When a carbon cap and trade system is instigated by the Australian Government, the only real option for the coal burning power generators who will be forced to pay for the carbon emissions they produce, will be to increase their wholesale Kilowatt hour charge to the energy retailers. The retailers, will in turn, pass it on to us, Joe public the consumer.
Foreseen this event, I have (sounds like Yoda), because not only being a clean power source, my solar PV system payback period will be quicker and the cost of my electricity will not rise. Under a renewable energy feed-in tariff system, I may even get paid for producing clean electricity.
I believe that the rising price of electricity will force two events, a massive effort in energy efficiency and rapid installation of renewable energy systems. The rising price will stimulate a surge in large Renewable Energy installations who will generating carbon credits which the heavy emitters will be forced to buy (or so I am assuming). I also believe that Australia is ill equipped at the moment to help its citizens perform the huge savings that are available with energy efficiency. Sure the black balloon adds are great here in Victoria, but you would be amazed at the amount of people I talk to in my travels that still have not even contemplated of instigating this simple and powerful step to reducing their household costs and carbon footprint. I could save a household 50% of their energy bill if they are willing to make a simple behavioural change. Turn stuff off when not in use! And I suppose that is all it takes, a simple change. But people are scared of change, and change is very similar to the fear of the unknown. Most humans don’t like the unknown, but some, if not more these days, are willing to weigh up the risks of not changing and try to make a difference to their behaviours for the sake of future generations.
This is one of the reasons I found the ABC television show “Carbon Cops” so fascinating. I was amazed with the glazed look on some of the families faces when confronted with the truth about their energy consumption. That is not to say that I was an energy saving saint before my family begun our journey towards sustainable living. So you see what I mean. There are a heck of a lot of people do not know where to start or are unwilling to start because the cost per kWh is so cheap.
Do I have a solution? Not yet, but I am hoping that this blog has helped inform people with real life examples over the past few months. By keeping the simple things front of mind, I hope, with a bit of luck, that even one person will swap out a blown incandescent light bulb with a nice energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Light or LED light instead. If that is all I achieve by writing this blog, then it is a result that motivates me to continue writing, and one I would be proud of.
It is the simple things that can made all the difference. If you refer back to here and here, you will see some of the steps that I took around our house to reduce our electricity consumption with energy efficient behaviours alone, by 52.1% over the period of 15 weeks. My Summer power bill has gone from A$726 to A$150. Now there is a savings for you.
So who cares if electricity prices rise? If you have energy efficiency on your side, and renewable energy then you need not worry. With all things being equal, even GreenPower should be cheaper than coal based power after carbon cap and trade is enforced. I am very optimistic about the future. Bring on the Sun and the Wind!
I think people pretty much put their heads in the sand on the cost of their power consumption, and the potential savings after behavioural changes.
There are other things I think need to happen – better regulation of appliances so that they don’t use a heap of power when you’re not using them for example.