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Victoria Coalition may vote against “fairer” solar feed in tariffs

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The promise of a fairer price for the electricity exports of Victorian solar households hangs in the balance, with reports that the state opposition is threatening to block legislation to increase the minimum feed-in tariff to reflect the true value of solar to the grid.

Legislation to amend the state’s solar tariff was introduced to Victorian Parliament on Wednesday, based on the findings of an Essential Services Commission report that concluded the current FiT design did not adequately reward the value of distributed energy generation on a number of levels.

australia-solar-rooftops

In what amounted to a small, but not insignificant win for the state’s solar households, the ESC report, recommended the tariff be adjusted to factor in time of export, location of generator, and avoided greenhouse gas emissions – a finding it had flagged in its draft report, published in May.

The Andrews Labor government took up the recommendations, and debate on the legislation was underway in parliament on Wednesday.

But unconfirmed reports have suggested the state Opposition is trying to block these changes. (At the time of publication, the Vic Parliament website said debate on the bill had been suspended at 11.57am, to be resumed after lunch, at 2pm.)


The Coalition’s spokesman for energy and innovation, David Southwick, tweeted twice on Wednesday saying “shame on you” for putting prices up for all Victorians.

“The Victorian government should be applauded for firstly undertaking this rigorous analysis of the ‘true’ value of rooftop solar and now acting to ensure this value is promptly, and properly, realised,” said Solar Citizens national director Claire O’Rourke.

“Reports that the Victorian Opposition is trying to block legislation to increase the minimum fair price for solar are unfortunate and if true, display a profound lack of understanding about energy markets and electricity prices,” she said.

“If the Victorian Liberal Party want to see the market operate as it should, fairly, and on a level playing field basis then they would support this legislation.

“Household rooftop solar offers incredible benefits to our electricity grid – providing cheaper, cleaner, more efficient energy during times when demand – and costs – are greater.

“Coupled with battery storage, rooftop solar also has the potential to provide a more robust, decentralised electricity supply. Until now, these values have not been realised,” O’Rourke said.

Whatever happens, we should know by close of business on Thursday, when debate on this bill must be completed.  

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  • phred01

    The libs will hasten the grid defections

    • suthnsun

      Defective thinking is intrinsic to current libs it seems.

      • phred01

        Still working on plan A. The libs are beholden to one of there main party funds contributors. Just wait when the excrement hits the proverbial fan. Renewables will be blamed for the mass defections but the achievement would be renewables will only benefit the the ones that can afford battery storage and not the rest of the network. The distributors`are sitting pretty they will jack up the network charges to cover the the defections in the beginning. But once the defections go beyond the tipping point more and more network users will find it more attractive to defect. The end point will be a solar tax (pole tax) and network charges whether or not one is grid connected this will an exclusion to the libs tenement to the user pays principle

        • Aerial Fencer

          If I was cynical I’d say the Libs are happy for people to defect and let Labour introduce a big new tax when they get back in.

          • phred01

            U have forgotten selective memory it was the libs that brought in the fat GST with a promise to get rid of a plethera of taxes many are still around today!
            Just last yr they flew a kite to increase the GST to 15%. It only went down like a lead balloon because Andrews Govt’n said no over my dead body

          • phred01

            here’s the latest tax hike flown by the libs
            eneweconomy.com.au/coalition-ponders-a-tesla-tax-on-electric-vehicles-93736/?utm_source=RE+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d4f3cf7b96-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_46a1943223-d4f3cf7b96-40319569

  • Alastair Leith

    By not supporting rooftop solarPV, Southwick is actually in support of network utility fortification and price gouging. That’s the direct consequence of dampening uptake of rooftopPV.

  • Robin_Harrison

    Maybe the coalition are getting secret payments from Tesla, the main beneficiaries of grid defections. More probably, stupidity is incurable and they’ve shot themselves in the foot again.
    Right/left ideology makes that inevitable on both sides. When ideology rules reason, logic, truth and facts are optional and disposable extras. But the antics of politicians aren’t that relevant. The awesome economics of this technology disruption is irresistible.
    The fossil fuel industry is fighting for its existence but it’s becoming increasingly obvious the gig is up and they’re getting desperate.
    Whoohoo!

    • Alastair Leith

      Yep, Southwick is of limited intelligence and understanding when it comes to energy. Actually blocked me on Twitter for posing a reasonable and polite question about RE in Victoria.

      • DevMac

        Use the twitter block to your advantage. Let his opponents know that’s what he’s done. It will give them avenues for attacking his stance and behaviour.

    • Chris Fraser

      Ideology is ultimately inefficient. Because it shows we are not able to process clear and present additional information before making decisions. For politicians that are members of large political parties, ideology can be boiled down to a list of daily ‘talking points’ that they have to read before getting out of bed. These folk become tools for somebody else’s usage.

  • irideredthebike

    Debate was suspended to allow question time, not as part of any delaying tactics of the Opposition.

  • DevMac

    I wonder what Southwick thinks about the power price increases that have been as a result of gold-plating the infrastructure? If Solar has taken the peaks off the regular high-usage spikes (the duck graph) then isn’t it contributing to lowering the price of power overall?
    Actually, the report would say all that and more and have the numbers to back it up, and yet Southwick still doesn’t seem to understand. Which points to ideology or paid-opinion.

  • OnionMan77

    Breathe easy. The bill was passed.
    Energy Legislation Amendment (Feed-in Tariffs and Improving Safety and Markets) Bill 2016 : passed 24/11/16

    The relevant sections:
    In relation to feed-in tariffs, the bill will amend the Electricity Industry Act 2000 to allow the Essential Services Commission to determine a single rate or multiple rates for purchases of small renewable energy generation electricity. Currently the act does not permit the commission to determine more than one minimum feed-in tariff rate, which limits the commission’s ability to consider the additional value that may arise based on variables such as the time of electricity generation (for example, by providing an incentivised rate when demand is high). This change will allow the commission to set rates that better reflect demand, which would achieve more efficient outcomes and reduce expenditure on network assets, which are funded by all customers.

    The bill will also allow the commission, in determining the rates for purchases of small renewable energy generation electricity, to have regard to the environmental and social value of small renewable energy generation electricity. The bill will allow the government to specify the methodology that the commission is to apply when determining these additional factors.

    Full text:
    http://hansard.parliament.vic.gov.au/?IW_INDEX=Hansard-2016-2&IW_FIELD_TEXT=SpeechIdKey%20CONTAINS%20(26-10-2016_assembly_16)%20AND%20OrderId%20CONTAINS%20(0)&LDMS=Y

    #ShameOnDavidSouthwick