Even a hint of political apathy is enough to crash investment.
Clean energy investment falls back to 2016 levels amid policy uncertainty
A new snapshot of Australia’s clean energy sector warns new investment committed in the first half of 2019 has fallen back to 2016 levels, when Tony Abbott invited an investment strike when he tried to abolish the renewable energy target.
While the Morrison government has been trumpeting record recent investment in renewable energy to rebut persistent arguments the Coalition lacks ambition on climate policy, an assessment of the investment outlook prepared by the Clean Energy Council, to be released on Wednesday, warns the positive trend is in danger of abrupt reversal because of the ongoing lack of policy certainty.
“After a record breaking two years of investment in large-scale wind and solar projects, the pace of projects reaching financial close has slowed dramatically over the past two quarters,” the investment outlook says.
“Quarterly investment commitments in new renewable energy projects reached a high of over 4500MW in late 2018, but has since collapsed to less than 800MW in each of the first two quarters of 2019.”
The report says the large-scale RET, which winds down after 2020, led to 15,700MW of new capacity being financially committed over the past two years, with that generation either under construction or recently commissioned.
“But with the absence of policy certainty beyond the 2020 RET and a range of regulatory barriers to overcome, investment commitments in new generation have fallen dramatically this year.”Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/11/clean-energy-investment-falls-back-to-2016-levels-amid-policy-uncertainty
If clean energy is now cheaper than coal, why is the enthusiasm of green energy investors so dependent on the whims of politicians?
The reason of course is that claims green energy is competitive with fossil fuel are a lie, or at best a half truth.
Solar and wind energy supply tends to peak around midday, when electricity demand is low (see the diagram at the top of the page).
But peak demand usually occurs in the evening, when people cook dinner and switch on their home heating or air conditioners after coming home from work.
Solar power plants can’t supply electricity when people want electricity. Even wind turbine operators struggle; the wind tends to die down in the evening.
Without government support renewable operators would struggle to make a profit, because they would be fighting over scraps during low demand periods, and would consistently miss cashing in on peak demand periods.