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Australian Gross Feed In Tariff Petition Attracts 20,000 Signatures


by Energy Matters

National gross feed in tariff for Australia
With all the recent upheaval and changes in government rebates and incentives for renewable energy; a topic to have largely disappeared from media spotlight is the issue of a national, uniform gross feed in tariff - however, it's an issue that hasn't been forgotten by the Australian public and some political forces.
A feed in tariff in relation to renewable energy is a system whereby owners of renewable energy equipment such as home solar power systems are paid a premium rate for the electricity they produce. In the net model only surplus electricity receives the premium payment, but under a gross arrangement all power produced by a system is eligible.
The situation in Australia remains that each state has their own feed in tariff system paying varying rates, or in some cases, none at all. New South Wales and the ACT currently have the most generous schemes.
The fractured system in Australia has also led to an increase in administrative resources required to run individual programs, confusion among the public and cross-border envy in some cases - Australia is very much a nation divided in this respect.
The solution is a national, uniform, gross feed in tariff program. 
A champion of the concept at a federal level is Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne who submitted a Private Member's Bill for a national program in 2008.
The Greens remain committed to a gross feed in tariff in 2010; with Senator Milne stating yesterday the Greens would like to see an energy efficiency target and a gross feed-in tariff running alongside the renewable energy target. Senator Milne's recent comments were made in relation to a new Private Members Bill introduced by the Greens yesterday that she says will address problems in the current Renewable Energy Target (RET) system.
A petition run by national solar solutions provider Energy Matters at FeedInTariff.com.au has also been in operation for some time and has now attracted over 20,000 signatures.
According to Energy Matters co-founder Max Sylvester, "The initial response to the petition was incredible - we were aiming for just 10,000 signatures. Although it has been nearly 8 months since the petition was tabled in Parliament by Senator Milne and we haven't given the petition much additional coverage since, the signatures keep coming it - we just passed the 20,000 mark".
Mr. Sylvester says a gross feed in tariff is definitely holding back solar power uptake in some states. "We see evidence of this every day - in customer comments, we see it mentioned in our community forums - people saying that as much as they wish to install solar power systems, they won't do so until such time a gross feed in tariff is in place."
"People throughout Australia are looking to the ACT and NSW gross feed in tariff models - and in both those states we see increased activity. Without a doubt, gross feed in tariffs for solar power work. It's a concept that has proven itself time and again here and overseas. It's time for Australia to fully get on board - as a nation united."  


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