ACTEW to push back on Solar plan

Jazz 7 August 2007 48

CT is reporting a bizarre plan by the government to artificially price solar power so as to make the technology more attractive to private investors. At the moment ACTEW pay a tarriff to renewable energy providers of around 7c per kilowatt. Under this plan proposed by Labor Backbencher Mick Gentleman ACTEW would pay up to 52c per kilowatt. A huge difference given the cost to produce solar and the arguable difference in its efficiency.

It seems that Canberrans would probably pay for the tariff through a levy on their existing power bills, starting at $1-$2 and growing to around 5%. The theory being that everyone will rush out and install solar panels for their power and reduce reliance on the grid. (at the moment there are around 80 homes with it installed)

For info it currently costs $13,000-$15,000 to install 1kw of solar panels in Canberra, although there is an $8000 Federal Government rebate.

The proposal will be put to the assembly next month.

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48 Responses to ACTEW to push back on Solar plan
Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 2:16 pm 10 Aug 07

Yup, I agree, let the markets decide!
Oh, wait… we are already putting huge investments in nuclear and clean coal technologies. Ideological investment, I call it. Share these investments across all the options and let the market decide!
I personally know a few energy industry heads that bid hands down on renewables.

Ralph Ralph 11:34 am 10 Aug 07

Yeah Slinky, the government should pick technology winners. They have such a marvellous record of getting it right in the past.

Carbon tax, then let the market decide.

Nothing to do with conservative ideology. Personally I’d rather that markets decide what’s competitive for Australia. Should we be making BMWs as well??

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 11:14 am 10 Aug 07

Yup… free ride, but NO PROFIT and no added jobs! THAT was my point above.
“There is also 250 000 jobs in that industry (a lot, considering the noise that Kevin Rudd makes about 20 000 coal jobs in Queensland).”

But as I said… conservatives tend to hold ideology above profit.

Ralph Ralph 10:34 am 10 Aug 07

Listen slinky, I’m more than happy for German and US taxpayers to subsidise solar technology. That doesn’t mean we should be doing it as well.

It’s called comparative advantage.

If through their taxpayer funded R&D for solar technologies we see that technological hump being busted, and solar becomes economic, fantastic. We get to buy it on the cheap, without ever having chucked a dime in. Thankyou, German and US taxpayers. Free ride.

Jazz Jazz 10:29 am 10 Aug 07

Yes but the difference in both of cases you cite is that the public is not expected to foot the bill directly out of a levy imposed by a utlitiy.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 10:29 am 10 Aug 07

Ahh Nigeria – when my 40 million dollars turns up, you won’t see me for dust!

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 10:02 am 10 Aug 07

PS: Before some smart ass points out that the Australian economy is actually dominated by services, I was talking about Australia’s exports.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 9:58 am 10 Aug 07

That was a really constructive comment, Jazz! You didn’t learn your argumentative skills from Lexi Downer?

It’s not just Germany. The Yanks, led by the Governator are pumping a hell of a lot of cash into NREL and other sites that do kick-ass research on renewable energies. All energy companies are investing, too. And guess why? No, they are not loopy greenies – but because that’s where the big future $$$ lie.
But if the Libs (and Labour, co-led by Mr Uranus Garrett) want to keep the Australian economy (‘the clever country’) comparable to Nigeria or Angola (all primary production and mining – no value adding), then SO BE IT. Just don’t bitch that you have been left behind.

Jazz Jazz 9:27 am 10 Aug 07

You know what? Our economy and culture is SOOO identical to Germany’s that anything they’ve done there will immediately work here. What are we waiting for?

RuffnReady RuffnReady 11:02 pm 09 Aug 07

It typically takes more energy to manufacture a solar panel than the solar panel can collect during its life.

Oh, and in energy terms, the new Sliver Cells developed at the ANU and manufactured by Origin Energy (and soon a German company because no-one in Oz would put together $100m to keep the large-scale factory here) take 1 1/2-2 years in energy terms to pay themselves off, with a 30 year lifespan. And that’s only one of about 10 extremely efficient new solar technologies on the market.

Do a little research and you’ll find out amazing things.

RuffnReady RuffnReady 10:55 pm 09 Aug 07

It’s called a “feed-in tariff” and is in no way a “bizarre plan” as it has been used to great effect in Germany to stimulate investment in the solar manufacturing industry.

The idea is to give certainty to consumers if they invest in solar cells, driving up demand and thus supply to fill that demand, and eventually gaining economies of scale in the industry as it matures and the relative price of the product falls. The feed-in tariff is then reduced or withdrawn.

Think of it as a way to help a new industry develop, because just like historical import-export trade tariffs which protected our industries, that’s what it will do.

Google it and see.

We need to incentivise the uptake of renewable generation and efficiency measures because coal currently DOES NOT PAY FOR ITS POLLUTION AND NEVER HAS (ie. a classic market failure).

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:56 am 09 Aug 07

I might just stick a gas tube up my ass and start eating baked beans. Surely I can sell the excess gas to the gas supply grid?

Pandy Pandy 8:18 am 09 Aug 07

This is a great idea and I hope the Liberals back it to show some leadership on the issue.

However, 1kw panels? What a fracking joke!

Lets make a serious dent in global warming and not some token lip service to the issue. Look at what a normal Canberra house needs for its energy needs per day:

lights in several rooms at once (kids et al studying)
one or two spot electric heaters
games console
electric range
water heater

plus the non essestials like dishwasher, but “every” new home/unit has one
clothes drier.

I bet (I stand correcte) you would need around 4kw of daylight power to run a house.

Therefore the ACTEW rebate should not kick-in unless a large panel is installed.

Oh I will give short shrift those those electricity nazies who find comfort having a $0 power bill, huddled around their 11W energy efficient globe.

Finally, it is not all about solar panels. Mike Genetleman would also encourage the installation of micro wind turbines on roof tops.

OK maybe not final, but the planning laws would have to be changed to allow, with no bloody restrictions, panels on street side roof and wind turbines above the roof line. Did you know that it is still illegal to have an antenae visible from the street?

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 10:57 pm 08 Aug 07

Dr. Ralph, calculators and gadgets?
Well, it is projected that in the not too far future the German renewable energy market will supersede the German car industry.
I mean, considering that Germany isn’t really famous for its cars, this might not be big news…. And I mean, Australia could never compete with the amount of sunshine that central Europe gets!
There is also 250 000 jobs in that industry (a lot, considering the noise that Kevin Rudd makes about 20 000 coal jobs in Queensland).
So who is saying that it is ‘just near’ the tech hump? You haven’t been reading the same 80s pamphlets that propagate Vic Bitterman referred to?

Ralph Ralph 10:04 pm 08 Aug 07

Yeah, huge market potential, with massive amounts of public subsidies.

40-50 years, and they’re still saying this stuff is just near the technological hump.

Calculators and gadgets, nothing more.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 8:34 pm 08 Aug 07

Yes, let the market speak! Unfortunately, both Americans and Germans have discovered the huge market potential of renewable energy, while Australia is way behind.
Just a pity that the Libs and Labour are blocking this huge potential with their ideological ballast. Funny, this is the kind of thing that they usually hang on the Left: Ideology before profit!

And yes, caf is 100% spot on. The myth that production of panels uses a lot more energy than they will ever produce was built on figures from the highly technological 80s. Same time when 64 kb of ram made a kick ass computer.

Ralph Ralph 8:16 pm 08 Aug 07

You are right, I don’t care about AGW, it is a non-issue. I only care about real, measureable, environmental problems.

Your continued personal insults, calling anybody who challenges you a retard, dipshit etc do you no credit at all.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 7:22 pm 08 Aug 07

You think I don’t know that Woody?

No, I know you know it – I just think you don’t care. That makes you a special kind of retard – you’re willfully and deliberately ignorant in the face of the facts.

Don’t underestimate Ralph.

Yeah, I take everybody who talks about themselves in the third person seriously.

I’m off finalising a PhD at the moment, how’s yours coming along?

Great – I need another APS6 to carry my briefs.

Maelinar Maelinar 12:44 pm 08 Aug 07

Of course, Jon would have to stop using his ‘magic finger’, the one that puts a memorial wherever his finger stops.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 11:06 am 08 Aug 07

Maybe govco could give consumers the option of paying for (all or part of) the solar panels, and enjoying the $$ return from the electricity being onsold, or pay a small rental fee for people’s roofs, install the solar panels and keep the $$ return for themself.

I’m all for the free market, but I think that govco needs to set up some sensible parameters for this market to operate within. If they could do that, they could have a winner on their hands, especially if they could get enough people to have solar panels so that we didn’t actually buy in much power. Canberra has a high number of average sunny days per year, so we are well placed to make something like this work.

Let the investigation begin…

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