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7 cent payment 'not fair price' for WA households

20th Oct 2011

Australia's leading sustainable energy body is currently seeking an immediate review of Western Australia's energy buyback scheme, disagreeing with the government's decision to offer a payment of only $0.07.

Since the scheme's cut-off in August, the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) has released a question and answer document about the matter, stating that it believes the $0.07 Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) payment does not reflect fair value for the consumer.

Based on the previous analysis of the value of exported distributed energy, the SEA believes a dynamic pricing setting method for all energy exported by distributed energy should be established, regardless of technology.

The sustainable energy body cited a 2007 independent report by the Australian Photovoltaic Association (APVA) for the Office of Energy (then the Sustainable Energy Development Office), highlighting that a fair price of between $0.13 and $0.16 per kWh for exported energy was given.

SEA's question and answer document states that SEA supports a fair price to be paid for exported electricity generated by solar power.

"On the matter of a specific feed-in tariff, SEA sees that the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) can be as effective as a FiT (feed-in tariff) scheme in supporting the industry and consumers wishing to switch to green energy and hedge against future energy price increases," the document said.

SEA highlighted that limits to government spending means that it is unlikely that a similar scheme will be reintroduced in the short term.

Increasing costs were a primary reason for the suspending the scheme. Initial estimates had budgeted $127 million over the life of the scheme. The 2011-2012 state budget has an estimated cost for this year of $6.7 million.

However, the SEA considers the suspension to be having little impact on the average household currently utilising a solar power system.

"The majority of these smaller systems are still able to be cost effective for households, but the payback period may be slightly increased," the document said.

Previously, the SEA solar power users were more aware of their electricity consumption and environmental impact, reducing electricity usage by an average of 20 per cent.

Increased affordability and the federal government's focus on a clean energy future has led to an increasing number of Australians installing rooftop solar panels and generating their own energy.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent 

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