Misinformation used again to undermine renewable energy target

solar lies

The Renewable Energy Target is Under Attack!

About two weeks ago we delivered a broadside against Origin Energy’s and the NSW State government’s apparent war against solar power. As you may recall, SQHQ considers the attempt by traditional energy utilities to influence the 2014 review of the renewable energy target (RET), to be part of a wider campaign against solar power. This driven in most part by misinformation. The latest manifestation is an Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommendation that solar households be charged more to use energy utilities’ infrastructure.

At the risk of being accused by solar narks of being a bunch of swivel-eyed, cherry-picking, cardigan-wearing, latte-sipping, conspiracy theorists, this latest use of the misinformation appears at the heart of an anti-renewable campaign. As a certain nasty little gentleman from history once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

The nasty little lie is of course that renewable energy such as solar is the main cause of households’ skyrocketing electricity bills. A little research shows this to be untrue. By far the main cause of rising energy prices is the huge increase in cost of utilities’ own infrastructure such as power poles, network costs etc.

To quote IPART, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal — the source (mis)quoted by Origin — network costs are to blame for the horror electricity bills.

“Rising network costs have been the biggest contributor to the increase in electricity bills. These are the costs of paying the network businesses to use the transmission and distribution networks to transport electricity from the power stations to their customers properties.”

Not to mention the pressure air conditioners place on the grid.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good old fashioned anti-renewable campaign appears to be the line followed by the fossil fuel polluters and their unquestioning cheerleaders in some sections of the mainstream press. Their compliant parliamentary chair polishers throughout our wide brown land (and getting browner if energy utilities had their way) appear to agree with the energy companies. As discussed previously, Origin, along with their buddy Big, Bad Bazza O’Farrell, propagates the anti-alternative energy lie by writing (in large red letters on each electricity bill) that renewables are to blame for the increases.

Are we right readers? Or are we the victims of a watermelon conspiracy designed to revert our country back into the stone age; the line driven ad nauseum by the Murdoch press? Are fossil-fuel polluters and other vested interests just being naturally loose with the truth to protect their rapidly diminishing market share? Did we really expect them to go down without a dirty fight on the renewable energy target and energy policy in general?

More importantly will Aussies looking to invest in the future ignore the current brouhaha and continue to vote with their roofs? This last point is of course the nightmare of the traditional solar narks and utilities.

As always your comments, suggestions, denunciations, witty ripostes and more are welcomed either here or over at our Facebook Page. You can also sign a petition against the solar tax at Solar Citizens website here.


  1. You say that Fossil Fuel Polluters and other vested interests are loose with the truth but couldn’t the same be said of the Climate Change Faithful. The argument goes both ways, on one hand we have the above mentioned Fossil fuel merchants et al and on the other we have those who use “settled science” to report doom and gloom scenarios that don’t happen. For years we have been warned about rising temperatures that haven’t moved for 15 years, but don’t let facts get in the road of a good story, we have been told that dams would never fill again but have, once again don’t let etc. etc. Then we have the pearl of rising sea levels that were going to swamp the low lying suburbs of Australia but haven’t. Either report both sides of the story or leave it alone as one sided articles like this do nothing to enhance the viability of renewable energy sources unless of course you are one of those who believe that we can, in Australia actually do something to combat the perceived problem and save the world when we only contribute 1.5% of Green House Gases.
    As for those who have taken advantage of their fellow Australians and get a generous rebate for their power I believe that they should be actually put on a higher rate than those who haven’t the money to sponge off their fellow man, a level playing field so to speak.

    • kimalice are you suggesting that all PV installations are subsidized by the government? While in the initial days of the trend that might have been the case I did not get any gov assistance for my latest system. As I said I give power back to my supplier who in turn sells it at a premium to customers who pay extra to have green energy. And I pay the same as everyone else for any power I use so there is no need to tax me to make the field level.

    • I didn’t spend thousands of dollars for a domestic PV system to then have some prat decide to charge me more for infrastructure ‘costs’! If they want to play that game, then pay the same for power fed into the grid as what is charged for that taken from the grid.

      • David Burke says

        Of course the Grid Infrastructure is part of the cost of supplying energy. It’s no use having a Power Station with no lines to deliver its electricity to the consumer. Solar Panels only produce electricity for a fraction of a day; and amount produced also varies. However, we want electricity available to us 24 hours each day and as much as we may need. We also want Street lighting, red lights at intersections etc. The maximum demand is usually between 6:00 and 10:00pm. The Energy Companies are buying Solar Power when the demand is not so high. Germany has a high percentage of Solar Panels, but also experiences frequent rolling blackouts. The high ‘buyback’ price for Green Energy is a Govt subsidy (paid by those without Solar Panels). Origen announced in 2013 (before the Abbott Govt) their intention to renogiate this buyback price. This is what caused me to decide against getting Solar Panels. Unfortunately Coal is the cheapest, though dirtiest substance for Energy production; but is what is presently providing ‘after-hours’ electricity.

  2. Yes Minister says

    There is no doubt whatever that the bloodsucking parasites we elect & their avaricious retailer comrades are horrified with the profits / kickbacks they are losing due to people installing PV systems. The galahs steadfastly refuse to admit that untold greed and duplicity is the primary reason so many are employing whatever options to reduce the amount siphoned out of shrinking household budgets. Queenslands General Disaster in particular is a master of both deception & divide / conquer, furthermore the bottom-feeding grub has no problem using the services of Rupert Murdoch to promote his lies. Seems I’m not the only one researching ways to strike back, according to a few PV system installers I’ve spoken to recently, more and more folk are disgusted with the political / corporate antics.

  3. Sorry! I have just returned to the grid 221 units at high charge times that Synegy on sells for a premium. They gave me the magnificent sum of $19.56 as a credit. If I had bought it from them they would have charged me at least $50 depending on my tariff rate. And they say we are causing high rates? If it was not so expensive I would be putting in a storage system and not returning any to the grid.

    • Yes Minister says

      Misinformation is a favourite mainstay of both elected parasites & big business. Queenslands General Disaster has used a few lies in attempts to divert attention from his own duplicity & ineptitude, firstly the ‘solar people caused most of the electricity price increase’ despite his own tame Competition Authority telling a completely different story, secondly ‘gold plated poles & wires’ despite most of those capable of doing said ‘gold plating’ having been sacked, and thirdly ‘carbon tax’ despite the sheer impossibility of a 10% tax causing over 50% price increase. I’ve been doing a lot of homework re off-grid systems and intend installing one in the near future despite it being only a mediocre financial proposition. What appeals to me is the opportunity to do exactly what the nasty little mole doesn’t want me to do ie extract a bit more (totally legally) from the existing grid-connect installation with the state government picking up the tab albeit over a period of time.

  4. phase.verocity says

    Nice comments and sure the prices are going up for a lot of things because so many people think they have to make enough in a year to buy that new car and house and 2.5 children. What is happening is that the top 1% of the richest people in the world are getting ridiculously rich and the rest of the world is falling apart because of it.. Normal people simply can’t afford to pay the prices driving up in electricity and so there is a big argument happening that electricity companies are raising it too high. Electricity Companies on the other hand are saying our workers are specialized people and deserve very high pay’s because they have qualifications. For that they need to charge lots. Then you have the guys that make the products and they think there pretty special too so they have to charge an arm and a leg and then you have the gov’t who think there real special so they have to take heaps more for tax so they can afford to pay out there million dollar payouts. Our world is supposed to be way above that of the plebes and peasants but in reality we are all peasants. The only difference between this world and the world before us is that in the world before us peasants were given food and housing. Modern peasants are just given money and told to work it out themselves. They come in all shapes and forms from child care workers to electricians. The more skilled you are the better the peasant you are and so you get a higher pay. People aren’t happy being peasants though and so they want to prove as much as they can that they aren’t. And the basis of our societies way of proving you aren’t a peasant is by owning a lot of things and to do that you need money. So what is really happening. Electricity companies don’t want to be peasants so they suck the life out of the peasants who don’t want to be peasants either. The problem is that they suck the life out of the poorest peasants as well as the rich and its driving the poor peasants very much underground. Do any of you know how many homeless people there are in my town. Lots. You don’t see them because they hide. They sometimes stay at people’s houses if there lucky but most of the time they need to find somewhere to stay. And why are they homeless. Because investors have made housing so expensive that they simply can’t afford to live in houses. Now we have a new one to add to the list. Not only can’t they afford to live in houses. They can’t afford to pay the electricity bills either. I think everyone needs to take five and realize that its ok to be a peasant. Peasants have been around for generations. Its just that peasants that were willing to work got housing.and food where as we get money. Do you think were better off with money? The answer will be different for everyone. Probably yes for those with housing and no for those without. Nobody is nasty either, were all human. We just get different environments and they shape us. Mostly in the first 6 years of our lives if you believe what science says.

    • Yes Minister says

      To my way of thinking, Rich Bowden is being extremely polite to the bloodsucking parasites by using the term ‘misinformation’ when in reality what they are telling us is deliberate lies. As I’ve said ad infinitum & ad nauseum, the billion dollar per annum grab from Energex / Ergon & the four billion per annum overhead of the electricity retailers have done far more to escalate power price than any amount of poles & wires or PV systems. Furthermore, the actual expenditure on poles & wires has decreased dramatically since the despicable little Mole managed to get elected. Anyone conversant with Energex / Ergon would be fully aware that maintenance / new construction has been put on hold since the state election and a sizable percentage of their technical personnel have been sacked Even if their was an official ‘ gold plating’ policy, there is no way known it could be implemented without the staff qualified to do the work. Thats more than simple ‘misinformation’, its part a campaign of deliberate male bovine dropping. The Newman / Seeney / Nicholls cabal has deliberately employed a campaign of ‘divide & conquer’ in order to pit non-PV owners against PV owners, despite the latters totally legitimate of a strategies implemented by previous governments. Even if Newman et al had good reasons to disagree with previous policies, they are legally bound to observe contract conditions or cop the consequences of the biggest class-action lawsuit in recorded history. Note that the latest attempt of sabre rattling a few months resulted in a warning from Solar Citizens that over 400,000 PV owners had their biros warmed up ready to attack Newman & Company. I’m not suggesting we should necessarily have retained either of the utterly inept state or federal ALP circuses, however its perfectly clear that the LNP replacements are equally ‘on the nose’. Both major political tribes have failed dismally & few if any of their members have the moral right to use the ‘honorable’ title. For what its worth, there are at least a couple of essential services where new and massive price escalation is certain in the forseeable future, maybe those will divert attention from solar power. Firstly, LPG price is certain to increase dramatically due to adoption of world parity pricing in Australia. Secondly, its only a matter of time before the oil industry discovers its been left behind in the money-grabbing game and seizes on peak oil to bump up the price of petrol / diesel / aviation fuels a few hundred percent. Its immaterial whether peak oil is ‘real’ or not, my point is that its easily a good enough excuse for a 500% price rise.

  5. charging solar equipped households more for infrastructure costs is one way for a government to lose the next election.

    • Yes Minister says

      EXACTLY. It may not have been the case years ago, but with the massive increase in number of household PV systems there are more than sufficient folk to swing either a state or a federal election should the politicians decide to go on the warpath. Newman would dearly love to play this game however even that supremely arrogant lunatic is reluctant to risk the backlash, especially as he’s already been warned off by Solar citizens. Maybe thats the reason he decided on a vendetta against the various tattooed Harley Davidson fraternities.

  6. d'Albert Mtalhoko says

    Widespread, aggressive misinformation is fundamental to the way Multinational Corporates have operated for decades to safeguard their dominance of Commercial markets and safeguard any dent in their ever soaring profits if they are in the ‘Fossil-fuel’ business. We saw that as far back as the 1950s when they(with BAT leading the way) aggressively dismissed the ‘solid,copper-bottomed proof’ by Richard Doll’s group at Oxford that smoking tobacco caused cancer.They will employ all kind of tricks to prevent the fledgling ‘Solar Energy Harvesting Industry’ taking off !

  7. phase.verocity says

    The biggest problem is that special people aren’t very intelligent. Not because they can’t be but because greed takes over and they lose there direction. Energy companies could have been investing massive profits into solar years and years and years ago but they didn’t because the cost was too high and it would have cut into the precious profits too much. As usual now we get to be the victims. Ain’t life grand!! oh and don’t worry they’ll find a way to make it all our fault! What? you drive a car. Oh you’re pumping out a fraction of a green house gas. The same greenhouse gas that gets delivered from from volcanoes all the time in massive doses. Its not our green house gasses that are killing the environment. Its the deforestation of most of the worlds natural rain forests. But they won’t say its because of that because then it wouldn’t be our fault. Best way to keep you’re peasants calm. Make them feel guilty.

    • I have noticed the little red message on my last power bill and I am not impressed at all.

      • This ets thing. The power companies have to pay for pollution so charge extra. Then they buy the ets from solar power people to make up for the pollution . Ok so where does this save on pollution.

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