Australian news, and some related international items

Governments should help poor households to get green energy

Why doesn’t this otherwise excellent article mention green energy supplied by Powershop?  I’m poor and I use renewable energy, (on  scheme that supports community projects, too) from Powershop.

Poor households are locked out of green energy, unless governments help, REneweconomy, By Alan Pears on 7 August 2017, The Conversation

report released this week by the Australian Council of Social Service has pointed out that many vulnerable households cannot access rooftop solar and efficient appliances, describing the issue as a serious problem.

It has provoked controversy. Some have interpreted the report as an attack on emerging energy solutions such as rooftop solar. Others see it as exposing a serious structural crisis for vulnerable households.

The underlying issue is the fundamental change in energy solutions. As I pointed out in my previous column, we are moving away from investment by governments and large businesses in big power stations and centralised supply, and towards a distributed, diversified and more complex energy system. As a result, there is a growing focus on “behind the meter” technologies that save, store or produce energy.

What this means is that anyone who does not have access to capital, or is uninformed, disempowered or passive risks being disadvantaged – unless governments act.

 The reality is that energy-efficient appliances and buildings, rooftop solar, and increasingly energy storage, are cost-effective. They save households money through energy savings, improved health, and improved performance in comparison with buying grid electricity or gas. But if you can’t buy them, you can’t benefit.

In the past, financial institutions loaned money to governments or big businesses to build power stations and gas supply systems. Now we need mechanisms to give all households and businesses access to loans to fund the new energy system.

Households that cannot meet commercial borrowing criteria, or are disempowered – such as tenants, those under financial stress, or those who are disengaged for other reasons – need help.

Governments have plenty of options…….


August 7, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar

1 Comment »

  1. Good points Alan.

    I’d also point out that when the power stations were being built, the owners didn’t send out a bill to the potential consumers for their share of the construction cost. Instead they recovered this cost + land purchase + interest on the loan, etc over a period of time (10-20yrs?) through the quarterly energy bill. So why can’t we do the same with energy efficiency and rooftop solar instead of having to pay up-front? Not to do so is anti-competitive. No wonder the market for these services is limited and have to continue to pay through the nose for grid electricity.


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | August 7, 2017 | Reply

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