Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

‘State government is keeping solar owners in the dark’

The returned Liberal state government announced that it would “begin [a] review of the Solar Feed-in Tariff” in its first 100 days. After 103 days there has been no public information about what the new feed-in tariff (FiT) will be, or even how it will be calculated. This is of vital interest to the 32,000 solar households and small business in Tasmania. Over half of these customers are facing a drop from their current legacy rate of 28c to the new rate (currently 9c*) at the end of this year.

“Homeowners are asking us what they should do when the legacy feed-in tariff ends this year” said Jack Gilding, Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance. “Without some leadership and support from the government, these early adopters will be tempted to go off-grid, which is a wasted opportunity.”

Other states are adopting innovative policies to encourage the installation of solar in ways which benefit the network as well as consumers.

Victoria is introducing an optional time-varying FiT which rewards customers for feeding energy into the grid at times of highest demand. Customers with solar and batteries can be paid as much as 29c/kWh for energy fed into the grid from 3-9pm on weekdays. The Victorian process is also ground-breaking in recognising the benefits of solar in reducing carbon emissions and improving public health through reduced pollution.

South Australia is proposing to link up to 50,000 homes with solar and batteries into a ‘virtual power plant’ that can provide services to the electricity grid and reduce costs for all consumers.

“Tasmania rightly prides itself on leading the way in renewable energy generation, but risks being left behind as states such as South Australia and Victoria develop innovative ways to integrate distributed solar into the electricity network of the future.” said Mr Gilding.

Time is running out for the Tasmanian government to consult properly with industry and solar owners to develop a plan which manages the end of the legacy FiT and provides a fair and forward looking outcome that benefits existing solar owners and all electricity consumers.

This will allow households to contribute effectively to the government’s objective of making Tasmania’s electricity 100% renewable by 2022.

“The government is clearly focussed on looking at the benefits of big projects such as pumped hydro and additional connections to the mainland.” said Mr Gilding. “The state government needs to work with the Tasmanian households who are investing their own money in making our energy system more secure, more decentralised, more renewable and more affordable.”

* Under an existing process, the economic regulator has announced that the FiT for solar owners who signed up after August 2013 will drop from 9c to 8.5c from 1 July this year, but notes that the government is proposing new arrangements from January 2019.

*Jack Gilding is the Executive Officer of Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance Inc.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. mike seabrook

    June 27, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    will there be disclosure of the contractual arrangements for est. 60% of tassies hydro output at est. 4c per kwh delivered to a few favoured non-tasmanian owned entities and how the long term contracts came to be signed up for at massive cost to the tassie taxpayer.

    will an accurate estimate of the full absorption cost cost of transmission across bass strait be provided – my guess 5c per kwh which the fed pollies are expected to be duped into paying.

  2. Kelvin Jones

    June 27, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    #2 Chris … Unfortunately the laws of energy in physics can be contrary to the laws made by man and enforceable by a court. Unfortunately we cannot change the physical situation.

    My comments are not meant to alter contractual relations, only to illustrate the relationship between society and energy on a scientific and technology basis.

    Naive political pressure in response to the climate change scenario, on an equally naive public, brought about the original solar contracts. This policy has failed in achieving its energy technology goals.

    As a consequence, new approaches based more on science are being implemented. These new approaches are only likely to increase the cost of electrical power for everyone.

    The old system effectively shifted the cost of the feed-in tariff to commercial and domestic consumers without solar installations. I have good reason to believe that much of the feed-in tariff cost was transferred to the standing charges, which also clawed back some of the benefit from solar panel owners.

    My understanding was the high feed-in tariff idea was a time-limited guarantee of capital return to encourage private ownership of panels on an experimental basis.

    As to the old contractual relationships, I can only say .. check the contract’s fine print, and then if you still have concerns take legal advice.

  3. Chris

    June 27, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry Kev, but solar here represents an ILLEGAL BREAKING of a contract with the customers who signed up initially and got 28 cents. If you sign a contract with a telco they charge you for breaking a contract, but not the pollies, suckers!

    One pays for the poles and wires via their service charges, so any porkies about cost of transmission is not relevant.

    If I feed at 8.28 cents per unit then the suppliers can increase their profit by charging 25 cents for power, an increase of 300%, or 100% profit for hot water at 16.8 cents per unit.

    Roll on the political NEG ative Turdbull system, or water runs uphill.

  4. Kelvin Jones

    June 26, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    The feedin tariff was set far too high for domestic solar in the first place. On the basis of experiment.

    The problem is that it became too popular as a way of making money. Domestic solar being being used as a primary generator in money terms has to compete with fossil fuel generators producing 1 kWh for around 2 or three cents. In Tasmania the generation costs of a Hydro generated kWh is well under that of fossil fuel. In fact putting solar panels in Tasmania is carbon positive as the units are imported and almost certainly contain embedded carbon from their manufacture.

    Wind was similarly over subsidised by a huge amount on a commercial basis. The result is an unbalanced grid with gross cost distortions where money has become totally unrelated to energy reality.

    The case in Victoria of paying only for peak energy makes more sense as it saves gas turbines being turned on to meet peak demand. This is similar to my findings from studies in Perth WA back in 1996.

    However to get the most income for energy export at peak times, which does coincide with highest solar output, you will need to store energy and release it at the required time. This will involve batteries and a more sophisticated inverter system .. overall a more expensive solar system, and in reality you still have to compete with gas turbines which produce a kWh for around 5 -8 cents depending on the current price of gas.

    Without the complication of Basslink there is no real cause for solar in Tasmania.

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