WEDNESDAY 01 MAY, 2013 |
Going Solar: Renewing Australia's Electricity Options
Without stable policies to support renewables, Australian households are at risk
of future electricity bill shocks of up to $250 a year on average; along
with a threat of supply interruptions.
Earlier, we touched on a highlight from new report from the Centre for Policy
Development showing the positive impact of solar
on wholesale electricity prices
. The Centre's report, "Going Solar: Renewing Australia’s
electricity options", has now been released.
While solar power can play an important role in reining in electricity prices
and carbon emissions, Going Solar reveals effective support for fossil fuel
based electricity generation came to $3.6 billion in 2012-13, more than double the
assistance given to renewable energy.
Still, the solar revolution continues; transforming the energy sector.
"Rising popularity and rapidly falling costs put rooftop solar at the leading edge of this, forcing traditional electricity industry business models
to change," says the Centre's sustainable economy research director Laura
The report lists 5 major benefits of rooftop solar and goes into further detail
on each point:
1. It lowers wholesale electricity prices
for all consumers,
assuming retailers pass these savings on.
2. It provides consumers real choice about their electricity supply and control over their
3. It can reduce summer peak demand, which may lead to more productive use of
existing network infrastructure.
4. It creates a base of consumers actively engaged in managing their energy
5. It helps insure Australia against future electricity price shocks from gas price volatility and drought.
An interesting point rarely discussed concerning the nation's retail electricity
price woes is the cost that customer churn adds to electricity bills. The report
states while competition between electricity retailers is meant to lower costs,
it actually adds a significant amount to electricity bills as all consumers pay higher prices to subsidise discounts used to
encourage customers to switch retailers - up to $50 a year more.
The report also highlights inequities in Australia with regard to how much some
solar households receive for the surplus generated by their solar panel systems
that is exported to the mains grid and the continued resistance from some
corners to fully embrace solar.
"Rooftop solar has a key role to play in Australia’s transition to a clean, affordable and reliable
electricity system," states the 65-page report. "Powerful interests will resist such change. Policy makers should be guided by
the future direction of our energy system, rather than what they see in the rear-view mirror."
Going Solar: Renewing Australia’s electricity options can be
viewed in full here
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