Well, I have certainly stimulated some passionate debate and thats a good thing.
I won't bother defending myself against some of the personal critisism, thats people right to express a view on my credibility if they choose, But I will take a moment to add some centext and references.
John's point about this being an advocay peice is quite right. I am an advocate for renewables in what is often an unbalanced debate and so this peice was unabashedly designed to be an example of how renewables are emerging. However, I did clearly make the point that "there is more to complex energy trading markets than this simple story". I wholly acknowledge the complexity and other dynamics at play.
Nonetheless that statements made by RWE that solar in particular were largely responsible were their comments, not mine, quoted stratight off their press release.
Scotts point about subsidisation and the cost to the community is valid too which is why I mentioned that most forms of energy are subsidised and a links to some examples. It is worth highlighting perhaps that being Australian, I was looking through a local lense where we dont have guarenteed acess and we have very limited subsidies.
Paul's ponit on cost benefit pass throughs to customers is also a great point worthy of an entire debate on its own. Here in Australia in one State, utilities have been forced to pass through whoelsale cost reductions to consumers, although its the only State who has done so. It has resulted in reduced prices but is highly unique. Once agin, I ackowledge the complexity of the dynamics and that lower costs don't always translate and rarely inthe near term. However, the point was that RWE drew their own conclusion that of their own non renewables "its no longer competitive.” Thats not my statement, its theirs.
Kevon makes a succint point on market intervention. Its why I made the point carefully that "sending any non renewable business broke, or in much of Australia’s case, wrecking State budgets by stripping returns from State owned assets is not “a win” for anyone". Market intervetion is however part of life and the key point I was making is given what the current situation is, are we seeing transition to new energy sources that can provide new business opportunities, that utilties and States are being too slow to embrace? Nothing stays the same forever including energy markets, so I am actually arguing that their is a chance for them to avoid such losses, although I aknowledge that is not easy.
Kim-Mikael suggests that it is mostly gas under review, but looking at the investor release here http://www.rwe.com/app/Pressecenter/Download.aspx?pmid=4009732&datei=2 it suggest that a significant amount of coal/lignite is also under review.
In summary, do we have a distorted market where energy and markets are cross subsidised in a variety of complex ways? Yes. Are renewables (irrespective of subsidisation) increasingly competitive and forcing revolutionary changes in the energy market? Yes. Is the a huge opportunity to think about where our energy mix could and should be in the future and an impending need to utilties to adapt? Yes. Will it be comfortable? No.