MONDAY 21 MAY, 2012 |
Taking Solar Power From The People For Nix - VCEC
A report concerning the future of Victoria's feed-in tariff joins others that
fail to recognise the true value of electricity generated by home solar power
systems - and could threaten knock-on effects across Australia if implemented.
represents a wise investment even without a feed in tariff
given the rapidly increasing cost of electricity, nobody should expect system
owners to give the surplus electricity they generate to energy companies for
free. The contentious point has always been how much that electricity is worth -
a fair and reasonable value for the power.
A draft report from the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC)
recommends solar households be guaranteed a payment of between 6-8 cents per
kilowatt hour for the surplus electricity they generate according to the Clean Energy Council
(CEC); plus whatever added amount they can negotiate with their electricity
CEC Policy Director Russell Marsh says this is an unrealistic approach.
"It will be virtually impossible for consumers to actually get that additional payment, meaning they will miss out on up to half the value they are entitled
The CEC has previously estimated a fair and reasonable value of solar is between 12-16 cents per kilowatt-hour;
but some would say even that undervalues the electricity. A Melbourne University study
puts the real value of solar electricity between 40 and 60 cents, taking into
account aspects such as reducing electricity distribution infrastructure costs and time of generation.
Others in the industry simply want a 1:1 feed in tariff rate implemented across
Australia, whereby solar households receive the market rate for the surplus
electricity they export to the mains grid.
While the VCEC report recognises distributed generation reduces transmission and distribution losses
and the cost of infrastructure maintenance, it has found it difficult to assign
a value to these benefits - and this may be where some of the shortfall in
their price recommendations lies.
Aside from the impact on solar households in Victoria, a concern is should the
VCEC pricing recommendations be implemented, it will be used as an example for
other Australian states to follow.
216 page report
, which bears the interesting title of "Power From The
People", also recommends Victoria's current transitional feed in tariff (TFiT)
be closed to new participants when 75 MW of generating capacity is reached; or by 31 December 2013, whichever is sooner
- with the latter likely being the case. There are no retrospective changes
recommended for those on the previous premium feed-in tariff (PFiT)
The VCEC is seeking submissions to its draft report by 15 June and a final report is
to be submitted to the Victorian government by 13 July 2012.
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