THURSDAY 24 APRIL, 2014 |
RET Review : 'Biased And Predetermined Outcome'
The latest on the Renewable Energy Target review indicates more strongly than
ever that the best time to go solar may well be now.
The solar industry has grown accustomed to shocks and dirty tactics from corners
desperately seeking to cling to Australia's old approach to energy. The shocks
have continued as the RET Review process gets well under way.
In a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, the Expert Panel and modeling team stated modelling that
incorporated benefits to network operators and the reduction of wholesale electricity prices resulting from renewable energy generation
was "too hard" and would not be part of the RET Review. Furthermore,
the parties stated these types of benefits amounted to a "wealth
transfer" as opposed to "true benefits".
The Expert Panel and modeling team also stated any form of carbon pricing would be excluded from their modelling up to and beyond 2030.
Also, the government's 1 million solar roof policy will not be included in modeling unless funding for it is included in
next month's Budget.
Australian Solar Council
CEO John Grimes states the RET Review process is heading to a biased and predetermined outcome.
".. this review is set to side with big business, giving little or no weight to the benefits of solar for householders, business and the
community," he said.
"Clearly any model that fails to consider a carbon price (in any form) up to 2030, in the face of international action on climate change, is negligent and lacks any credibility."
Another major shock and related credibility issue resulting from the meeting mentioned on
appointment of ACIL Allen
as chief advisor and modeller, a consultancy
perceived to be cosy with the fossil fuel industry.
This announcement has added to previous concerns raised as to the suitability of
of the Panel.
many potential negative impacts
, it's feared the outcome of the Review will see the
slashing or abolishing of remaining subsidies
that currently reduce the cost of solar power systems by up to thousands of
dollars. The latest news should perhaps act as a warning signal to those still
that they might want to act sooner rather than later.
Gas Bills To Rise '$50 - $500 A Year'
Comparatively economical gas hot water systems won't be so cheap to run soon.
While Australia will triple its gas production in the near future, prices are set to increase as
well; adding even more pain to businesses and households still reeling from
rapid electricity price rises.
The reason is much of the new gas will be exported to Asia, which pays almost triple the wholesale price of gas compared to
locally. This will put upward pressure on domestic pricing.
The Consumer Utility Advocacy Centre's Martin Jones fears consumers won't
see this coming
and they could be facing bill rises of between $50 and $500
depending on gas consumption.
Australia's love affair with gas exports could also cost 100,000 local jobs
according to Manufacturing Australia's Sue
Morphet as the rises will have a marked effect on businesses relying on gas for
While businesses and consumers may not be able to halt the export gas
juggernaut, they can take some steps to help protect themselves from the effects
Solar power can be utilised in 2 ways. Solar
hot water systems
can in many cases practically wipe out a water heating gas
bill and a solar
used in conjunction with electric hot water storage can also
offset water heating costs.
Gas price rises may be closer than many realise. For example, earlier this year it
AGL wants to add an extra 20 per cent for customers in the
greater Sydney region and inland New South Wales. Origin Energy was also
proposing a similar increase for the south-west of the state from July this
According to Zero
' Matt Wright, common major gas appliances already have an electric competitor
on price and performance; including induction cooktops, heat pumps
and reverse cycle
Wind And Solar Power Cheaper Than Nuclear Energy
An analysis comparing the cost of low-carbon technologies has found wind and solar power to be clear winners.
New wind and solar can provide power at up to 50 percent lower generation costs than new
nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) states the analysis, which is based
on comparison of current feed-in tariffs in Germany with the agreed remueration for
an upcoming new nuclear plant in the UK (Hinkley Point C) and current cost estimates for
That's all well and good, but what about when the sun isn't shining and the wind
While the analysis doesn't incorporate energy storage, to answer the
intermittency issue it found that a reliable generation system based on wind, solar and gas
as backup is 20 percent cheaper than a system of new nuclear power plants combined with gas.
The analysis also doesn't take into account future technology cost reductions in any of the four
technologies, but notes solar PV and wind are expected to produce electricity at even lower
cost in the future - but that isn't the case for nuclear.
With regard to CCS, as an operating commercial CCS-enabled power plant is still
a mythical beast, estimates from the UK presented likely indicate the lower end of CCS costs that
will be incurred in the future. The paper's authors state studies estimate CCS to cost about
as much as new nuclear power or more.
As for a predominantly coal or gas CCS system, these were not included as these
were "even less competitive in comparison to PV and onshore wind."
The study was commissioned by Germany's Agora Energiewende and carried out by Prognos AG.
"Comparing the Cost of Low-Carbon Technologies: What
is the Cheapest Option?" can be viewed
in full here
News for Wednesday 23 April, 2014
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