Renewable Energy May Save Us Yet!

A few things happened today that are news worthy.
Firstly, the Victorian Government announced its renewable energy feed-in tariff scheme. It is to be net metering with a payment of 60 cents per kilowatt hour, which is a higher rate than SA and Qld. It is not the gross metering scheme that many people and organisations were hoping for, but they may yet change their minds if a national scheme is proposed.

Kim and I were talking about it this afternoon, and from what the media is saying it will be implemented next year. Next year? I hope they are thinking of next financial year and not January 2009! I have not been able to find any information on the state government websites, but I assume something will be posted soon to clarify the finer details.

We should be able to maximise our payments by changing a few things around the house. We figure that the fridge will take up about 1 kWh during the day, and that will be the only base load item we have running besides our laptops for work purposes. We can change the swimming pool timer to come on at night which will maximise our daily export to the grid. The dishwasher will go on after sunset, and the washing machine can be programmed to start at about 5am and finish before sunrise, ready to be hung up on the clothes line early in the morning or on the airier if raining. I know that there is a slight uncertainty with net metering, however, I believe that these simple changes will maximise export to the grid whilst our Solar PV is producing power. All I have to do now to maximise export in summer time is to get rid of the 3000 watt air conditioner in the lounge room and swap it out with an energy efficient model. We should be right to sort that issue out in spring time all things going well. So, we figure that there is a silver lining to this scheme if you look at it in the right way. I still think that it will promote an uptake of renewable energy in residential homes throughout the state, if people are made aware of the simple ways to maximise export of energy to the grid during daylight hours.

Secondly, I signed a Greenpeace petition a while ago urging the Federal Government to increase funding of renewable energy programs within this country. It was delivered to the Federal Treasurer today, and contained 30,000 signatures requesting that renewable energy be given more funding and that coal, natural gas and oil energy sources be not subsidised by the government. Here is the letter I received from Greenpeace which I thought was a nice touch;

May 6th, 2008

Dear Gavin,

Yesterday in Canberra, a team of Greenpeace supporters delivered a giant perspex wind turbine encasing thousands of petitions to Treasurer Wayne Swan. This is the petition that 30,000 of you signed sending a very clear message to Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan: if they are serious about tackling climate change they will redirect massive government handouts to fossil fuels into support for renewable energy in next week’s budget.

The story made radio and TV news so even though the Treasurer didn’t come out to accept your petition, the message will no doubt have reached his office that Australians are waiting to see if he’ll end the practice of topping up fossil fuel industry profits with our taxes.

Click here for a photo of the petition delivery

Our petition is even more timely, with the government set to announce even more money for the coal industry to support their ‘carbon capture and storage’ (CCS) fantasy.

Greenpeace International have just published a report entitled False Hope”, highlighting the many reasons why carbon capture cannot save the climate. Even if CCS ever becomes a mature technology, it will, as the United Nations says, arrive on the battlefield far too late to help the world avoid dangerous climate change. You can view this very important report on our website.

We’ve been overwhelmed by your enthusiasm for this campaign – be it signing the petition, organising your local community group’s support, donating to our national radio advertising campaign or speaking up in the media or to politicians. Next week we’ll know whether the new government is listening to us or if it’s more Howard-style “pollution as usual” under Rudd. We know that you’ll be keen to know the outcome and will give you a wrap-up, after the Budget has been announced.

Regardless, we’ve done our best to hold them to account.

Many thanks,

Julien Vincent
Climate campaigner

With all these campaigns, and climate change action becoming mainstream, it would be amiss of governments at any level in Australia not to pull their fingers out and get active. Here is hoping the Federal Government deliver a few pleasant surprises in their upcoming budget regarding climate change initiatives.

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  1. says

    Nice letter, great petition. Don’t hold your breath about it doing any good – it should – but we don’t vote for more than another 3 years! I get so annoyed about governments and their inaction on water, energy,anything to do with the environment etc etc… so, so , so…..angry and frustrated.It is as if we don’t actually live in the environment. But rather it is like a nice, cute little puppy that only needs table scraps! I have spent the whole day out gardening and so I will just go away quietly and think about my day and not about the stupid government!

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