A review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is underway which may impact on solar power subsidies. Mooted changes to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) could mean much higher equipment costs on solar hot water systems and solar power systems.
The review is being undertaken by a panel headed by Mr Dick Warburton and will include Mr Matthew Zema, Dr Brian Fisher and Shirley In’t Veld. No specific date for the outcome of the review has been released, however, Federal Government decisions on such matters are often announced quickly and implemented with little notice. Uptake on solar has been very successful in recent years. “Already more than two million Australians have voted to take control of their energy costs and are driving a more competitive, productive, and open energy market”, according to a paper by Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green. Members of the renewable energy industry around Australia are encouraging people considering solar power or solar hot water to make the chnage before midyear to avoid potential price hikes.
Others have speculated that with a last minute influx of solar power system sales, the price of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) may plummet and push the price of solar power up even before a decision is announced by the Government.
Changes to or scrapping of the RET are a step backwards in cutting the country’s emissions as well as a waste of billions of dollars in renewable energy investment.
The current RET ensures that by 2020, Australia will derive 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. While proponents of scrapping the RET argue that its cost to Australians is too much, the price of removing this generally popular scheme is far greater than the approximately 5% it contributes to power bills in each state. For example, abolishing the RET would undermine the progress Australia is making in cutting emissions ; negatively impact employment; stunt the growth of renewable energy; result in negligible savings on bills ; increase our reliance on coal-derived power; and slow valuable investment in ‘green’ Australian projects. Many individual Australians and organisations are expressing their concern and disapproval of abolishing the RET. The Australian Solar Council, for example, has launched fundraising campaigns aimed at ‘Saving Solar’ from government intervention.
A strong renewable energy industry secures us a sustainable future. That’s why poll after poll shows that over 80 per cent of Australians support renewables. By any assessment, the move to solar and renewable energies has had a very positive impact in Australia. Solar has reduced wholesale electricity prices, strengthened the electricity grid and helped well over one million average Australian households save money and cut emissions. So with the outcome of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target review not far away, including its potential for a negative impact on solar subsidies, there has never been a better time to switch to Leda.