Australian companies are powering ahead with renewable energy, partly because the Australian Federal government decided it should be a world leader in showing the way on handling global warming. The left-leaning Labor government, under pressure to stay in power by connecting with the Greens, recently passed a Greens-favored Carbon Tax.
This was the same Carbon Tax the Prime Minister promised would never happen. First, the minority government decided it could remain in power by dropping its reins on the Green Horse. That was the easy part. The wily Greens then put their saddle on the government horse and took control over it, forcing the Prime Minister’s promise of “No Carbon Tax,” to become an outright lie.
Australians even confronted the Prime Minister in the street, asking her why she lied to them. That had the obvious effect of freezing the PM’s outside appearances.
A few weeks ago, the government, supported by the supercharged Greens, brought the legislation to the parliament and got it passed. The conservative opposition has promised to repeal it, but unless something unusual happens, the government will ride the Carbon Tax until November 2013.
Until then, as long as the government doesn’t fall, “gross polluters,” whatever that really means, will pay massive taxes that will cripple their growth, and the government will get to play with huge amounts of money. Prices for almost everything in Australia will rise. The government says it will redistribute the taxes, somehow managing to take away the pain of price rises from other businesses and households.
Some of the “gross polluters” are energy companies. They may be forced to shut down, destroying their businesses and unbalancing the power generating system. These companies may be able to get massive write-offs and pay no tax. Australians may have to put up with an intermittent power supply, as industry sucks up available power. Some Australians will lose their jobs, but in the big scheme of things, the government thinks all this is acceptable, in the name of fixing global warming.
The problem is, Australia can’t fix global warming, even if the Labor government drives all Australians back to the Stone Age.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is out to prove a point, to show that Australia can lead by example. Whether Australia and Australians win or lose, it will most certainly be an example – either of what to do, or what not to do.
Treasury modeling says all will be well. Australians hope the Treasury is right, but many are bracing for the worst. Many Australians think the government has “Buckley’s chance” of pulling this off.
Buckley’s chance, Buckley’s hope. A very slim chance; forlorn hope.
The downside of shutting down the “gross polluting” coal power stations, is that there isn’t enough reliable renewable energy to handle “base load.” This one inconvenient fact could signal dark clouds ahead, even though the dark clouds from brown coal power stations may disappear.
Some, of course, see opportunity beyond dark clouds, and that is where Australia’s CBD Energy Limited comes in. They are counting on bright sunshine for their future, possibly with some government support, or at least encouragement.
“CBD Energy,” a renewable energy company based in Sydney, Australia, trading on the Australian Stock Exchange as ASX:CBD, has put some of its money into Westinghouse Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEST), based in the USA.
Westinghouse Solar designs and manufactures solar power systems. CBD Energy placed an equity investment with Westinghouse Solar, and the companies are exploring a broader strategic relationship.
CBD Energy and their solar subsidiary eco-Kinetics, are growing rapidly in Australia. Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar, says “These cooperative efforts will help us extend our technology and distribution partnerships on a larger international scale. In particular, this partnership will allow us to extend our Westinghouse Solar brand to Australia.”
“As the Australian market grows and solar panels become more commoditized, it is critical to offer products and services that stand out.”
– Gerry McGowan, CEO of CBD Energy
Westinghouse Solar designed integrated AC and DC components into their solar panels. This innovation helps reduce installed costs, and CBD Energy expects to include the Westinghouse Solar technology in the solar panels they distribute and manufacture in Australia. CBD also has customers and business partners in Europe and elsewhere.
In 2007, Westinghouse Solar pioneered the concept of integrating the racking, wiring and grounding directly into the solar panel. In 2009, the first integrated AC solar panel reduced the number of components for a rooftop solar installation by 80 percent and lowered labor costs by 50 percent. The first AC panel won the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, and is the industry’s most widely installed AC solar panel.
According to a press release issued by Westinghouse, “Under the terms of the investment, Westinghouse Solar issued common stock at a price of $0.60 per share for gross proceeds of $1,000,000. Westinghouse Solar will use the additional working capital from the investment to help fund the company’s continued growth in the US market. Further information on the investment is available in the company’s 8-K filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Each company was advised by their own financial advisors. Chardan Capital Markets for CBD Energy, and Cantor Fitzgerald for Westinghouse Solar.