Australian news, and some related international items

BHP funded Grattan Institute unfairly critical of solar energy

The Grattan Institute reported negatively on solar energy.  Don’t let’s forget that the Grattan Institute is largely funded by BHP
As the nation with the highest deployment of rooftop solar “we’re now in an envious position” to capitalise on developments in storage technology

Solar Industry Hits Back At Report Critical Of Roof-Top Solar, New Matilda, By Thom Mitchell, 27 May 15  A report by a respected think-tank is being slammed by key players in the solar energy industry. Thom MItchell reports.

A report published by the Grattan Institute on Monday has been dismissed by the solar industry, which argues its critique of generous state and federal government subsidy schemes misrepresents their true value and ignores important flow-on benefits.

The report claims that by 2030 electricity consumers without solar panels will have effectively subsidised homes that took advantage of the schemes to the tune of $9 billion……..Unsurprisingly, the solar industry has taken a dim view of the report with the Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council, John Grimes, accusing Wood of “cherry picking” facts.

“It’s a selective report designed to cast solar PV in the worst possible light,” he said……The key criticism made by the report, that non-solar electricity users were cross-subsidising homes with solar photovoltaic rooftops, also came under fire for its “selective scope”.

“It talks about cross-subsidies for solar PV owners, but this report does not talk about or quantify subsidies from people who have air conditioners, to people who don’t; people who live in our cities, to the people who live in the bush; to residential customers versus commercial customers,” Grimes said.

“The more energy you use in Australia, the lower you pay, right, so big companies pay a fraction of what mum and dads do. That’s a massive cross-subsidy.

“It’s fine to be harry hindsight, to go back in time and then project that forward over 21 years out to 2030, come up with a headline figure of $9 billion and make it sound like, in some way, this is a planned economy and we had $9 billion in the bank, we wanted to deploy it to get a particular outcome.”

The report “looks particularly at the period between 2008 and 2010,” a time which Grimes admits was characterised by “overly generous feed-in tariffs in some states”.

“It was a low watermark in solar policy in Australia,” he said…….he solar roll-out has had significant flow-on benefits according to the Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton.

“It is important to recognise that the government support provided to solar power has leveraged billions of dollars in private investment to date,” Thornton said.

“They will have delivered approximately $30 billion in total investment by 2028, the same period examined by the Grattan Institute report.

“This support has also created over 13,000 jobs in the solar sector, particularly in regional and rural parts of Australia, where employment opportunities are otherwise limited.

“The Grattan Institute report ignores the value of these jobs,” Thornton said……..While Wood argues that solar rooftops are still for the most part uneconomic without subsidies, he has found some middle ground with the industry in his agreement that developments in storage battery technology mean the rise of solar is “inexorable”.

“It’s not useful to talk about the cost of an industry or where it’s come from because all industries require support to establish themselves,” said Claire O’Rourke, the National Director of the Solar Citizens group which advocates for solar homeowners.

She said Wood’s “numbers game” disregards the opportunities that arise from the deployment of solar photovoltaic technology to 1.4 million Australian rooftops.

As the nation with the highest deployment of rooftop solar “we’re now in an envious position” to capitalise on developments in storage technology, O’Rourke said.

There has been a lot of excitement around recent developments in battery technology, particularly Tesla’s release of a significantly cheaper battery which has been widely heralded as a game-changer that will allow people to get off the grid.

“Certainly I think what we need to keep in mind is that as storage technology becomes more economic, this is what will actually change the entire conversation around our electricity system,” O’Rourke said.


May 29, 2015 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, spinbuster

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