Uncertainty about Australia carbon tax makes energy investment difficult

Australia's carbon tax policy came under almost immediate criticism from a wide array of industry and consumer groups. But as the country prepares to implement the new plan, Reuters reports that many energy companies are facing difficulties finding the necessary financing for projects to update older coal-fired power plants.

The carbon tax was implemented in large part because Australia sees some of the highest per capita carbon emissions of any industrial nation, and imposes costs directly related to actual emissions.

These new costs are intended to encourage greater investment in new power generation, allowing for higher electricity prices and undercutting competition from the country's ubiquitous coal-fired generation. A recent report suggests that the country could need as much as $200 billion invested by 2050, after only $12 billion since 1998.

But growing political opposition to the plan, including announcements from the Liberal Party opposition to overturn the policy if they win the election in 2013, has discouraged lenders from investing in the energy sector.

The Australian also reports that some of the Labour Party's international support has disappeared, with China suggesting it will delay its new carbon policy by at least another year.

Prospects for the coal mining industry in Australia can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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