A discussion paper recently published by the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) has been shot down by industry commentators.
Adding to the Clean Energy Council’s comment that Big Energy is ‘clutching at straws‘ in its attempts to demonise solar households; others have weighed in on the issue.
Business Spectator’s Tristan Edis has commented that following the ESAA’s logic; any household that implements any sort of energy efficiency strategy would be viewed in ESAA’s eyes as ‘avoiding network charges’ through lowering their electricity bill. This could include non-solar households installing LED lighting, insulation – or even turning off lights when not in a room.
Mr. Edis also points out solar is a bit player in network upgrade spending and it was the rise of the air-conditioner that was used by network businesses to justify billions of dollars of additional network infrastructure expenditure; some of which has been labeled as ‘gold-plating‘.
“The ESAA’s demonisation of solar is a bit like a guy that just ran over your dog with a semi-trailer truck, who points the finger at the bicycle following afterwards that clipped the dog’s tail before it died.”
The role of air-conditioning is also pointed out by RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson; who states using the ESAA’s own figures, the costs ‘avoided’ by solar households is just one eleventh of the cross-subsidy paid by households with no air conditioning for those who do – yet the ESAA has not recommended air-conditioned households be hit with higher fixed tariffs to pay for network extensions.
“What seems inevitable however is that the industry will one day soon need to change its business model or face the same decline as fixed priced telephony or printed photos. They are fast approaching their Kodak moment,” says Mr. Parkinson; who mentions the role home energy storage systems may play in the future if Big Energy continues treating solar households as second-class citizens.
The ESAA’s focus on costs and little mention of benefits solar households bring that will outweigh those costs seems to indicate Big Energy is still yet to grasp the reality that solar households play an important role in Australia’s affordable clean energy future – and that ignorance runs the risk of ultimately negatively impacting all Australian households.