what effect will this have on the party’s solar power policy?

At the time of writing Heavy Kevvy had just announced his new front bench. [Read more...]

Solar and the dreaded budget (Part 2)

House_of_Reps_Doorway.Credit. SimonEast

Will solar suffer in the Battle for Bums on Seats?

All solar fans’ eyes were turned to the budget this week as Treasurer Wayne “The Knife” Swan brought down his sixth budget (gee doesn’t time fly Swanny?). So how did solar energy (and renewables in general) fare in the Budget? Did we do OK ? Or was it a case of solar energy being once again the target as cuts are made? [Read more...]

The dreaded Budget: How to avoid solar energy cuts


Treasurer Swan’s alleged tools of trade.

As the Federal Budget approaches, renewable energy supporters — including solar power fans — tend to get a bit twitchy. You know the deal folks, Julia “The Ranga Boss Lady” Gillard tells Wayne “The Knife” Swan that we’re not getting enough revenue from the carbon tax and to go find some more.

The Knife then goes through the options: Tax polluters more? Pop round Gina “The Big G” place with the hat asking for more shekels Oliver Twist-style? Try another, fairer, mining tax? [Read more...]