Daily Telegraph gets on its high horse about Solar Power and Electricity prices

I’ve been in Sydney for a couple of days (including a really interesting tour of Silex Solar’s impressive Solar Panel factory at Olympic Park).

I picked up the Daily Telegraph in the hotel this morning to see the front page screaming about electricity prices.

According to the paper, the only person who can bring NSW electricity prices down is the Premier: Kristina Keneally – and the Telegraph is demanding that she does something about it – or else…

Now I’m no fan of  the mob of incompetent cronies and hollowmen that has made up the NSW government for the past few years, but electricity prices are high because of massive demand and limited supply. That demand is created by the NSW public building black roofed McMansion hotboxes with 10kW air-conditioning as standard and almost no insulation or window shading – never mind double glazing.

Let’s take some responsibility for our actions and accept that if we create massive demand for something (through being hopeless at implementing simple energy efficiency measures) we shouldn’t be surprised if the price goes up.

The Telegraph’s solution to all this is for the State Government to hand out hundreds of dollars a year to people with high bills and stop encouraging people to invest in solar power by scrapping NSW’s Solar Bonus (Gross Feed In Tariff).

So let me get this right: the journos at the Telegraph think that the solution to high electricity prices is to reward the people who use the most electricity, and stop rewarding those people who choose to generate their own?

I say: just leave the market to sort itself out. High electricity prices (combined with intelligent rebates for energy efficiency) will encourage more people to be more energy efficient, which will reduce the demand for electricity and increase the supply from solar power, which can only push electricity prices down.

And don’t forget that the majority of the increase in electricity prices is to fund the building of more wires and poles to cope with “peak demand” periods. These peak demand periods are basically when the sun is at its hottest in the afternoon and everyone’s air conditioners are running full throttle. Power output from residential solar panels peaks at exactly the same time, helping to reduce peak demand. And because the solar panels are on your roof and any power exported will be used locally, they don’t need pylons and hundreds of km of power cabling to get the power to the end user.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

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