Australian Solar Subsidy Threat: More Reactions

 
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With the dust settling after the ACCC ( Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) suggested axing Australia’s solar subsidy prematurely, more and more have weighed in on the recommendation.

The ACCC has recently published at report containing a stagering 56 recommendations which promise to help address electricity affordability in Australia. The proposal to abolish Australia’s major solar subsidy by 2021, was among those.

 

The solar subsidy has only majorly contributed to electricty prices since 2007-8, comprising of 20% in total, according to the ACCC. Despite this, small-scale solar power has also helped rein in wholesale electricity prices, which consequently made up 22% of increases – which would have been higher if it was not for solar’s influence.

Some figures that are being bandied about could potentially indicate a winding down and eventually ending the solar subsidy by 2021, would have very little impact on electricity bills. Approximately in the domain of $40-$50 for the entire year of 2020/2021.

However, the negative impacts could be in-turn very significant. Despite the cost of solar power is ever reducing, the accelerated phase-out of the subsidy could potentially put the “bill-busting: technology out of reach of many Australian residents. Which in-turn effects the thousands of Australians employed in the solar industry.

 

Clean Energy Council

The clean energy council said the ACCC’s report contain many valuable and applicable suggestions – but prematurely ending the subsidy was not one of them.

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides modest support – which continues to reduce every year – which has encouraged the installation of rooftop solar power on almost two million homes,” Mr Thornton said.

 

The Greens

It is no surprise that the greens are not thrilled with the idea. Climate change and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt said:

“The Government must immediately rule out this Trump-like proposal to cut support for rooftop solar and instead provide new subsidies for gas- and coal-fired power stations. To bring down power bills and cut pollution, we need more renewable energy, not less.”

 

Smart Energy Council

The Smart Energy Council continues to push for the recommendation to be ditched.

“We know the Turnbull Government wants to stop big renewables with the National Energy Guarantee,” said Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes. “That’s bad enough, but the Government would have rocks in its head if it wants to stop families getting rooftop solar as well.”

Mr. Gimes called upon the Government to reject the recommendation, but Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has reportedly stated that all 56 recommendations made in the report are on the table. It is not surprising however, that the Government isn’t ruling out any recommendations, there is still far too many concepts to be finalised and considered.

Prematurely phasing out the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme is something the Governments will need to thoroughly think over. Not only taking into consideration the impacts on households, but also in regard to the current Governments future. Millions of Australians either live in solar households or plan on installing and support the technology – and for those old enough, they vote.

As for the oppositions, Shadow Minister for Energy Mark Butler states Labour is still considering the report.

With this recommendation remains uneased, and the future of subsidy uncertain, the situation could lead to another solar rush – which will reflect the past when the subsidy has been threatened.

Jai