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A still from a NSW election ad, run on television and online, which says “selling the electricity network is wrong; selling it to another country is just not on”. CFMEU Mining/YouTube

Playing the China card may win votes, but it’s bad for Australia

Labor and the unions have decided to play the China card in the NSW election. Such scare campaigns ignore the facts, including that Australia has invested almost as much in China as China has here.
In the countdown to the March 28 New South Wales election, social media is a key battleground for persuading swinging voters. @lyon_brendan/Twitter

The marketing battle for NSW hearts and minds on privatisation

Given the history on privatisation in NSW, and facing a more emotionally powerful campaign, the Baird government is actually doing pretty well to be closing in on polling day in a winning position.
Electricity privatisation has delivered big nest eggs for various state governments – but the NSW government’s $A13 billion privatisation price tag risks being undermined by an election pledge and the recent UBS controversy. Dmitry Melnikov from www.shutterstock.com

Electricity privatisation: has the NSW golden goose been plucked?

Electricity privatisations have been like golden geese, providing A$37 billion to Australian state governments since 1992. But the price for NSW's privatisation risks being undercut by two key events.
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance with the 2014 budget. An economic analysis has found electricity revenues have been crucial to keeping the NSW budget in surplus in recent years. Paul Miller/AAP

Power privatisation is bad for the NSW budget bottom line

We found that without state-owned electricity revenues, the NSW Coalition government would have struggled to avoid recording deficits in every budget since its election in 2011.
There are many misleading claims about what happens after electricity privatisation – including the impact on prices and on jobs. Paul Miller/AAP

Myths, not facts, muddy the electricity privatisation debate

Both sides of the electricity privatisation debate are guilty of cherry-picking so-called "facts" to suit their campaigns, rather than presenting the real story to voters.
Superconducting materials have strange and unusual properties including magnetic levitation. Shutterstock

Explainer: what is a superconductor?

Just what is a superconductor? And what can it be used for? Research using superconductors at higher temperatures opens up more possibilities for this fascinating class of materials.
Mike Baird concedes there are ‘challenges’ facing the federal Liberal Party, led by Tony Abbott (right), but says voters want him to focus on state issues. AAP/Paul Miller

NSW Premier Mike Baird on health, privatisation, and Abbott’s shadow

'There's no doubt there's challenges in Canberra ... I would like Canberra to get on with the job of actually looking after the people it's supposed to be representing.' – Mike Baird
Asked about what he would consider a good result at the upcoming state election, Mike Baird joked he’d be happy with a win. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

In Conversation with Mike Baird: full transcript

'I would be incredibly disappointed, I can’t tell you how disappointed I’d be, if I didn’t have the opportunity to continue beyond March ... [these are] some of the most exciting times in politics'.
Gas prices: are we being scammed? Calum Moy

Attacks on the Big Six over gas prices miss a key point

Following intense pressure from consumer groups, politicians and the media, the UK’s Big Six power companies have all announced price reductions on some of their gas tariffs. Cuts ranged from Npower’s…
Nuclear power plants, like this one in Tennessee, supply almost 20 percent of the electricity in the US. Nuclear Regulatory Comission

What’s inside the first new US nuclear plant in two decades

It’s been almost two decades since a new nuclear plant opened for business in the United States. But that’s about to change as construction wraps up on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2…
To find out if the carbon price worked, you have to look at the electricity sector. Paul Hocksenar/Flickr

FactCheck: did carbon emissions fall faster before the carbon price?

Emissions fell by six times the rate in the five years before the carbon tax than they did under the carbon tax. – Environment minister Greg Hunt, The Guardian, January 17, 2015. Australia’s total greenhouse…
The renewable energy sector is looking a little gloomy thanks to record low investment. Is RET uncertainty to blame? Stephan Mosel

Why has investment in renewable energy projects stalled?

You may have seen recent reports that Australia’s renewable energy sector is suffering. According to a Bloomberg analysis, investment in the sector in the year to September 2014 was down 70% on investment…
Well, maybe it’s not quite this electrifying, but the prototype is pretty cool. Florian F. (Flowtography)/Flickr

Flat battery? New prototype turns waste heat into electricity

Picture a device that can produce electricity using nothing but the ambient heat around it. Thanks to research published…
Falling demand and prices are leaving no incentive to invest in Australia’s electricity sector.  Indigo Skies Photography /Flickr

Why Australia’s entire power sector should support the RET

There’s been much talk about how uncertainty over the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is affecting the renewable energy industry. Investment in renewable energy is at its lowest level since…
The government knows that solar panel subsidies are very popular with voters. zstock/Shutterstock

The pitfalls of using renewable energy as a political football

Federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane has finally revealed his opening gambit on negotiations on the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). He and environment minister Greg Hunt have pledged to…
As early as 2015 China’s use of thermal coal for electricity could peak. Bret Arnett/Flickr

Ross Garnaut: China to reach ‘peak coal’ for electricity by 2015

China’s use of coal for electricity could peak as early as next year, then decline until 2020 in a turnaround of “global importance”, according to economist Ross Garnaut in a lecture presented at the Melbourne…

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