Have you heard that many of the big Australian energy companies talking down the Renewable Energy Target in the media? Twenty percent renewables by the year 2020 is what it is currently set at, but they want it lower! Not on my watch! Let make it higher.
The great news is that energy demand from the big dirty generators is falling due to Australians taking matter into their own hands and installing solar photovoltaics and solar hot water en masse. People like me and you have installed over 1.7 GW of solar on over 750,000 of our homes. Now that is something to be proud of. It is estimated that the trend will continue with a capacity of 2.3 GW of solar PV by the end of the year. Great work one and all!
But that only accounts for roughly 2.5% of Australia’s total electricity generation capacity, but if it increased, that would put a big dent in corporate profits for the fossil fuel electricity generators. That is one of the reasons why they want the RET decreased, not increased.
100% Renewables, the ACF and others like me are helping citizens have a voice. This is via The Peoples RET Review. Heres the skinny;
Vote for clean energy
It’s working! Pollution in Australia is actually dropping and we’ve switched off 3,000 MW of dirty, coal-fired generation as a result of the combined impact of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the price on carbon pollution. But some big power companies and industry lobby groups want to slow the development of renewables in Australia. Their money and lobbying power gives them a voice, but what about ordinary citizens? 100% Renewable, ACF and our allies are running the People’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review. This week Australians can tell decision makers what kind of energy future we want.
Have your say in the People’s RET Review or visit www.peoplesretreview.org.au to vote.”
What 3000 MW has been switched off? I’m not aware of any power stations being decommissioned as a result of the RET. If anything the base load stations are needed (at inefficient partial loads) to support intermittent supply from renewables. We urgently need to sort out the design and operation of the grid so that renewables can be utilised more efficiently. The most impact on coal stations has been gas taking over, particularly in QLD with the 13% gas law, meaning 13% of electricity must come from gas, which is less carbon intensive, but not perfect either. This is really complicated stuff, I think it needs a full review and plan for the future, how to phase out coal and phase in renewables so that everything works smoothly, at the moment we are “letting the market decide” which doesn’t seem to work.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Liz. Have a look at this article. I was just as surprised! http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-coal-fired-generation-49290
Yay Australia for small steps forward! Man I wanted to swear at the telly last night when there was a story on the news about electricity price rises (when is there not?), and a lady was whingeing because she expected her last quarterly bill to be about $1300 – $1400, and it was $2,000! When will people start taking responsibility for reducing their usage? Electricity is not cheap anymore, and you need to adjust accordingly. I think she needs an energy audit. Easier for most people to blame the carbon tax. Off to fill in the RET review, thanks for drawing it to my attention.
I was surprised in our visit to Australia this year (travelled by road from Perth to Brisbane visiting all major cities) how few solar panels there were either for hot water or photovoltaic. Whilst France is dependent on nuclear energy people are starting to put up panels. Many farmers are constructing new buildings and covering the rooves with photovoltaic panels. Unfortunately there are fewer solar panels as the system of water heating and storage here is not conducive to this . They are also expensive to install and there are no attractive subsidies or grants.
We have solar panels on our house as it was a new build and included in the price. We have free hot water for nine months of the year.
We did all the economic calculations for various types of energy saving and most were just not viable.
Insulation,solar panels and effective use of shutters are the most productive in keeping the bills to a minimum.
Helen in France
Gavin Webber says
Here is to cheap power bills Helen! x
I learned the other day that the CEO of Origin (my supplier) is one of those actively lobbying to decrease the RET. I fired off an email letting them know that I find that unacceptable and intend to change my supplier if Origin persist in this. And so I will…assuming I can find an electricity retailer who are *not* a part of this lobby group. : ( Hope I can, because it’ll be a few years yet before we can buy a house and look at going solar. I’m so pissed off with the electricity generation industry and the poor govt regulation that I would happily go fully off-grid.
Gavin Webber says
Well done Tracey. It would be interesting if you receive a reply other than a standard blurb. I have been thinking about off grid as well, so depending how things pan out I may research it further.
The key problem with off grid is the price of the batteries. While panel prices have plumetted in recent years, battery prices remain high and they can make up over half the price of a system. This makes it much less economic to put in a stand alone system when you have ready access to the mains.
However, puting in a small backup system could make sense, especially if you’re in an area that has frequent power interruptions.
Of course the prices are changing all the time and the systems are getting cheaper and cheaper so keep an eye on it.