Increased tariffs for rooftop solar in Victoria only transfer cost from one group of energy consumers to another and do little to genuinely drive the transformation of the energy sector, the energy industry said today.
Australian Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said the new tariffs announced today by the Victorian Government appeared little more than a hotch potch of excuses to pay more to solar customers rather than drive the efficient use of this important technology.
"The Federal Renewable Energy Target already rewards and supports residential solar PV.
“Solar is an important technology in the transformation of the energy sector,” Mr Warren said. “Ten years ago State Governments announced overly generous subsidies for solar customers to help develop the then emerging industry.
“We now have more than 1.5 million solar households in Australia. Solar companies advertise on national television and sponsor major football teams and events. Solar is an attractive proposition to thousands of Australian consumers each year without having to impose the cost of subsidies on other consumers.”
Mr Warren said the Essential Services Commission’s report advising the Government highlighted a number of opportunities for encouraging the smart use of solar in parts of the grid where it would deliver real benefit, but these ideas were ignored.
“We support national pricing of greenhouse emissions to drive systemic change in the energy sector. But paying a token carbon price to solar customers doesn’t work in the same way.
“Similarly the wholesale market offers a range of prices for electricity as demand changes to encourage generators to switch off and switch on. Rewarding solar customers in the same way has no effect because the solar will operate regardless of the price. It just ends up being another subsidy paid for by other consumers, without any real benefit.”
About the Australian Energy Council
The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.
Media contact Carl Kitchen 0401 691 342
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