The slow death of Europe’s utility icon

In witnessing the first annual loss of RWE, we are watching the decline of a once great company. It has been brought down not by mismanagement but by political forces beyond its control. As such, it is a textbook example of political risk. [...]

Opposition power plan unplugged

As economists are aware, regulating network industries is fiendishly difficult. No matter where you stand on the single-buyer model and whether it could be made to work, shocking markets and investors with populist proposals (provoking equally populist responses) is not the way to go about it. [...]

How serious are the Greens about their energy proposal?

To link the debate about the best market structure for the electricity sector to the question of executive pay makes one wonder how sincere the Greens really are about their proposals. Are they driven by the wish to develop and discuss good economic policy? Or is it only about scoring political points? [...]

Wasteful energy

Australia is trying to return the budget to surplus, so a saving of $10 billion would be handy. But blinded by activism and without a sense of economic logic, Australia is bound to waste both money and energy. [...]

A Waste of Energy: Why The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is redundant

The federal government’s plans to establish a Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) should be scrapped. As a commercially oriented company, it competes with private investors. As a company with a public mandate, it nevertheless aims to serve a public policy goal. These dual purposes are hard to reconcile. [...]

A zero-sum carbon game

As Groucho Marx once put it, you have to learn from the mistakes of others because you can never live long enough to make them all yourself. If Australian policymakers heeded his warning they could save the $10 billion they are prepared to commit to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. [...]

No fuel like an old fuel: Germany’s nuclear reaction provides a win for coal

Energy companies are finding their profitable business models invalidated, national energy security is undermined by reliance on electricity imports, and instead of shifting towards renewable energies Germany's energy future lies in subsidised coal. Fear and green populism were bad counsellors indeed when Germany drew the wrong lessons from the Fukushima accident. [...]

Myth of green jobs is leading to industrial decline

In Germany, subsidies for renewable energies are paid for by energy users. Renewable energy suppliers can feed their production into the grid at guaranteed high prices; the additional cost of green electricity is passed on to private and business energy users. [...]