Solar Subsidy In EnergyAustralia’s Crosshairs (Again/Still)

EnergyAustralia and the solar subsidy

EnergyAustralia really doesn’t seem to like Australia’s major solar subsidy that has helped millions of households slash their electricity bills.

The Daily Telegraph ended 2018 with a story (paywall) published late last night claiming analysis by EnergyAustralia indicates government subsidies to Australian households that have installed solar panels are whacking $45 a year on to the average power bill of each family in New South Wales; so around 87c a week.

For starters, Australia’s major solar subsidy, aka the solar rebate, is not really a government subsidy. It is a government run scheme based on the creation of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) accompanying systems that liable entities (such as electricity generators) must purchase to meet their renewable energy obligations. This cost is then passed onto the consumer.

There wasn’t much detail on how that $45 figure was reached, but an Australian Competition & Consumer Commission report in July indicated that across the National Electricity Market (NEM), the cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme was only 1.1% of household electricity bills (around $18 a year at that point). EnergyAustralia reportedly says the increase in installations since is adding to the cost.

That ACCC report also recommended the accelerated phase-out of the solar subsidy, without good reason, and EnergyAustralia embraced that idea with gusto along with Origin Energy.

What hasn’t been mentioned in the Daily Telegraph report are the many benefits small-scale solar power has brought, including reining in wholesale electricity prices and the thousands of jobs it supports. By ditching the solar subsidy prematurely, it would also preclude many battler households from installing solar power systems and reducing their electricity bills.

The solar subsidy is already being phased out. In fact, it reduced again today and will keep dropping each year until 2030, after which it will be kaput.

Will EnergyAustralia See Its Wish Granted?

EnergyAustralia’s desire to see the subsidy scrapped prematurely is very unlikely to be fulfilled before the looming federal election. The Coalition Government must know to try and do so or even suggest it would see a massive backlash – something it really doesn’t need at the moment on top of its other woes.

Post-election and assuming the Coalition is returned to power? Who knows – however, in October 2018 Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said “there’s no plan to change the SRES”.

EnergyAustralia’s renewed call to dump the subsidy was met by the Energy Minister defending the scheme, saying the primary driver of electricity price rises in recent years has been the big energy companies themselves.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. The report above, does not state it, so, what exactly is “Energy Ausrtralia”?

    Is it a lobby group of coal mining companies?

    Is it Adani Coal?

    Ist it the bad abbot, and, the wonky canavan, trolling?

    Or, is its simply ayet another russian or chinese trooling oganisation, designed to foment conflict?

  2. Isn’t it amazing that whenever science comes up with a way to make life cheaper for us all that there is always a vested interest determined to put the kibosh on it. What’s more the little bastards always manage to get themselves into the ears of people who have the power to affect the rest of us – the politicians.

    Think electric cars – how expensive are they still and how many of us “average Joes” can afford one ? Gas powered cars – a solely gas powered car is more efficient than a petrol driven one and we are totally self-sufficient in gas – if we weren’t bent on selling it off for a pittance to China and Japan. Wind energy and now solar – all technologies having the ability to make our lives cheaper as well as better for the environment but because some want to continue with their snouts in the trough at the expense of the rest of us they get privileged access to the people in power over our interests. They either get their way or hamper development to the point where the uptake is slowed or risks being brought to a standstill.

    I am sick of power companies trying to paint solar as a bad thing. A few years ago they were trying to scare us that power was in such short supply they had to keep jacking up prices as a price signalling measure whilst they ran around adding gold trim to the insulators. Now they whinge there is too much solar power coming into the grid so they are limiting the number of connections in some areas and the amount you can get paid to generate power instead of pulling their fingers out and innovative finding ways to absorb it and store it.

    Maybe the French had it right a couple of hundred years ago. Now where in the shed did I put that rusty guillotine ?

    • Simon Miller says:

      Spot on AdamAnt, and if the program was scrapped tomorrow do any of us really believe Energy Australia would pass on the so called costs back to the consumer in full?

  3. In a sensible world we wouldn’t have subsidies and we’d still have a carbon tax in place, thus making the cost of fossil-fuel generated electricity more reflective of the true cost to society and making renewables relatively cheaper. Unlike subsidies this arrangement is more sustainable in the long term as it improves the budget rather than imposing additional costs. Putting a cost on emissions rather than economically supporting renewables also avoids the renewable industry smashing boom and bust cycles as governments add and remove subsidies.

    In the absence of more sensible policies we have STCs. The talk of removing them highlights the problems of rebates even though the author makes a good point that it’s not really a rebate. Is Energy Australia suggesting that the entire STC program should be cancelled or just the qualification of home solar systems for STCs? What was EnergyAustralia’s position on more sensible schemes like the carbon tax?

  4. Energy Australia, Origin and AGL along with Distributors like Powercor are hell bent on attacking home solar because they are not fully in control. Spurious claims about effects on pricing and grid stability are typical. No problems connecting another 150mw farm up here in NW Victoria financed by foreign owned CUB Breweries! Next will be the chipping away of feed in tariffs…Claims of excess day time generation…All to hit small rooftop solar generators.

  5. John Barker says:

    I am a retired mechanical services plumber and have just installed a 4.4kw solar
    system using Solar Quotes, With the Federal Gov’t small scale certificates and the State Labour Gov’t rebate my system will end up costing around $1350. We get FIT of 11.3 cents and with only 2 persons in the house have a low energy usage of 8-9Kw, so the system should pay for its self in 3 and a bit years. With a return like this why are not more home owners doing the same?

  6. Ronald Brakels says:

    Health costs from coal are estimated to come to around 1.6 cents per kilowatt-hour:

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/coal-power-comes-with-2-6b-health-bill

    Five kilowatts of north facing solar in NSW will generate around 6,900 kilowatt-hours a year. That will displace roughly that much coal generation and result in a decrease in $110 in health costs and decreased human suffering. Clearly solar households should be receive more money on the basis of this alone — although it would make more sense to start charging fossil fuel generation for the harm they cause.

    • Evan Jones says:

      Only problem is that a 5kw solar system gives me 20 percent of my power. Please let me know where I and the other millions of houses and businesses get the rest of the power? Perhaps coal, gas, nuclear or do we just hope that solar tecnology someday will deliver power 24/7?
      If we take the clean and green dream to the ultimate conclusion we could stop all human activity.

      • Ronald Brakels says:

        Hi Evan

        When you flick a switch the lights come on because people get paid money for supplying electricity when we want it. Making coal power stations pay for the health problems they cause is not the same as stopping payments for providing electricity. People are still going to get paid for supplying electricity and so they are still going to keep doing it.

        Fortunately there are plenty of options for providing dispatchable power that don’t have coal power’s health drawbacks. You named one and a half methods and there are plenty of others. These include hydroelectricity, pumped hydro, thermal storage such as molten salt, and batteries.

        • Evan Jones says:

          Terrific! I would welcome any plan to deliver reliable and affordable power. Without a national/State by State plan/s and Government support I am not confident private companies will jump in to invest in new power plants that will deliver power at a cost we can afford and make our industries competitive with the rest of the world.

          Investments in base load energy are very long term, expensive and risky. A lot has been made of the need for a clean energy target to help drive investment. This is not a plan! Even with a target I doubt whether companies would see Australia as a viable investment market.

          Try just two impediments for investment in Australia:

          Firstly, our environmental laws and public activism would delay investment in any new power scheme years or decades. Try a new hydro dam – perhaps on the Gordon Franklin rivers in Tasmania. Not even the State government could get that one going. Companies using the natural environment to produce energy would also likely to face an extra tax for the damage they cause. Sure let us also tax coal power generators for the health risks – of course the cost will end up in our energy bill so one way or another we all pay just to get the energy we need to live and perform productive lives.

          Secondly, there is the political and public service/good risk. I think most Australians would regard energy as an essential service like roads, transport, hospitals etc. There is no way Australians would tolerate a situation where energy was either not delivered or unaffordable. They would quickly vote governments out of office if not satisfied with the service companies deliver. Investment plans of any company will therefore be adversely influenced by the risks of public activism and inevitable and ongoing Government intervention in the market place. Perhaps the industry will again be in public ownership.

          Perhaps I am too pessimistic about this. On the other hand I just don’t believe we can simply sit back and watch this country destroyed in the hope that something good will happen.

          • Geoff Miell says:

            Evan Jones,

            You state:

            “I think most Australians would regard energy as an essential service like roads, transport, hospitals etc.”

            Here are some fundamentals that I think we all ignore at our peril:

            • We live on a finite planet – continued and unending growth is impossible on finite planet Earth;
            • Nothing happens without energy – unaffordable energy means life becomes unaffordable;
            • Petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, coal, uranium, and thorium are finite, one-time use, non-renewable and rapidly depleting (except thorium) – we will never run out of minerals, but planet Earth will run out of cheap fossil fuels and high-grade ores – the limits to extracting resources are not limits of quantity, but of energy – Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for fossil fuels are steadily declining;
            • Many oil producing countries have already passed peak production and are declining (including Australia, which peaked in 2000, necessitating increasing petroleum imports), with ever fewer pre-peak oil producing countries required to increase production to compensate, to maintain overall global production – global ‘peak oil’ supply is inevitable, and likely soon (probably before 2030) – humanity must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us;
            • Global ‘peak gas’ supply is inevitable, and likely soon (probably in the 2020s) – humanity must leave fossil natural gas, before gas leaves us;
            • Humanity must leave petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, and coal, before 2050 (preferably sooner), to mitigate dangerous climate change – a failure to achieve this vital goal risks an adverse outcome: a collapse of human civilisation that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently curtail its potential, and extinctions of much of the natural world.

            See: “What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Climate Risk” (44 pages), by David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, published by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration in Aug 2018
            https://www.breakthroughonline.org.au/publications

            See: YouTube video: “EXTRACTED – How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet” (duration 8:57), by Ugo Bardi, published by Club of Rome on 10 Jun 2014
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Y29DqzWkc

            See: “Fossil and Nuclear Fuels – the Supply Outlook” (178 pages), by Dr Werner Zittel, et. al., published by the Energy Watch Group in Mar 2013
            http://energywatchgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/xInnbS-EWGupdate2013_long_18_03_2013up1.pdfs_.pdf

            See: “Twenty-First Century Snake Oil: Why the United States Should Reject Biofuels as Part of a Rational National Security Energy Strategy” (86 pages), by Captain T.A. ‘Ike’ Kiefer, published by Waterloo Institute for Complexity & Innovation in Jan 2013, with reference to Section 5: Energy Return on Investment
            https://uwaterloo.ca/complexity-innovation/sites/ca.complexity-innovation/files/uploads/files/kiefer-snake-oil31.pdf

            You end with these comments:

            “Perhaps I am too pessimistic about this. On the other hand I just don’t believe we can simply sitback and watch this country destroyed in the hope that something good will happen.”

            You have good reasons to be pessimistic (please see my links above). Current processes within our society will not deliver either the speed or the scale of change required to mitigate the looming existential risks of dangerous climate change and the inevitable decline of global oil and gas supplies. Business-as-usual risks our extinction. Nothing short of an emergency response is now required.

            See my comments: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/taylor-renewable-energy-target-mb0751/#comment-226385
            And: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/taylor-renewable-energy-target-mb0751/#comment-227063

            Please choose wisely who you vote for at the next elections – your future (and if you have one, your family’s futures) are at risk.

          • Evan Jones says:

            Thanks for your advice Geoff.
            Seems that your arguments confirm to me that this thing has become a religion. Taking extreme positions will not help us carefully and methodically define a future path in our history and proceed on a well planned journey. I challenge your notion that this is a crisis and please acknowledge that anything Australia’s does to reduce emissions today or in the next century will have zero effect on the world’s climate. We have time to do “it” properly.

            My original comments were about the practicalities of moving forward. While we have a system of Government in Australia where accountability can be easily diffused our responses to change will be muddled to say the least. Even worse if, for political expedience and populism, the speed and scale of change implemented disrupts and even destroys our economy and our lives. I sure not even the most ardent climate change supporter want a wholesale loss of jobs, reduction in generous government benefits, run down of our essential services etc.

            Thanks also for your final comment regarding the next, presumably federal, election. When this political football moves from being debated and fought politically on ideological (religious) grounds to a clear enunciation of how this nation stands to benefit and lose from various scenarios available we may get a real political choice.

          • Ronald Brakels says:

            I think you can relax, Evan. As mentioned people are still going to be paid for supplying electricity, there’s no plan to change that. Also renewable capacity is being built. Well over half the electricity generated in SA now comes from renewables with a considerable chunk from solar panels and people’s roofs. There’s no need to be concerned about the cost. Renewables are cheaper than new coal power:

            https://reneweconomy.com.au/csiro-aemo-study-says-wind-solar-and-storage-clearly-cheaper-than-coal-45724/

          • Evan Jones says:

            Thanks for the article Ronald. It seems it will all be ok in theory at least with just a few complexities about grid management and household use of energy.

            I think the best way out for businesses is for them to be self sufficient but not too many households will get that opportunity especially flat dwellers, renter, the poor etc.Our large industries in WA discovered this years ago when our power supply was at risk and likely to be unaffordable. Starting on a smaller scale like this the transition might be achieved .

            Not sure that South Australia is a good example for you to use unless you see renewables as an end in itself rather a means of achieving a prosperous future. The State may be a leader in renewables but is still a basket case economy heavily supported by Government funded projects and power from other States.

            My friends in Adelaide still complain about the cost of electricity which was last year some 50 percent higher per unit than mine in Perth. The patient analogy comes to mind. The operation (renewables) went well unfortunately the patient (SA) died.
            I am not sure how any of this debate helps run your business but good luck with that. I was one of your clients and initially was impressed with the many positive solar stories from your clients. You do run the risk of putting potential clients offside but that is your choice.
            That’s all from me.

          • Geoff Miell says:

            Evan Jones (Re: Jan 11, 01:34pm),
            You state:

            “I challenge your notion that this is a crisis and please acknowledge that anything Australia’s does to reduce emissions today or in the next century will have zero effect on the world’s climate.”

            Have you looked comprehensively at all the linked material given in my previous comment before responding, seemingly in the space of less than one hour (my comment wasn’t published immediately)? Your apparent haste in responding suggests not – perhaps that’s the problem? The first sentence in your reply summarily dismisses my arguments as “religion”, suggesting to me your mind is already closed. The references in my earlier comment are part of the basis for my statements. I recommend you please look at them to gain a better understanding of the issues, but that’s entirely up to you, if your mind is open to it.

            The documents and video referred support the notion that there is a crisis looming, particularly in “What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk” (sorry, I mistakenly left “Existential” out of the title in my previous comment), where on page 40, it includes:

            “Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential, unless carbon emissions are rapidly reduced.”

            And ending with:

            “Current processes will not deliver either the speed or the scale of change required.”

            How many competent organisations/people will humanity continue to ignore? IPCC? NASA? CSIRO? Dr James Hansen? Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber? Professor Will Steffen? Sir David Attenborough? Etc. etc. What will it take for people to wake-up to the seriousness and urgency of the existential risks/threats?
            See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/03/david-attenborough-collapse-civilisation-on-horizon-un-climate-summit

            As for your assertion that “anything Australia’s does to reduce emissions today … will have zero effect on the world’s climate” – not so. In 2017, Australia was the world’s third largest coal producer (at 7.9% global share) and eighth largest natural gas producer (3.1%). Last year Australia became the world’s largest natural gas exporter. Australia is a major contributor to global carbon emissions when fossil fuel exports are included, as they must be, so I reject your false assertion that “Australia … will have zero effect on the world’s climate”.
            See also: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/labor-solar-battery-subsidy/#comment-296359

            You state: “We have time to do “it” properly.”

            What evidence do you have to support your statement that “we have time to do ‘it’ properly”, or is that just baseless wishful thinking on your part? The evidence I see (see my previous comment above, including the linked material) says nothing short of an emergency response is now required.
            See also: http://www.clubofrome.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Climate_Emergency_Plan_Final.pdf

            You state:

            “Even worse if, for political expedience and populism, the speed and scale of change implemented disrupts and even destroys our economy and our lives.”

            Worse still, too slow a rate of change implemented to reduce emissions rapidly risks the collapse of civilization and rendering planet Earth potentially uninhabitable – good planets are difficult to come by. There are no jobs on a dead planet! You apparently underestimate the risks of not acting fast enough.

            And it’s not just about climate change – it’s also about an inevitable decline in global oil and gas supplies.

            Evan, where does your food come from? Unless you grow ALL your own food organically, your food most likely relies on petroleum-based liquid fuels to be produced and transported. Scarce/expensive petroleum fuels mean scarce/expensive food. If you cannot afford food, then you will starve. And petroleum currently supports many other critical economic activities. Alternative energy solutions are required to rapidly transition agriculture, transport and other dependent industries BEFORE petroleum supplies begin declining. Time is running out to begin the transition in earnest.

            It seems from your apparent hasty response, you were oblivious (and apparently now resistant) to evidence of the critical issues raised and have been (and apparently still are) lulled into a false sense of security. Religion is based on faith. The issues I’ve raised are based on overwhelming evidence and data. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

            Humanity needs to quickly become clear about the responses and urgency required to meet the challenges of dangerous climate change and the inevitable and looming declines of global oil and gas supplies, and act effectively.

          • Evan Jones says:

            Thanks for your rapid response Geoff. Now I get it. Let us rush into a new energy future and also stop or substantially run down our energy exports.
            This is even more scary. Do we tell China and India not to buy and use our energy also?

            You missed my main point. Even if I agree with all the science I would still opt to properly plan our future not rush head long into the unknown while the rest of the world cruises along with business as usual. The Australian public deserve to be brought into this debate so that we can make informed decisions about our nation. If that means we will need to reduce living standards for a period of transition or forever so be it.
            You obviously think Australia needs to act quickly regardless of the consequences. I do not. I hope you understand my concerns about managing the process of change rather than attack me for not fully reading all your references or embracing messages of imminent doom in some of them.

          • Geoff Miell says:

            Evan Jones (Re: Jan 12, 12:24pm),
            You state:

            “Now I get it. Let us rush into a new energy future and also stop or substantially run down our energy exports.”

            It seems to me you really don’t get it – you haven’t apparently read my replies thoroughly (and apparently not read Ronald Brakels’ reply carefully either) or looked at my linked references. You then state:

            “This is even more scary. Do we tell China and India not to buy and use our energy also?”

            We need to have an honest debate about the looming and urgent challenges facing us, no matter how “scary” it seems. China and India already know that new renewables are cheaper than new coal, gas and nuclear electricity generator technologies. They are working towards not needing our coal (and gas) exports in future.
            See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/csiro-aemo-study-says-wind-solar-and-storage-clearly-cheaper-than-coal-45724/
            Also: https://reneweconomy.com.au/lazard-hails-inflection-point-as-wind-solar-costs-beat-new-and-old-fossils-72497/
            Also: https://reneweconomy.com.au/unsubsidised-wind-and-solar-now-cheapest-form-of-bulk-energy-96453/
            Also: http://ieefa.org/ieefa-report-past-their-peak-new-south-wales-coal-export-volumes-head-towards-terminal-decline-as-markets-transition-away-from-coal/

            Australia runs the risk that our coal and gas infrastructure become “stranded assets” in future. We need to plan an equitable transition.

            Australia can alternatively become a renewable energy superpower supplier for Asia via undersea high voltage DC electricity transmission.
            See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1IC6TiNDRc from time interval 08:45 to 10:55.

            You then state:

            “You missed my main point. Even if I agree with all the science I would still opt to properly plan our future not rush head long into the unknown while the rest of the world cruises along with business as usual.”

            No, I haven’t. I responded to your main point (see previous reply) with:

            “Worse still, too slow a rate of change implemented to reduce emissions rapidly risks the collapse of civilization and rendering planet Earth potentially uninhabitable – good planets are difficult to come by. There are no jobs on a dead planet! You apparently underestimate the risks of not acting fast enough.”

            I agree we need to properly plan and not rush head long (where have I stated we should “rush head long into the unknown”? – your inference; not mine – please stop misrepresenting my earlier replies), but we are also ‘on the clock’. Humanity must reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 (preferably sooner). If “the rest of the world cruises along with business as usual” then we are ALL TOAST! But renewables are now cheaper for electricity generation (as Ronald Brakels’ reply to you on Jan 11 also states), so there’s now a powerful economic driver to transition the electricity generation sector rapidly – that’s the easier (but not easy) part; transitioning away from petroleum oil is a whole lot more difficult, but it must also be done!

            You state:

            “The Australian public deserve to be brought into this debate so that we can make informed decisions about our nation.”

            Agreed, but the Australian public need to be adequately informed, including the “scary” information, to make fully informed decisions. Unfortunately, I don’t think most of the Australian public are being adequately informed (I think thanks to missing and biased reporting from predominantly mainstream media and vested interest propaganda), and based on the responses you have given, I suspect you are among the ill-informed, apparently reluctant to look at the “scary” bits. I suspect there are many Australians unprepared and unwilling to reduce their living standards, particularly if they are blissfully unaware of the apparent consequences of continuing business as usual – that requires being FULLY informed.

            You state:

            “You obviously think Australia needs to act quickly regardless of the consequences.”

            Where have I stated, “regardless of the consequences”? Please stop misrepresenting my earlier replies and read them (and linked references) carefully. The consequences of not acting fast enough are likely existential – do you wish to take that risk with your (and if you have one, your family’s) futures? Do you wish to close your eyes to the “scary” facts/evidence and remain blissfully ignorant of the looming and urgent existential challenges?

  7. It is very simple why energy companies hate rooftop solar – it costs them business. For many consumers who install rooftop solar, their electricity bills are being cut to roughly a third or less of what they were originally. That means, for energy companies a 60% to 70% or higher drop in revenue.
    What I would like to see however is a move of the main emphasis of government incentives from solar panels to batteries. Solar is already at a level where it makes sense without an incentive. Batteries are a different story, and the market needs encouragement to grow. I am not saying we should get rid of solar incentives, but rather that the main emphasis should move towards incentivising the installation of domestic battery systems. The energy companies would hate that even more.
    I for one enjoy seeing the energy companies getting a kick in the teeth. I am sure lots of other Australians do too.

    • Douglas Ferrier says:

      What a great idea, Geoff!
      I looked at batteries & the guy selling them told me, under intense questioning, that a fully charged system MIGHT power my house for around 4 hours…all for a miserly outlay of around $12,000!
      AND so you are on the subsidy bandwagon AGAIN, this time for batteries!
      Enlighten me Geoff: how is the environment going to cope with this MASSIVE supply of dud batteries from solar installations & electric cars in 5-10 years when they all expire?…& what about all the nasties in their (& wind turbine) manufacturing processes?
      Oh!…& what about all those inverters that have a life span of just over 5 years, just when the usual guarantee expires…another unexpected shock & VERY EXPENSIVE outlay for the unsuspecting gullible buyers of the average roof top solar system.
      BUT that is the price we all have to pay in Australia for lowering the planet’s temperature by 1.5 %.
      Year, right!.. & pigs might fly someday too, probably after a few more billions of year’s of evolution, by which time the land of OZ will be totally under water again, burying all those rainforests & making more coal.
      Cheeri-pip

      !

  8. Douglas Ferrier says:

    I think ALL subsidied should be scrapped…there is no free lunch!..if you get a subsidy, someone else gets whacked for it; in the case of solar, its the poor bastards who can’t afford it or the general taxpayer.
    AND you want one BIG battery that stores energy for milleniums?…not just one in your garage that will power your household for a couple of hours? …then try a lump of coal!
    Did you know that the Qld. LABOUR Govt. is budgeting on receiving $7 Billion, yes BILLIONS, in royalties from coal this financial year?…so all this faux protestation by Labour about saving the planet & opposing Adani is ALL bullshit!
    Get a grip Guys & wake up..you are all being lead by the nose!

    • Geoff Miell says:

      Douglas Ferrier,
      You state:

      “I think ALL subsidied [sic] should be scrapped…there is no free lunch!..if you get a subsidy, someone else gets whacked for it; in the case of solar, its the poor bastards who can’t afford it or the general taxpayer.”

      Douglas, have you ever received medical attention supported by subsidies from Medicare? Have you purchased medications supported by subsidies from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)? Would you prefer to pay ‘full whack’ for your (and if you have one, your family’s) medical procedures and pharmaceuticals? Do you get the family rebate from the ATO, and if so, would you be willing to forgo it? The fossil fuel industry gets far more subsidies than renewables – should they be scrapped too?
      See: https://www.michaelwest.com.au/as-planet-cooks-coalition-cooks-the-books-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies/
      I suggest that you be careful what you wish for, because I suspect you don’t have a clue about the full implications of scrapping ALL subsidies – you may find you could be much worse off. Is that what you really wish for?

      Then you state:

      “AND you want one BIG battery that stores energy for milleniums? [sic]…not just one in your garage that will power your household for a couple of hours? …then try a lump of coal!”

      I certainly don’t want “one BIG battery that stores energy for milleniums”. Perhaps you mean millennia (i.e. thousands of years) – your question is visibly absurd. Finite global coal reserves (at current consumption rates) certainly won’t last for millennia. A “lump of coal” certainly won’t provide energy for very long.

      For a coal mine like Adani’s Carmichael open cut mine proposal, to extract a lump of coal requires displacing many lumps of overburden, with lots of dust produced in the process, creating vast voids and disrupting aquifers that many farmers depend upon. Former coal miner Wayne Riley produced a video (duration 7:41) he expected to present to the Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) public meeting on Dec 12, reviewing the United Wambo open cut project (that was cancelled at short notice due to one of the panel members declaring a ‘conflict of interest’) that he has now published on YouTube, that shows some of the impacts of open cut mining in the Hunter Valley of NSW. The Adani mine would have similar impacts.
      See: The Singleton Argus online article headlined “Former coal miner Wayne Riley says open cut mines are destroying the Hunter Valley”, by Louise Nichols, dated Dec 17.
      See Riley’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etNk1g3zEQ0

      New renewables (with ‘firming’) are now decisively cheaper than new coal-, gas- and nuclear-based electricity generation. It’s inevitable Australian coal- and gas-fired power will be displaced by renewables – it’s only a question of how quickly that happens.
      See my comment: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/yarrabee-solar-farm-mb0880/#comment-337380

      Douglas, opposing Adani’s Carmichael mine (and other open cut mines) is certainly NOT “ALL bullshit”!

      And then you state:

      “Did you know that the Qld. LABOUR Govt. is budgeting on receiving $7 Billion, yes BILLIONS, in royalties from coal this financial year?”

      Global coal production and consumption both peaked in 2013 and have been lower since (per “BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018”, pages 38 – 40).

      CoalSwarm’s data indicates that the amount of coal power capacity that began operating during the first half of 2018 (20 GW) was nearly matched by the amount retired (16 GW), for a net increase of just 4 GW – the slowest rate of growth on record. If the slowdown continues global coal capacity should peak by 2022, if not sooner. During the first six months of 2018, 43 coal-fired generator units were added and 52 retired, meaning the global coal fleet SHRANK by nine units.
      See: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-peak-coal-is-getting-closer-latest-figures-show

      Governments relying on continued coal royalties to assist balancing their future budgets are likely to be increasingly disappointed, so it would be prudent to rapidly develop alternative revenues to supersede the inevitable decline in coal royalties. New and existing coal mines are highly likely to become “stranded assets” soon. Thus, Australian governments (i.e. local, state and federal) also need to begin planning a transition for communities and businesses that will be affected by the inevitable global coal demand downturn.
      See: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/nsw-coal-decline-mb0809/

      Douglas, I think your comments suggest to me you are ill-informed and likely being led by the nose by coal industry propaganda. I think you need to get a grip, wake-up and become much better informed!

      • Douglas Ferrier says:

        Hi Geoff..(sorry I missed on millennia!)

        I support a cleaner planet, of course, & I believe in solar. I do have panels on my roof (refer to my reply to Adan Ant),…BUT in SA we have the dearest power IN THE WORLD whereas we used to have around the cheapest a few years ago, before the previous Labor State Govt destroyed our one coal fired power station. The effect on business has been diabolical; E.G. some small IGA supermarkets have reported that the cost of their electricity has soared by $220,000 or more per annum!.

        And its all wonderful for the well educated, well paid & well off…but what about the poor, elderly, or sick who cant’ afford $5 or 6k for a decent solar system?,,..ever thought about them? Seems not. They just pay more on their power bills to support the elite who have solar

        Never mind the billions of poor bastards in the developing world either, who earn a few dollars a day & burn cow dung or a little coal to survive,,..go get yourself a solar system you dumb buggers!!

        I support wind power,(but I think we are being ripped off big time in the environmental & manufacturing costs of those enormous turbine towers).

        However ONE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM…if the wind don’t blow & the sun don’t shine we are in deep trouble…so what did the previous Labor Govt do? Spent millions of $$$ on massive banks of back-up DIESEL (yes, diesel !!) generators AND millions $$ more on “The biggest battery in World” which some “experts” tell us will power the whole State for around 5 minutes, or 220,000 homes for around 15 minutes, (maybe up to 60 minutes on a really good day). WOW!!!..that will save the food going off in a 24 hour blackout.

        Finally its a bit rich comparing essential citizen health subsidies with subsidies for non-essential solar power systems for the privileged, like you & me

        • Geoff Miell says:

          Douglas Ferrier,
          You state:

          “I support a cleaner planet, of course, & I believe in solar.”

          Douglas, your comments suggest to me you are regurgitating fossil fuel industry propaganda and indulging in Labor government ‘bashing’, whilst enjoying the benefits of (presumably subsidized) solar panels on your roof.

          You state:

          “…in SA we have the dearest power IN THE WORLD whereas we used to have around the cheapest a few years ago, before the previous Labor State Govt destroyed our one coal fired power station.”

          South Australia has always had dearer wholesale electricity prices compared with the other states.
          See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/myth-south-australias-high-electricity-prices-46061/

          South Australia’s (SA’s) 520 MW nameplate capacity sub-bituminous coal-fired Northern Power Station, owned by Alinta Energy (not the SA Government), was closed on 9 May 2016, due to economic viability being progressively eroded as wind and solar generation increased in SA. The Labor SA State Government did not “destroy” the coal-fired power station – Alinta Energy made a business decision (rightly or wrongly) to close it. So, it seems to me your statements above are ill-informed.
          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Power_Station_(South_Australia)

          Then you state:

          “And its all wonderful for the well educated, well paid & well off…but what about the poor, elderly, or sick who cant’ afford $5 or 6k for a decent solar system?,,..ever thought about them? Seems not. They just pay more on their power bills to support the elite who have solar”

          And yet YOU were calling for “ALL subsidied [sic] should be scrapped…there is no free lunch!” (see your earlier comment) ALL SUBSIDIES SHOULD BE SCRAPPED – your clear intent; certainly not mine – so who’s not thinking about the subsidies that do help the “poor, elderly, or sick” that you call to be ALL scrapped? Or did you really mean only scrapping subsidies for renewables, that you presumably have taken advantage of when you had your solar-PV system installed – you get the advantage then call to deny others (that still haven’t taken advantage) of similar benefits? I think that’s rank hypocrisy!

          Then you state:

          “Never mind the billions of poor bastards in the developing world either, who earn a few dollars a day & burn cow dung or a little coal to survive,,..go get yourself a solar system you dumb buggers!!”

          It appears to me you have regurgitated a myth from the coal lobby, that denying the developing world of coal will deprive them of much needed energy for their development. It appears to me you ignored my statement in my earlier comment that: New renewables (with ‘firming’) are now decisively cheaper than new coal-, gas- and nuclear-based electricity generation. That doesn’t just apply for Australia, it’s also true for nearly all major economies of the world; Japan being one of the few exceptions.
          See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/lazard-hails-inflection-point-as-wind-solar-costs-beat-new-and-old-fossils-72497/
          Also: https://reneweconomy.com.au/unsubsidised-wind-and-solar-now-cheapest-form-of-bulk-energy-96453/

          Then you state this:

          “I support wind power,(but I think we are being ripped off big time in the environmental & manufacturing costs of those enormous turbine towers).”
          What evidence do you have to support your statement that “we are being ripped off big time in the environmental & manufacturing costs of those enormous turbine towers”? Have the CSIRO, AEMO, Lazard, and BNEF got it all wrong and you know what’s really going on?
          See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-stunning-wind-solar-and-battery-costs-the-coalition-refuses-to-accept-31985/

          And this statement of yours suggests you haven’t bothered to look at my links:

          “However ONE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM…if the wind don’t blow & the sun don’t shine we are in deep trouble…”

          Watch and listen to ANU Professor Blakers’ to answer your “FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM”. Or are you saying you know better than Professor Blakers? Who are you to say so? What are your technical/engineering qualifications?
          See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1IC6TiNDRc
          Also: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/labor-solar-battery-subsidy/#comment-294188

          Finally, your last statement:

          “Finally its a bit rich comparing essential citizen health subsidies with subsidies for non-essential solar power systems for the privileged, like you & me”

          Perhaps you need to be precise about what you mean by “ALL subsidied [sic] should be scrapped”. It seems to me you now only want to scrap subsidies for renewables, and keep subsidies for fossil fuels – is that correct?

          Despite my earlier reply you appear to remain ill-informed. It’s up to you whether you wish to be better informed or continue ignoring the available evidence and displaying your apparent ignorance on energy matters.

          • Douglas Ferrier says:

            You can trot out all your arm-chair “experts” Geoff, but I have been at the “coal face” (ha,ha), of the race to “save the planet” here in SA…you have not, obviously…but I can tell you that the closure of our coal fired power station caused, (maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly), by the irresponsible,crazy, actions of the fanatical green Labor Govt. we had here, causing my power bills to almost double.
            In order to bring my electricity bill back in order, I had little choice but to spent around $12,000 to install roof top solar (yes, AFTER around $2,800 of taxpayer subsidy paid to the solar suppliers/installers & passed onto me), & take other measures to protect myself & shore up reliability of supply in case the wind don’t blow & the sun don’t shine.
            FABULOUS!!..NOT!!..& I’m not finished yet, as I have to spend another $1,000 or so to modify my electric meter to connect my fossil-fuel generator to it, because when the inevitable blackout occurs, the solar power generated on my roof will go nowhere & thus be useless.
            My son lives in Melbourne & is beginning to experience the pain, just as I have, as the Labor Govt there goes down the same track of effectively forcing the closure of the coal fired power stations in Victoria.
            You are, in my opinion, an elitist, Geoff, sitting in your “Ivory Tower” who doesn’t give a stuff about the poor who, as we have witnessed here in SA, suffer the most; power cut off, freezing in winter & sweltering in summer, with the inability to get on the gravy train…not to mention the billions of dirt-poor, in countries like Africa & India.
            “Let them eat cake”, I hear you say.
            Have a good day

          • Geoff Miell says:

            Douglas Ferrier (Re: Jan 8, 8:19pm),

            In our exchange of comments in this thread I have noticed a pattern emerging. You appear to make many comments that are not supported by any credible evidence, whereas my comments include links to, IMHO, reliable sources. It seems to me that evidence is irrelevant for you – ideology is all that apparently matters for you. You state:

            “You can trot out all your arm-chair “experts” Geoff, but I have been at the “coal face” (ha,ha), of the race to “save the planet” here in SA…you have not, obviously…”

            Douglas, so it seems to me from your comments above that you apparently think the CSIRO, AEMO, Lazard, BNEF, Professor Blakers, etc. are “arm-chair ‘experts’”, do you? You appear to condescendingly dismiss anything that contradicts your unenlightened ideology and you appear to fail to consider you may actually be wrong on quite a few points – I think you are engaging in supreme hubris.

            And what “obvious” evidence do you have to make a judgement about what I’m doing? You don’t know me.

            How is putting in a back-up generator at your home (see your comment to AdamAnt on Jan 7) saving the planet there in SA? What fuel does your generator unit use – gas, diesel or petrol? How does burning more fossil fuels “save the planet”, Douglas?

            You state:

            “…but I can tell you that the closure of our coal fired power station caused, (maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly), by the irresponsible,crazy, actions of the fanatical green Labor Govt. we had here, causing my power bills to almost double.”

            Douglas, who passed legislation in 1998 to privatize the then state-owned Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) that had built and operated the Northern and Playford power stations? – The Olsen Liberal SA government, reneging on promises not to privatize in the lead-up to the 1997 SA state election. Perhaps you should be blaming a succession of state and federal governments (both Labor, Liberal and COALition) over a period of more than a decade for a lack of any coherent, effective energy planning, for your current predicament? But it seems to me you have a short memory and prefer to engage only in Labor ‘bashing’.

            The current NSW Coalition government in the previous term passed legislation to sell-off state-owned generator assets: 2000 MW Liddell (announced retirement in 2022) and 2640 MW Bayswater (announced retirement in 2035) both sold to AGL in Sep 2014; 1320 MW Vales Point B to Sunset Power International for $1 million in Nov 2015, 1000 MW Wallerawang (promptly ceased generating in Mar 2014) and 1400 MW Mt Piper to EnergyAustralia for $475 million in Sep 2013; and 2880 MW Eraring (probably closing in 2032) to Origin. The federal COALition government did not object to the NSW state-owned generator sell-off at that time.

            I think that the NSW Coalition Government is not doing enough to avoid an electricity supply crisis in the early 2020s, when the Liddell coal-fired power station closes.
            See: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/nsw-renewables-progress-mb0854/#comment-304071

            You state:

            “You are, in my opinion, an elitist, Geoff, sitting in your “Ivory Tower” who doesn’t give a stuff about the poor who, as we have witnessed here in SA, suffer the most; power cut off, freezing in winter & sweltering in summer, with the inability to get on the gravy train…not to mention the billions of dirt-poor, in countries like Africa & India.”

            You continually fail to argue your position (with any credible evidence), displaying ignorance of pertinent facts/evidence, and draw upon baseless ideology/homilies, and utilize emotive ad hominem attacks.

          • Douglas Ferrier says:

            Hello again Geoff;
            In my long experience of life I have found it pays to very sceptical, as there is always another panel of “experts” who have counter views.
            May I suggest you google:
            “Tim Flannery- Professor of Dud Projections & Climate Falsehoods…& have a good read of this “expert’s” predictions!
            Then scroll half way down the site to ‘Categories” on the RH side…& take your pick of subjects/areas to explore.
            Its got it all the counter arguments by many other “experts”, professors, scientists etc, etc. from A- Z
            Anyway, you have your views about mankind’s ability to alter the World’s climate. I think it is impertinent of man to think he can change it..(its an impossible dream that will never be implemented, in my opinion). The climate is forever changing at witnessed by the vast past. “Its the sun wot does it, mate!”
            When you can produce 10,000 years’ of evidence that there is a defined pattern, rather than 100 of rather dodgy stats, (remember, it was only 100 years ago that man learned to fly planes), AND that the changes were UNDENIABLY caused by mankind, rather than an ideological religious belief, then I will come on board.
            In the meantime I think its a great idea to harness the sun’s power & for those who can afford to pay to do so, that’s fine…but I object to others, who can’t afford it, being forced to subsidize them in higher power bills via the closure of cheaper functioning power stations when we have an abundance of cheap coal under our feet & are exporting MASSIVE, MASSIVE, amounts to the rest of the energy hungry World.
            As my wise old mother used to say;
            “A man convince against his will, is of the same opinion still”
            so let’s rest it there!

          • Geoff Miell says:

            Douglas Ferrier (Re: Jan 10, 12:36pm),

            You state:

            “In my long experience of life I have found it pays to very sceptical, as there is always another panel of “experts” who have counter views.”

            I recommend you view a YouTube video titled “Neil deGrasse Tyson scolds cherry picking climate science” (duration 5:28). Tyson says a scientific truth requires a large body of research all pointing in the same direction, and that’s what we have with human-induced climate change. Tyson worries that we may not be able to recover – climate change is happening faster than humanity can respond and that could have huge economic consequences.
            See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1MZ8U8C9c8

            You state:

            “When you can produce 10,000 years’ of evidence that there is a defined pattern, rather than 100 of rather dodgy stats, (remember, it was only 100 years ago that man learned to fly planes), AND that the changes were UNDENIABLY caused by mankind, rather than an ideological religious belief, then I will come on board.”

            If we relied on your “advice” and waited 10,000 years for evidence of “a defined pattern … AND that the changes were UNDENIABLY caused by mankind” then humanity would likely be long since extinct. The evidence is already UNEQUIVOCAL that humanity is the primary driver of climate change, but climate change science deniers refuse to accept that – that’s what you appear to be: a denier, not a ‘sceptic’. You are playing Russian roulette with your (and if you have one, your family’s) futures.
            See: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

            You appear to continue to regurgitate coal industry propaganda with your statements:

            “…via the closure of cheaper functioning power stations when we have an abundance of cheap coal under our feet & are exporting MASSIVE, MASSIVE, amounts to the rest of the energy hungry World.”

            Your so-called “cheaper functioning power stations” were closed because they could no longer compete economically (e.g. Northern, Wallerawang C, Munmorah, Redbank) and were approaching or at the end of their design life and becoming increasingly more unreliable (e.g. Hazlewood, Playford B, Morwell).

            Coal and coal power is no longer cheap, as I have said in earlier comments: New renewables (with ‘firming’) are now decisively cheaper than new coal-, gas- and nuclear-based electricity generation.

            Australian thermal coal exports have declined since 2015 and more contraction is expected. High export revenues entirely reflect current high prices. High coal prices reflect growing concerns over the long-term viability of the industry. The rest of the world is discovering they won’t need our thermal coal in future because there are cheaper, cleaner, zero-carbon emissions, more rapidly deployable, reliable, safer, long-term sustainable alternatives.
            See: http://ieefa.org/ieefa-report-past-their-peak-new-south-wales-coal-export-volumes-head-towards-terminal-decline-as-markets-transition-away-from-coal/

            You continue to display ignorance of pertinent facts/evidence. You can bring a horse to water, but you cannot force the horse to drink.

  9. Douglas as you are clearly a fully paid-up card-carrying member of the Liberal Party I reckon you are in the wrong place mate ! The people here believe in solar and resent the efforts of your Party to limit it’s uptake solely to protect the interests of those at the big end of Town.

    • Douglas Ferrier says:

      Hi AdamAnt;
      I assure you I am not a member of the Liberal Party…but I would guess you are a paid up member of the looney left,”The Greens”
      FYI, I live in SA & have spent around $12k to insulate myself from the most expensive power IN THE WORLD, via solar panels, a back up generator, changed over all my lighting to low energy globes & put in a couple of energy efficient “split” air-conditioners in my most used rooms, to save using the ducted system, …all this outlay because the previous idiot Labor Govt destroyed a perfectly functioning coal fired power station due to their drunken ideology of this pissy little State “saving the World” (What a sad f… joke!).. as if!
      Mate, I want a clean planet as much as anyone else BUT if you don’t believe in fossil fuels, coal, & bitumen & anything else dug out of the ground, then I suggest you trash your laptop, phone, car & anything else that has plastic as a component, wear hand woven sack-cloth, forage for your own food, live in a cave, & get around in a cart pulled by a non-farting horse, on dirt roads! Sort of back to the days of the pre Roman Empire stuff!
      As far the “Big End of Town” is concerned you may be interested to know that AGL put their hand in your & my pockets to the tune of $500 Mill. (that we know of) in subsidies for their solar/wind farms… & in this State, all the poles, power lines, infrastructure etc, have been flogged off to Hong Kong interests,..so please don’t accuse me of supporting” The big End Of Town”, because I don’t…they are just hitched onto this outrageous gravy train, as you obviously are.
      Cheers,

    • Evan Jones says:

      AdamAnt please debate the policy rather than attacking the politics of the contributor.. If this site wishes to involve itself in the politics of climate change or energy then we should be open to an informed an unbiased debate. Your belief in solar is admirable but we will be dependent on other forms of energy for decades.

      Your comments on the big end of town also suggest the Liberal/National government protect their mates. In more enlightened times both the Hawke and Keating governments understood the nation’s prosperity and the government’s fortunes relied on a strong and vibrant business community. Governments of any persuasion will always realise, sooner or later, that a vibrant economy driven by a successful business sector will win over voters. Bill Shorten may take a little longer.

      My suggestion is that the national government get out of the energy market and the states take full responsibility. Voters will then know who to blame or applaud for energy prices or energy reliability and changes to the earth’s climate. States will then need to be honest about the real implictions of energy policy changes which have not yet been properly explained to voters because they can always blame the Commonwealth, energy suppliers or regulators.

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: