Queensland’s feed-in tariff: playing politics with solar?

Solar Cuts

Solar Feed In Tariffs axed in Queensland

Unsurprising news this week that solar feed-in tariffs in Queensland will be cut from one of the country’s most generous (0.44c per kilowatt hour) to 0.8 cents per kilowatt hour has led the solar news this week in Australia.

Regular readers of this column may be expecting your correspondent to fly off into an anti-state government tirade about favouring earth-destroying fossil fuels over the renewable energy industry.

Maybe something about the pollies’ almost kneejerk reaction to slash subsidies to solar industries as soon as they enter office? (At least “No Can Do” Newman had the good grace to wait a few months before slashing the solar subsidy). Or a good old fashioned rant about the effectiveness of our state and federal governments in managing a sustainable energy policy (stop me)?

But no, I’d like to interrupt the rant to pick up on a point made by Mark “The Knife” McArdle, the state’s Energy and Water Supply Minister responsible for the slashing of the feed-in tariff in Queensland.

In a media release of June 26 announcing the cut, the minister appears to play politics with the issue implying that the feed-in tariff had been slashed due to the introduction of the carbon tax. The timing of the announcement surely seems to confirm this.

However the interesting comment buried deep in the press release was that the minister believed “…investing in…photovoltaic cells would help keep the future cost of electricity down.”

Say what minister? When most of your conservative colleagues (led wholeheartedly by the Murdoch press) throughout the country are insisting in the fiction that solar energy will drive up the price of electricity? This in the same breath as saying the world will end upon the introduction of the carbon tax?

If the minister believes solar will help keep electricity prices down, shouldn’t the Queensland Government be supporting the future in energy needs through such assistance as, say, a decent solar feed-in tariff?

But that would be a logical process governed by decisions based on reason and correct economic modelling. Perhaps we can only expect this when the renewable energy industry throws up a mega tonnage, mega influence-seeking trillionaire with lobbying dollars to burn and political parties to purchase? Or am I being a bit harsh here readers?

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Comments

  1. Yeah we had a week or so to get our applications into our energy retailers – very stressful. Ergon’s phone systems and staff were maxed out – poor buggers.

    China is can-do because many of the leaders are engineers, not dopey law or arts graduates.
    Similar with water recycling – let engineers make the decisions- not hysterical dopey plebs.

  2. Iona Fullerton says

    I’m installing solar in Far North Qld. I queried Ergon about their feed in tariff, and was told that it had dropped recently from ~9 cents/KWhr to 6.53 cents “because the Carbon Tax has been removed” (!), and that the rate is reviewed yearly, and everyone’s feed in tariff, except those locked in to the 44 cent rate, is automatically adjusted to the new rate.

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