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Australia’s regulators still can’t imagine a clean energy future

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Well, hallelujah. It turns out Australian households are going to get free electricity – at least on the generation side – if you believe the modelling that has been shoved at us from the Energy Security Board and now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

According to ACCC data released in its voluminous and damning report on the electricity market on Wednesday, the average household bill in Australia is $1,636 a year, of which $560 is made up from wholesale electricity.

According to the ESB modelling, they are going to be able to reduce household bills by $400 a year thanks to the reduction in prices of the wholesale market, initially due to the impact of more wind and solar via the renewable energy target, and then by the National Energy Guarantee.

The ACCC reckons that its suite of measures – quite separate to the NEG – will reduce the price of wholesale electricity by $155 a year.

Bingo! If you believe these numbers, then the cost of wholesale power will be reduced to just $5 in the average household bill.

It’s a nonsense, of course – just part of the merry-go-round of hand-wringing, economic theory, useless promises and “concern for consumers” that has been used as cover for the outrageous surge in electricity prices over the past decade.

ACCC chair Rod Sims is right. Customers are getting screwed at every turn – by inflated network prices, in the wholesale market because of lack of competition (although, he says extraordinarily, apparently not because of abuse of market power), and in retail bills.

This has been going on in full sight of the ACCC, state pricing regulators, federal regulators and state and federal governments for nearly a decade now.

We, and others, have been writing about it for years. So have the regulators themselves, in equally voluminous reports, and any number of analysts. But precisely nothing of consequence has ever been done about it by the authorities.

Instead, they have actually made it worse, rejecting and delaying rule changes and policies that could encourage efficiency, demand management, and battery storage – all of which could have moderated prices.

About the only protection the consumer has had is to install rooftop solar, and lately battery storage. Unsurprisingly, rooftop solar is the main target whenever the authorities are galvanised into action.

Sims made a big deal out of network prices way back in 2011, when he was head of IPART, the pricing regulator in NSW. He didn’t do much about it then, although he did try to push through retrospective changes to the premium feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar in the state.

That feed-in tariff – 60c/kWh gross – was overly generous, no doubt about it – and the government and the regulators had been told as much by the industry itself, who warned them that it would need to be scaled back, and early.

But politics is politics and they ploughed on, resulting in a cost blowout, drastic action, sudden closure, the threat of retrospective changes and a major conflict with the industry. The retrospective changes didn’t go ahead, but the boom in the solar market came to a crunching end.

Now Sims is targeting rooftop solar again. Of all the 50-something measures canvassed by Sims on Wednesday, none was so drastic as the call for the federal government’s small scale renewable energy scheme (SRES) to be abolished by 2021. One option canvassed was to kill it immediately.

This is a problem. A big problem, and a frightening one for consumers.

Not only has rooftop solar delivered protection from the outrageous pricing of the electricity market as a whole, they have also brought wider benefits – from reducing peaks and pushing hem into the evening, and moderating wholesale prices.

It is also the future the energy.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, network owners, the CSIRO, and analysts such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance say that distributed generation – which includes rooftop solar and battery storage and demand management – will account for nearly half of capacity and generation by 2050, if not earlier.

BloombergNEF this week said this transition was inevitable and would likey bring an early closure of coal generation, all things being equal.

But all things are not equal, barriers remain, chief among them the need to think differently about the grid, rather than seeing wind and solar and other technologies as a barely tolerated add-ons to a market for fossil fuels.

You can see that thinking has not caught on with conservatives, and particularly not the Coalition government. For the life of them, they can’t see beyond the need for baseload or how dispatchable capacity could come from anything other than coal, gas or nuclear.

And it’s not caught on with regulators either. As I reported way back in 2011, at the height of the debate over the solar tariffs, Sims and AEMC chairman John Pierce let it be known what they thought of solar – that it was, and always would be, an expensive option to produce electricity and reduce emissions.

Worse, they seem to resent the fact that people who have invested in rooftop solar benefit from lower bills than those that don’t. How dare they cut their bills!

Rooftop solar has fallen in price by some 70 per cent since those days, and by most forecasts outside of vested interests and ideologues will be the dominant form of generation across the globe. Even the IEA sees solar as the biggest contributor to electricity by 2050.

And this is what is frustrating about the ACCC report.

It ignores the need for emissions reductions. As ITK analyst David Leitch points out here, and as The Greens point out, you can’t claim “technology neutrality” and be serious about decarbonising the grid at the same time.

Not only that, the ACCC pretends the gaming in the markets is not happening, and it does not address the inflated pass-through cost of green schemes that make them look more expensive than they are.

It’s interesting to note that they do recognise that the cost of the LRET (large scale renewable scheme) will disappear to zero or negligible levels from about 2020/21, but their call to blow up the small scale solar scheme does not make sense.

For one, it’s a scheme that is being gradually wound back anyway. The benefits of added solar to the grid far outweigh the 40c-a-day average cost of the scheme.

If the regulators really wanted to be clever, then maybe find a smart way to ensure that low-income households and renters and others get to have solar, and storage.

Instead, they apply the hand-brake, to slow down the transition. This has been the story of Australia’s energy market for more than a decade.

Almost every report done by a statutory authority has refused to contemplate what a decarbonised grid might look like. Sims falls into the same trap.

And because technologies like rooftop solar and battery storage will start in the home, or the business, the only hope for consumers, it would seem, is that AEMO comes up with something sensible in its Integrated System Plan.

The ACCC’s proposal for some sort of auction scheme for new projects to bid for a government-funded tariff for years 6-15 of the asset life – so to help lock in debt – looks interesting, although is largely dismissed by Leitch in his analysis.

But it seems to be an assessment and an admission that the NEG will not attract new investment in of itself – as so many different analyses have concluded.

It’s just a little depressing that prime minister Malcolm Turnbull still thinks this might be taken up by new coal plants, that the Nationals and others are convinced that it would be, and that Sims solution to back-up power is to “drill, baby drill.”

“We’re not advocating one technology or another,” Turnbull said in a radio interview on Thursday. “We don’t need to subsidise one technology or another. We’ve got to get lower prices. That’s what I’m on about, lower electricity prices.” Clearly, he’s not about leading a party taking climate change seriously.

“It is throughly disheartening that this nonsense is being bandied around by the highest authorities in the land in complete disregard of the native impacts on climate, health and the economy,” one energy industry veteran emailed me today.

“It makes me want to give up and stick my head in the sand along with the rest of the population.” Exactly what the fossil fuel industry and their spokespeople in the government are hoping.

How the state governments can possibly reach a conclusion about the NEG on August 10, given the implications of what Sims is proposing, and with the finer detail of the NEG delivered just a week earlier, is beyond comprehension.

“Trust us about the details,” say the big business lobby groups who have championed the NEG, at the same time as saying that adding any more renewables to the system would cripple the economy. It seems the energy wars are only just beginning.  

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  • Ren Stimpy

    It’s a sorry state of affairs, and (not to get overly insulty this time) our PM is a major, major disappointment.

    I think the energy wars will drag on for a while yet but have technically been won on the economics by the economies-of-scale technologies. We’re in that post-Gettysburg period now where it’s only a matter of time until the rednecks surrender to reality.

    • john

      A very interesting statement from the LNP in Qld today the leader said something along the lines of ” We will require state government generators to put in Renewable Energy production. ”
      Mind you, if Clark Creek gets up which is a 900 MW wind and possible 400 MW solar and possibly battery development this would chime in.
      I feel there is a possibility to use PHES with this as well.

    • john

      No doubt you are across these figures.

      • john
        • Ren Stimpy

          Yeh it’s an amazing transformation represented by those two blue colour lines. Add the battery storage trend line to that chart and it’s game over. Are our conservative MPs and regulators so stupid they can’t see it? I don’t think so. I think they choose not to see it, or not to acknowledge it. But the clock is ticking…..

          • john

            If you like I could put up the figures from a submission in the USA from https://cleantechnica.com/
            Which showed a submission for Coal Gas Wind Solar Solar and Battery and the prices.
            The submissions were that nothing could beat any of the RE submissions such is life.

          • Graeme Harrison

            Yes, you could show all the dinosaurs on the Right in our Federal parliament those figure that renewable sources price-beat all forms of fossil fuel generation… but it would not change their minds. The Nats want “a new coal-fired facility in North Queensland” not because North Queensland is badly done by, but because their biggest donor, Gina, owns a coal-lease in the Galilee Basin that she would like to get operational. Think back to all those Barnaby statements where he didn’t care for farmers or their issues, but where he pledged his undying support for coal. It is just donors ‘owning’ their finger puppets. Time to outlaw all political donations!

          • john

            Time for a federal ICAC.

          • john

            So lets build a coal generation station in Queensland using Galilee Basin coal.
            Just where would we build it?
            We need water not much in Queensland.
            So on the coast near say Rockampton.
            That would use the Fitzroy River system.
            What is needed is a dam to supply water.
            No worries the Government as in every tax payer will pay for it.
            After that lets look at the cost you need for that new wonderful new generator it needs a bid of about $80 per MWH.
            Actually at that price it will be in the red so it will use the wonderful 30 minute bid process to make it pay.

            How this works in any 30 minute bid period the highest bid is paid to everyone like are you kidding me no that is how it workss

          • john

            Yes I am extremely dismissive of the present system in place it is a total joke 30 minutes and everyone take the same price.
            oi is this a sensible commercial situation they should take the lowest price but evidently under this idiot system the highest price prevails.
            Just tell me please why?????????????????

          • Ren Stimpy

            Can a new coal plant find somebody, anybody, somebody to love?

          • RobertO

            Hi John, Don’t you know if you don’t wash the coal, one MWh of coal will use less water that that all the other RE generators combined. I am very sure that is that argument we need to win to get a new coal power station in north Qld (economist is the main occupation of lots of our pollies).

            Note to self “Please put my head back in the sand pit” before I die of laughter

          • Joe

            Hi Rob, “wash the coal”….that would make it Cleeeeeeen Coal.

          • john

            I have hear those exact words spoken.
            “We sell the world’s cleanest coal because we wash it”.
            The fellow actually believed that to be true.

          • Joe

            There are no words sometimes but to quote a word from a regular contributor in these very fine pages of Renew Economy….”Stupidity”

          • RobertO

            Hi Joe, John, Please do not make me laugh. I have that horrible flu that is going around in Sydney and it hurts my rib cage even time you guys make a excellent comment.
            Thank you for the pain

          • Michael Gunter

            [off-topic] get well soon mate. H1N1 influenza virus seems to be spreading in what NSW Chief Health Officer sez is a late flu season.

        • Hettie

          Wish I could red that graph. The print is too Small to read on the phone, and just blurs when I stretch it. Laptop is too slow to bother with. Very frustrating.

          • Hettie

            Oops
            Tapped it and then stretched. Legible after all.

          • Michael Gunter

            #MeToo same problem, also fixed on 2nd attempt

          • Michael Gunter

            [re slow laptop] Get a geeky kid to pull it apart, clean dust out of CPU’s cooling fins. then wipe HDD and install Linux Mint (MATE) operating system. = “the Phoenix Treatment” for slow old laptops, #Rebirth, #NewLeaseOfLife, reduce your volume of e-Waste #WarOnWasteAU

          • Hettie

            Nah. It’s barely 2 years old. The sales guy did say it’s very basic. I did not realize that was code for it’s glacially slow and prone to crashing. Rather, assumed OK for grunt work, not for movies etc.
            Runs about the same speed as the one I had at work in 1990. Come in, boot up, go away and make a cup of coffee, just about ready to go when I got back to the desk.

            It’s on the list for replacement. Just not very high on the list.
            And geeky kids not in good supply.

        • Hettie

          Gas must be very cheap in US.

    • Greg Hudson

      Gettysburg ?

      • Ren Stimpy

        Yes, and General Ewall is the model of the fossil fuel generals who could have had their chance to win the battle but stuffed it up!

  • john

    Historically the energy usage was a bell curve that is low over night then rising at day break to highest from 11 to 1 pm then falling back to lower over night.
    The introduction of Solar mainly by Residents has turned this into a Duck Curve.
    Low over night rises in the morning then falls during the day and the highest demand is the evening.
    The advent of Solar by those citizens has lowered the high cost bidden for power demand in the old Bell curve days; in fact the celebrated they hoped RET review, which was intended to show how awful the solar rebates were showed that in fact the savings from the high prices previous were the same as the rebates egg on the face there.

    So what do we have now?

    It would not surprise me if an outcome will be charging every one of those 2 million and rising people who put in Solar are charged for the ability to connect to the grid.
    Mind that would be a sure way of going out of government.
    How about being honest people who put Solar on their roof have lowered the price of power the selling of the network and giving a guarantee to cost recovery was a stupid exercise.
    As every investigation has shown the Networks need to be written down in value.
    Or and remove that $300 million substation that has never been connected from the exercise.

    • Joe

      John, most of us “2 million and rising people who put in Solar” are connected to grid and we pay a Daily Supply Charge (DSC ). We can reduce our elecrticity consumption with our solar and added battery but we are still hit with the DSC which the retailers set and they have the ability to gouge us with that. A fellow contributor to the pages of Renew Economy is up for $1.56 DSC living in regional NSW whilst in Sydney the same retailer ( AGL ) charges $1.05. That’s not fair or right.

      • john

        The reason for the disparity is the commercialization of a service of government.
        Once you remove the idea of being a civil society to look after you to a commercial society to take advantage of you that is what you get.

        • Joe

          These days the feeling is more and more that we live in an economy as opposed to living in a society. Everything and everyone is now being reduced to just being a ‘business input’.

          • Hettie

            And all the safety nets and social services are profit centres to be raided any time the rich feel deprived.

          • Joe

            The ‘1%’ always creaming it…. at the expense of the ‘99%’.

        • MaxG

          The problem are the neoliberals with the idea that everything is a business or should be run like one; see Trump.
          The propaganda over the past decades has succeed in planting the idea that governments are useless, and useless they have becomes, most of which are in the pockets of the incumbents. Democracy is dying; people will realise it when it is too late.

      • Hettie

        That’s me!

        • Joe

          Hello Miss Hettie….YES…. that would be you indeed!! I am sorry to see how badly you are being ripped off with that DSC. As chance would have it I have been in contact with AGL sussing out changing from Energy Aust. over to AGL. The 20 cent FiT is brilliant, the consumption tariffs very similar. I’m inclined to change, hard to resist getting FAIRER value for my Green Electrons.

      • Hettie

        You’re right, it is not equitable, but how important is it?
        I pay an extra 51 c. /day, and I gain 9.8c * 28/day (average feed inkWh)- $2.744. 5 times that.
        Net gain $2.264/ day. $826/year.
        That’s worth having. Sure, the extra $186 would be great, but I’m not going to turn down $826 because of $186.

        • Joe

          Go get ’em young Hettie!

  • howardpatr

    The ACCC full of lawyers, economists and arts graduates; hardly expect Simms to be very interested in climate change, let alone consulting with climate scientists about rising levels of GHGs.

    • john

      GHG or those are only for big countries to worry about this country only has the worst per head of figures to show at least we come first in something.

    • Graeme Harrison

      Sims is plain-wrong to ignore Australia’s duty to meet its international treaty undertaking. But by saying ‘shut down solar encouragement’, he is truly playing into the hands of his LNIPA government appointees. They would love to act on just that one action, and be thus assured of greater MCA/ACA/IPA FF donors funding them into the next Federal election. It is ALL political, and all to do with donors!

      • john

        Sims is dealing with the present situation.
        There is zero historical context in his looking at the cost of power.
        And yes i take on you’r mention of the IPA.
        His failing is not understanding the downward price of power now during the day due to the implantation of those who put in RE.
        Let alone the continued small at present commercial wind farms and solar which are tiny atm.
        Just move on 5 years and lets see what happens after about 30GW of new wind and solar are put in.
        The wholesale cost of power especially with PHES coming into the system will no longer be $60 to $80 per MWH but more like $40 to $50 not much a shift but more importantly if enough RE is put in place we will not see $14000 per MWH which is enough over say 4 days to be the same as a whole year for a FF generator.

        • Michael Gunter

          re true cost of #renewables plus #PHES, some observers are sceptical of Blakers.ANU “optimistic” claim of LCOE+LCOB at $90-100/MWh cost of production, even before profits and gaming premiums are added. — That’s assuming we’ll continue to be perpetually screwed under a privatised former public monopoly, itself “suffering from” (i.e cashing in on) #IdeologicalBlindness #RegulatoryCapture and #InformationAsymmetry

          • Hettie

            This may seem like a dumb question, but, assuming a change of government soonish, and COAG agreement, could AEMC not be overruled, and the bidding rules changed? The switch to 5 minutes expedited, and acceptance of lowest bid mandated?

          • rob

            Hettie …….I love your knowledge….. but god you can be such a bitch………..either delete me so I can’t see your comments or don’t reply via anyone else to a comments I have made………You called me “infantile” for using soz instead of sorry to someone…….yet Max a regular poster doesn’t receive your same vitriol ……..you well know I am not well…the death of your mutt is no excuse to verbally assassinate humans when the comment wasn’t even directed at you

          • Ren Stimpy

            See, you get bent out of shape for such a small thing that should be taken in your stride.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Get help.

          • Greg Hudson

            How about taking this to a private message ?
            Or, I could just block you I guess…

    • Barri Mundee

      I am an arts graduate. Please do not tar us all with the same brush.

  • ray mainsbridge

    Another depressing feature of this whole sorry saga is the almost complete failure of the media generally, in all forms, to understand the way the energy market operates, let alone the issues Giles deals with here. There are honourable exceptions-Ben Potter in the AFR has written some intelligent articles recently-but to read the pathetically shallow commentary which has come out since the ACCC report’s release otherwise makes one want to scream or cry.

    • john

      Actually i think Giles has cut through to some of the Political Parties statesmen or ladies as they are now reflecting his statements especially about “the gaming of power price bids” for instance.

    • Michael Murray

      Don’t forget the electricity policy expert Chris Uhlmann! Sorry I take that back. Forget him.

    • Chris Jones

      There was a guy on ABC Nightlife last night (Wednesday, possibly the economic editor of the Age) who started off a bit shaky, but improved as the discussion progresses. He seemed to have a fair grasp of the realities.

    • MaxG

      There is no failure in media; it works as designed and like a corporate press is supposed to do its propaganda.

      • RobertO

        Hi MaxG normally I support you with nearly everything you but this time I not so sure. Channel 7 this morning had Mark Latham claiming that RE was responsible for both the higher prices and the blackout in SA. In agreement with that was Jeff Kennett and Jeff also stated the RE was causing problems in Vic. I think he was saying it is unreliable as a supplier.

        Maybe I live in the land of hope.

        I hope that the Feg Gov will protect me from big business and the abuse and havoc they can do.

        I hope that the media will protect me from the Fed Gov and the abuse and havoc they can do.

        • MaxG

          Sorry; I forgot again to add the tag, which I have done now.
          The Latham bit and the RE stuff is all misinformation. E.g. The S.A. blackout was due to fallen high-voltage power lines (and towers) and other network events — while RE tripped it was not the casue of the blackout.
          As for hope, if you read my other posts as you said, you’d know we are beyond hope. Democracy is dying, the press is a corporate propaganda machine, the politicians are in the pocket of the corporations; the people have the short end of the stick. — So, I can’t follow how this would qualify for hope.

          • RobertO

            Hi MaxG yes and I also know that the coal ask group would love the cure for the blackouts. We need to install a new coal power station next to every tower that fell over and just for safety sake we need to install one on every other tower in Australia (how many) just to cater for Climate Change and the new more savage storms (that we may occasionally get, keep Australians employed until we run out of coal).
            Very good engineering choice (not very practicable).

            My friend Donald Trump (Not) is right “That is fake news”.
            The trouble is it’s not just misinformation, it’s manipulation of the news and the profiting from the office that they hold for personal reasons, or just simply stealing from taxpayers such as the Obeids did in NSW.

          • Greg Hudson

            ‘keep Australians employed until we run out of coal’
            I believe there are gigatons of coal under the ground, so it will be many many lifetimes before it is ever mined out…

        • solarguy

          Jesus, I thought you more switched on than that, To believe those guys were experts in anything but bullshit and paid by the FF lobby for their comment.

  • Patrick Comerford

    There is something fundamentally rotten with politics government public policy in Australia today. Where did it all go wrong. We once were a confident forward looking optimistic society and now look where we are at. We have truly become captive to the tax cheating businesses dishonest government “paid for” regulators hypocritical lying two faced neoliberal politicians vested interest rent seekers the list is endless. It’s enough to make you weep.
    On a brighter note I made myself and my family bullet proof to all this crap. A self funded retiree able to enjoy the satisfaction of telling PMs treasurers and the rest of the rats nest to shove it. With my solar and battery my electricity bills are zero and in fact building up a useful credit. I have the satisfaction of shaking my head but with a smile on my face. I still I feel for my grandkids though who may never experience the optimism I once had for this country but at least I’ll be able to ensure they are educated enough to be able to make a difference and avoid the mistakes we made.

    • john

      Patrick I am hearing you.
      I just wish i could afford an Electric Vehicle so I could get off the FF society we live in.
      At least some small gesture is being made the banning of plastic bags is a move in a good direction.
      As you know plastic is a product of the FF industry.
      I hope our children who have perhaps better education than the present in power will change the way society is governed.

      • Steven Gannon

        Part of the reason plastic bags are being phased out is because it’s more profitable. It’s great they’ve done it though.

        • MaxG

          Yes, Woolies and Coles are making 70m$ on this latest scheme.

          • Steven Gannon

            Win-win.

          • rob

            not at all the other states are way behind.S.A INTRODUCED oops cap lock container deposits in the 70’s I think.(along with being the first state in the commonwealth to decrimalise (spelt wrong but I can’t be [email protected]@@d with spell check right now) homosexuality and the hessian bags have been common here for decades…….Seriously the rest of OZ is so behind! no rubbish in our state thanks be to whom ever your god may be

          • Steven Gannon

            Hi Rob, It sounds like SA started their recycling scheme about the same time NSW canned theirs (pun not intended), Coca Cola Amatil were the main villain.

          • rob

            gave you an uptick …..But S.A. was first. oops misread your comment……NSW actually stopped theirs?

          • rob

            no steve…..until they ban all plastic bags we all lose…..I must have at least 40 Hessian bags at home and always have 4 or 5 in my station wagon back……I never buy anything wrapped in plastic

      • Peter Campbell

        “I just wish i could afford an Electric Vehicle…” Search here https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/electric-fueltype/?sortby=~Price&offset=0&setype=sort&area=Stock&vertical=car&WT.z_srchsrcx=makemodel i.e. an ‘advanced’ search with electric as fuel type then order by price.
        There is one 2012 iMiEV for under $15K which should be OK. I have one and am happy with it as a town car. No Holden Volts at the moment (I got one for $25K early this year) but Outlander PHEVs start at just under $28K. These give you purely plug-in electric driving for local trips with petrol range extention.

    • Michael Murray

      We once were a confident forward looking optimistic society and now look where we are at.

      When do you think that was ? Serious question – I remember 1972 which was exciting but 1975 arrived quickly. I guess some of the Hawke, Keating time was forward looking.

    • Ian

      We really need someone to make this country great again 😊. If only my children had parents as good as mine.:(. Every old man thinks the world was a better place at the time of his youth.

      • Greg Hudson

        Personally I agree with the STC’s being killed off, but only if they also kill the FF subsidies too… is if that will ever happen (not)… JMO

    • MaxG

      I am with you; same here… we have covered energy and water, ditch all subscription, but Internet and rego, and food. The latter we are working on by build an Aquaponic system (once I have the spare money).
      For were it went wrong?! Start in the late 70s, with the rise of neoliberalism, and its proponents, such as Thatcher, Reagan, and hoping on the bandwagon, Keating, and fully adopted (actually their core values) by the LNP and associates… with free trade, globalisation, and privatisation.

      • Barri Mundee

        I’m with you Max on neoliberalism (aka economic rationalism) which hates government intervention in the economy (unless for their pet projects), has co-opted most economists on the supposed dangers of deficit spending, has tilted the balance of industrial power heavily in favour of employers, has resulted in high house prices and rents, has replaced mostly benign public monopolies such as electricity utilities with private oligopolies which screw their customers over, has wound back the welfare supports on which a decent inclusive society depends, has failed to take long term, effective action on climate change and sustainability etc etc.

        • nakedChimp

          they all miss (some) monopolies.
          Hell, even the Austrians have a blind spot for money as a monopoly – and those guys are the most liberal free market economists you’ll find.
          Money has a zero lower boundary interest problem, which turns it (over decades) into the mother of all monopolies, that then undermine any socio-economic system you have.

          • Ren Stimpy

            i agree on the monopolies

      • nakedChimp

        Start with the zero lower boundary interest problem of money, once it gets into private hands and accumulates there.
        This effect is like the often spoken off steady drip that hollows the stone.
        Over DECADES it creates a monopoly, that brings down any socio-economic system you can throw at it.

        Please have a look at central bank interest rates over the time and you see that they fall to zero and nowadays even below for some economies.
        And then imagine the paretto distribution curves and all that capital in the hands of the 0.1% and if that would also accept those rates.
        And that’s your answer.

        The real economy has to deliver x% or it will not get money – but it needs money to exchange products within it.
        And if it can’t keep growing at x% it wont get any.
        Now, what grows at x%?
        Not a lot of things.. bacteria and cancer come to mind..
        And the planet can’t have this anyway..
        So there you have it.

    • solarguy

      Hello Patrick, I’ve done the same as you and Max. I designed my Hybrid system and installed it myself as that’s what I do for a living. System can go off grid if the bastards become to unworkable, but as it stands I’m making money staying connected, even after paying SAC from FIT, quicker ROI. Highest credit so far $210, laughing at the bastards.

      System is: 9.3KW PV array total, 37KWh storage max. E.T SHW 60 tubes, 400lt tank.

      ROFL when wankers tell me solar doesn’t work.

      • Ben

        Did you pay full retail?

        • solarguy

          Wholesale, but as I need to make a profit, I charged myself retail. LOL.

          • rob

            solarguy a few days ago you had a bit of a dig at me…… and hettie joyfully joined in…..Please don’t…..I try to be constructive and sensible……. something about soz instead of sorry…..I am a very gentle person and comments which are nasty are surely not necessary…… I’m not well mentally and your comment has sat in my brain for 4 or 5 days……..I ask you please be a tad more giving/gentle in some of your responses……..Hettie as usual blasted a comment back calling me infantile……so hurtful when actually I’m quite intelligent and hold 4 Degrees….Please take this comment in the spirit it was intended…thank you rob

          • Ren Stimpy

            Not well mentally – bullshit. You are just an angry person (not by your doing I acknowedge) but who needs to seek treatment. This is 2018, there’s plenty of treatment options available, just reach out and find one, dickhead.

          • solarguy

            Look Rob I know you have mental health issues, that’s well known on this forum and I sympathise as my youngest has Bipolar. I hope you get better as I know it must be torture. Never thought you where an idiot either. Perhaps your treatment needs aren’t being met. You cannot send fire down range and not expect to see tracers coming back at you, I for one am not built to be a whipping boy for anyone.

            Please for your sake and everybody, think about what you say.

          • rob

            Thank you for the kind response…….yes it is hell! I shall try to be more thoughtful in further responses ! cheers rob…….and you are correct……history wasn’t my thing……Maths , chem ,biol yes……In my era we had streaming in school….so it was all maths ,science and english no arguments allowed

      • MaxG

        60 tubes; outch.
        I had to angle mine up to 54 deg (optimised for winter) as my 20 tubes
        (facing north) boiled the 200l water before 10:00.
        The house will have 20 tubes on 800l (as you said elsewhere, a nice ‘battery’).

        • solarguy

          With 10yrs industry experience, studied RE Electro technology 5yrs,I know what works and what doesn’t. At the time when they were installed had 5p in house, before that had 4p and 30tube -250lt system coped well. As I sell these things and got a discount on wholesale, I decided to go 60tube-400lt to cope better with sons girl friend who moved in, who loved to have long showers together or baths and it’s a big bath tub. Tubes are reverse pitched on southern roof to provide room for PV and so stuck with 27 degree angle.

          Result, boost hardly ever needed and now that two have long moved out, this period 18 months free hot water.

          Now, I think from memory you live up Brisbane way, 27 degrees south, optimum pitch angle for you is 42-45 degrees for winter. Rule of thumb adequate performance is achieved with no less than 20tubes/250lt. So my advice, take it or leave it is 60tubes. If you can’t swallow that, at least another 20.

          BTW do you have an open vented tank, re: boiling?

          • MaxG

            Oops, 45 deg not 54 🙂
            Well, I omitted a small fact. The 800l tank in the house, has a solar tube input; electric boosters, and input from a combustion heater with a wet back. It may take a couple fo days when I first commission the system, but then it only has to replenish the daily use, and given the 20 tubes I currently have perform as envisaged… and the solar tubes on the house will be pressured, hence, bring down liquid at 150 deg C into the heat exchanger.
            Yes, the current HWS is an open one.
            The 800l tank will be a closed system and has expansion tanks properly sized.
            I have to say that the system is uncommon in AU, as it is a German configuration. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/acd1e1018bffe587f33f28b2cd156e2fbfe893041a3b9d45628c9526bdd165f1.jpg

          • solarguy

            Ah, now you tell me. System looks complex from diagram.

          • MaxG

            🙂 … nah, not complex, straight forward 🙂
            But in the smart Australia, more than two connections to a tank and it turns into science :))

      • MaxG

        What’s your battery chemistry?
        I run LiFePO4; down to a 20% SoC.

        • solarguy

          Lead Acid Tubular Gel, 2volt, 968ah x 24. They’re good quality German made BAE.

  • Ray Miller

    I find the ACCC attack on roof top PV based on the argument that those who do not have a system are not benefiting. But the ACCC seems to have missed the point that record numbers of PV systems are being installed on those vacant roof tops converting more by the day have not(s) in have(s)…

    The Queensland government is even offering a program of low interest loads to have you PV system installed.

    So I agree with Giles the ACCC seems to be one very blinkered organisation and should be added to the list with the AEMC of commissions to be defunded as redundant.

    • MaxG

      The problem is, they support the current government, hence no defunding will happen.

  • Graeme Harrison

    No-one has pointed out the latest ‘gold-plating’ by the gentailers. Now a retailer will send out an installer to replace an Ausgrid smartmeter, even though it is less than a year old and working perfectly, because the industry refuses to ‘share’ smart meter readings, so the relevant retailer knows what to bill its customer. So now the NSW regulator at least is encouraging a huge duplication/replacement investment costing a fortune, simply because the industry majors refuse to share data. The whole idea of Ausgrid was to have a neutral party install and run meters, but now every retailer must duplicate. That waste will add hundreds to residential bills over coming years. For years, the electricity majors refused to consider smartmeters, unless the Feds paid for them. Now they will ‘upon request’ put in new ones, simply to get a new URL to send the monthly usage data to. The scam is that they will then use this inflated total investment figure, to argue before iPART etc for a reasonable return on the billions they have ‘had’ to invest. But the current billion is just wasted duplication – gold-plating v2.0

    • solarguy

      And all of what you have said, is a failure by the government.

      • MaxG

        This statement (gov fault) is easy to make, even seems plausible, but is (IMHO) fundamentally wrong; as it is the public, the citizens, the people, who are wilfully ignorant in the selection of their representatives and what they stand for.
        There are people who vote for the local member, because of likability, even if it is the ‘wrong’ party. This is fundamentally wrong… as it strengthens the wrong party.
        And ‘wrong’ stands for either of the major two in AU, as the ALP (listen to Albanese) has adopted (or succumb) to neoliberalism; as as parties do, they do everything to stay in power, even at the cost of selling out their constituency — e.g. agreeing or instigating (via Paul Keating) the sell-off of public assets.
        Other forces at play were almost broke governments selling based on industry and triple A rating loss, instead of issuing bonds preserving the public good.

    • Michael Gunter

      #BlackSaturday’s avoidable industrial manslaughter of 161 people (unpunished IMO), chronic rescidivist excess LV supply volts around 245-253 volts and compulsory smart meters were three big reasons I went off-grid.

      Other reasons include a) slashing my carbon footprint to zero now rather than in 2050, taking the position that offsets, net-zero-emissions, carbon-neutrality, carbon trading in the stationary energy sector are fake and corrupt, and unconscionably delay the death of coal and gas combustion; b) Jeff Kennett never had a referendum to ask if VIC public wanted to sell off the old SECV. Why in god’s name would you break up and sell off a citizen-owned natural monopoly to a bunch of circling sharks?

      Re #OFF_GRID: Economically efficient market bypass of a natural monopoly is literally empowering, and “the sweetest form of competition”

      • MaxG

        Fully agree; and it is the excessive voltage I am exposed to (at present 260V!!) which will see me disconnect in the near-term future.

      • MaxG

        As for the ‘who’… you are on the rigth track, and I encourage you to read up on ‘neoliberalsm’, and which parties stand for it, what it means for society and democracy; and form your own opinion. It will be daunting, revealing, and unfortunately disempowering, once you see how far it has progressed and permeated in all corners of society.

  • onesecond

    It is so frustrating to read about the level of stupidity in Australian energy politics. Dear Australian reneweconomy readers, please engage in discussions about this topic with anyone you encounter, from the taxi driver to your grandma. There has to be a way to get this message out into the skull of the voters.

    • MaxG

      Once you figured out a way, I’ll help you 🙂

    • john

      In fact I have printed out the Lazard report 11 to give to a person who needs some facts as his information comes from the LNP .

    • neroden

      For those concerned with money, print out the key page of the Lazard LCOE report.

      • Ben

        Do you mean this?

        Certain Alternative Energy generation technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies under some scenarios; such observation does not take into account potential social and environmental externalities (e.g., social costs of distributed generation, environmental consequences of certain conventional generation technologies, etc.), reliability or intermittency-related considerations (e.g., transmission and back-up generation costs associated with certain Alternative Energy technologies)
        Page 2

        https://www.lazard.com/media/450337/lazard-levelized-cost-of-energy-version-110.pdf

    • Hettie

      I am inclined to think that the problem with our loathsome pollies is more Cupidity than Stupidity. The coal lobby donates vast sums to their election campaigns, and provides highly paid sinecures for them when they leave parliament. So, like the lackeys they are, they dance to the coal lobby’s tune.

      Unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch has a stranglehold on our news media, and he pretty much owns the conservative side of politics. The present government answers to two masters, neither of them the people they are elected to represent. The closer we get to an election, the more weight Rancid Rupert throes around.

      Right now, electricity prices are causing a great deal of stress to low income households, and the pollies are unable to perform the conjuring trick that would be necessary to allow, let alone encourage, a smooth transition to renewable energy, which would reduce prices, and at the same time protect coal, which would send prices up.

      The notion of leadership confuses the Prime Minister. Most of the front bench is permanently confused, frequently by alcohol, and the people are constantly confused by the inconsistencies between what they know to be true, and the lies the pollies keep telling them.

      Enough to make a rock weep.

  • Ralph Buttigieg

    well OK, how much is the SRES worth now and how much will it be worth in 2021?

  • juxx0r

    If Malcolm wants lower prices, then maybe he can get a list of the power sources and their prices and he can circle the lowest couple, then he could stop being technology neutral and start championing the cheaper ones. lol

    • Hettie

      Don’t be silly!
      That would need him to be prepared to
      Do some homework
      Use accurate sources
      Take the latest data
      Tell the truth about what he finds
      Face down the RWNJs
      Actually lead his party
      Act decisively.

      Have you ever seen him do any of the above?

  • Ken M

    The ACCC report just focussed on cost as reported.

    My own ‘shower thought’

    One of the biggest energy costs to consumers is hot water. One way to reduce the cost of hot water would be for water authorities to somewhat ‘pre heat’ our cold water using RE. My cold water comes in at a chilly 5 degrees in winter and even a small increase would mean less energy required to raise the temperature to 60 degrees.

    Something for the engineers to think about.

    • Mike Westerman

      Losses would kill it but you have put your finger on an important point: a large proportion of energy consumption is in heating and cooling. Thermal storage is cheap: putting heat into your HWS during the day with solar instead of overnight is a no brainer. Commercially available ice storage for ac is starting to get some interest, with a range of models available, but clearly the big licks of this come when supermarkets get on board.

      • RobertO

        Hi Mike Westerman, PV is so much better that solar hot water system. In the last 10 years PV is outstripping what use to be water good points, today it a no brainer (except some people lack brains to ask for PV to hot water tank).

        • Mike Westerman

          Robert I’m not advocating solar HWS but using PV for HW heating. There are several good diverters out there now to balance HW demand with other demands behind the meter to minimise imports.

          • RobertO

            Hi Mike Westerman Solar Hot Water is like “Elvis” He has left the building 10 years ago (and maybe more)

            PV is tops now

          • Mike Westerman

            Robert – again I say, I’m not advocating for Solar HWS – never have. But PV for HW is a logical way to displace importing power to heat your water or reduce gas consumption if you have gas HWS.

          • solarguy

            CRAP!

          • RobertO

            Hi solarguy and Mike Westerman

            I am under the impression that Elvis died
            I am under the impression that SHW died also (about 10 years ago). SHW are still available but PV is much more effective for most people.

          • solarguy

            Please give a detailed analysis as to why you are under that impression.
            In your argument, address the following:

            Energy needed in kwh to heat water from 15c to 60c for 315lt.

            Method PV is used to heat water tank and the cost to install and savings per annum.

            Amount of PV needed for effective performance in winter to reach above temperature of 60c.

            Type of SHW system your belief is modelled against.

          • RobertO

            Hi solarguy, I retired quite a few years ago so I must be out of date with my information. Please tell me when did SHW systems become so advanced that they can now power fridges (supply power to run a fridge, in my day they were call absorption refrigeration, when did they learn to supply power to my phone system and what type of power is that).

            So in 1987 (many years ago) I built my own solar panels. I bought some additional panels in 1990. My hand built one’s survived the hail storm of 1991, the boughts ones failed. I can walk on the hand built one’s, I would never walk on the bought one’s. The bought one’s failed 2 years ago.

            Does the statement PV is more effective to most people.
            It a general statement and so is the statement that SHW has died.

            Solar Hot Water work and so do PV systems

            If PV is of more use to the customer (Hot water is not in general 50% of a customer’s bill it often much less) would the customer chose HW over PV?

            So it take 4.19 k joules to heat 1 kg of water 1 degree c
            So using a 2400 watt heater element it takes about 2 minutes and 40 seconds to reheat the 20 litre jug from 15 degrees c to boiling point so I can make my coffee (why would I bother)

          • MaxG

            It is not one or the other! as you seem to argue.
            It is about the right source for the respective target.
            I have 12kW in panels, 20 in a battery and use evacuated tubes for hot water (which I can boost with electricity if all else fails).

          • solarguy

            In other words you don’t bloody know, going by above waffle.

            Look anyone can use excess PV to add heat to water tank with a resistive element, but only add some, better to use a HPump with PV in that case. Good HP’s however are expensive and when compressors fail, expensive to replace and unless the right amount of PV is dedicated to power it, unhappy results.

            If you make statements that are misleading, there is always some punter who believes it is a fair dinkum cheap solution and are disappointed.

            Fairy tales aren’t facts. You have no facts. Stop the nonsense!

          • MaxG

            See my post further up…
            It depends on the situation; I agree when it comes to heat pumps
            (cost benefit when solar PV is available) and any panels that are not evac tubes.

    • RobertO

      Hi Ken M, couple of simple things to do to help
      Insulate (everything you can access), including the inlet pipe, outlet pipe and the top part of the pressure relief valve(but do not block it) and even the tank itself.
      If you need the plumber to do something about your system, then spend the extra money on putting in the actual Pressure Relief (and it maybe a Pressure/Temperature Relief Valve) at the cold water inlet after the non return valve at the bottom of the tank. He will insist on installing a pressure/ temperature relief valve at the top just make sure the top one is higher in pressure that the bottom one (the plumber will think you mad but it is the law in South Australia and note it is not a pressure reduction valve, there is a difference). This is worth about 48 kWhr per year draining water pressure off as cold water when the heater expands the water in the tank (stop wasting hot water to the drain).
      When installing a new system make sure that the outlet pipe is vertically position and drops 150mm (minimum) downwards as soon as it leaves the the tank. Horizontal or vertical up drain heat much quicker then people realise.

      If you have lots of spare money and you are renovating the bathroom install solar hot water on roof (note PV is much more valuable but you may have all you can use including supplying power to the hot water system using a standard system). The solar system would have no electrical connection and its job is to supply warmer water to both the shower system and at the same time supply the normal hot water system.
      In the shower install 2 taps one above the other with cold on bottom and hot on top (mixer types both hot and cold or 4 connection points as follows, Cold water and solar water on one, and solar and hot water supply on the other (hop into shower and turn on cold tap to full solar, adjust temperature to suit ie add cold to cool and hot water to heat from the top tap).
      In summer solar hot water with cold water, in spring and autumn sometime need additional hot water, and in winter it still heats the water (about 5 to 18 degrees above inlet temperature) but you need hot water to have a shower.

      My solar with no electrical connection (I call it the pre heat tank is 23 years old) The panels failed 2 years ago and I am going to replace them with PV
      The pre heat tank is connected to my slow combustion fire place so I still heat the pre heat tank in winter time. (I am burning a 70 years old house and it’s very good extremely dry wood in the middle of Sydney. Lots of people burn rubbish wood and some even burn damp wood both of which smoke badly).

      My long term average was under 3 kWhr to heat a 400 litre hot water tank with 4 people using it daily. Two are teenage girls and as much as I threaten to turn off the hot water (I did actually do it a couple of time after 30 minutes in the showers).

      • Hettie

        For those with kids, who even if babies now will grow into adolescents before you can blink, a hot water controller OUTSIDE the bathroom that will cut off the hot water after, say 10 minutes, could be a splendid saver.
        One that must be set to supply hot water to the shower. Any normal person can wash hair and body in 5 minutes, so 10 is generous. Allowing your teenagers to shower for 30 and longer is antisocial. But they WILL do it, unless prevented.

        • RobertO

          Hi Hettie I lost that argument with the boss. Bunnings (back when it was BBC) had a shower controller and I wanted to install it but the boss said NO! (Happy wife happy life, do not rock the boat).

          • Ren Stimpy

            Until the bills fall due.

        • MaxG

          Sort of agree, but not with the ‘anti-social’… it depends how a property manages their water and energy. I collect my rain water, produce HW with the sun, and the grey water goes into a worm farm, and the worm tea goes into a productive field. So I shower as I please. 🙂
          But then, this example does not reflect the norm 🙂

          • Hettie

            Indeed it doesn’t reflect the norm. The vast majority, even with PV, depend on town water. Not many new builds have tanks bigger than the mandated minimum.
            Me, after 12 years on tank water, decided that I hate town water, and installed 3,000 GALLONS. Or 13,500 L, I think. Kitchen tap and one outside tap are town water, all the rest tank.
            In defiance of the norm, I use town supply on the garden, and collect all drinking water from the laundry tap. But the tank is not big enough to allow for profligacy. Visitors are urged to limit showers to 10 minutes, max.
            With most places having water restrictions in summer, it’s the water, not the power that is the focus, but of course hw takes power. Or gas.
            Those minimum size tanks are so silly. Most of the cost is the pump and plumbing. The cost of a bigger tank is minimal. A world full of foolish, thoughtless people.

          • Mike Westerman

            It’s funny Hettie how “needs” change – I was raised in a family of 8 kids and mad aunt with just a 5,000gal tank tho admittedly large roof. That was all we had until the sewerage replaced the dunny’s (scary – in the shed out back so you never wanted “to go” at night) then we had town water for the flush toilets. Never thought twice about reusing someone else’s bathwater, as long as they hadn’t stayed in too long and made it cold! I think we did run out once or twice, and had to switch to town water which we hated because of the smell of chlorine. Now I reckon my son could drain a 5,000gal tank in a month!

          • Hettie

            Wow, that takes me back! Not the dunny out the back – NZ was a bit ahead of Aus in such matters, although friend’s beach side baches sometimes had them. Only two of us girls, and we shared bathwater until my big sister left home, and my parents also shared until my mother died.
            It seems gross now, and of course most people mostly shower, but I do love a bath. Have a spa bath in fact, and use it seldom, but after a hard day in the garden it is vastly better than a shower for getting the kinks out of my back.
            Would not go back to those days.

          • Joe

            Ah, the Dunny out the back, those were the days!. I grew up in Campbelltown, South West Sydney. The ‘flushing shitter’ didn’t come on stream until ‘The Great Man’ won the 1972 Federal Election. Finally the Capital City ( Bris, Syd, Melb ) outer western suburbs got the sewerage connected and what a joy it was now to do ones business !!!!!!

          • Hettie

            I find it incredible that Aus was so tardy with building its sewers.
            Outer suburbs in NZ had septic tanks, mostly decommissioned by the mid 60s, but the Loos were all indoors. No back lanes for the honey trucks, and in rural areas it would be a long drop dunny. But then, NZ embraced Keynesian economics fiercely right after WWII, and such infrastructure was part of that, along with free public hospitals, completelyfree public education, universal health care, high quality public housing, and all the rest. My family lived in a double brick, 3 bedroom “State house” from 1947 to 1952. A very different beast from the dreadful Housing Commission dumps of NSW and Vic. Wonderful roads that just about steered the car for you.
            It all fell apart under Muldoon, in the early 80s, where the “Economic Rationalism” lie took hold of the English speaking world.

          • Joe

            Hi Hettie, the reason we had to wait so long for the ‘flushing shitter’ was 23 years ( 1949 – 1972 ) of LNP Federal Government. They didn’t think that it was the their job to build the sewerage in the outer suburbs. It took ‘The Great Man, Gough’ winning the 1972 Election to finally drag Australia into the 20 Century…which included the ‘flushing shitter’ for me and thousands of other Aussie Families!

      • Peter G

        Great setup HWS is series rather than expensive dual element tank. Thanks for sharing.

        • RobertO

          Hi Peter G Just remember sq meter verse sq meter
          PV win over SHW.
          Cost wise PV wins over SHW.
          What can you use it for, PV wins again.

      • MaxG

        There is no one fits all; “solar PV more valuable than solar HWS” — I tend to disagree — BUT, it depends on the situation. I am basically off-grid (use the grid as generator substitute). I have evacuated tubes for the HWS, and these things are just mean in heat production. I would not want to also generate the electricity in case of cloudy/rainy days where solar PV is already minimal/struggling to charge the battery. Since the evac tubes also work on infrared, they even heat water on days which are less favourable for solar PV.
        The house (I am building) will have an 800l hot water tank, run by 18 evac tubes (German closed, pressurised system)… easily catering for floor heating in the bath rooms and hot water.

    • Peter G

      Demand management! Heaven (and the AEMC) forbid!!

      Ripple control could be doing this very inexpensively if we had some halfway decent consumer regulator to make it so (and it hadn’t been decommissioned most places).

    • solarguy

      No need to pre heat inlet water, as that would just increase cost anyway. Simple solution is an Evacuated Tube SHW system. Mine has gone 18mths before needing any electricity.

    • RobertO

      Hi Ken M the advice given below is a sales person advice (Mine is the only one that works)

      What a load of CRAP from Solarguy

      11 Buildings in the school 9 of them are heritage listed and the boss is a heritage architect (the whole site is in a heritage precinct). Put Solar any type on the listed building “Over my dead body” was the answer.

      So put solar hot water on 2 of the buildings and pump it to the others (yer NOT a hope will not work)

      Put PV on 2 building cause we have electrical connections to the others ( we have put 76 kw so put it on the southern side maybe 150 kw, so we get about 600 kwhr average daily but on other hand on we use 2300 kwhr daily so again that answer is yer but it really it not that good

      So we have 550 people on the site every day. We have waste food (and we can get paid to gather waste food). We have green grass and leaves and paper and cardboard.

      Methane Digester Plant would work for the school. Free electricity, free water to recycle and an income estimated at some $300,000

      The right answer is to consider every option. Some are way better than others and some will never fit

      The school had purchase a new site and I have already ruled out a Methane Digester. It would not work at that site just on occupancy alone. We do not live there.

      • Hettie

        So preserving the built heritage trumps preserving the planet and even the school’s budget.
        Of course it does.

        😠 🤔 😡

        • RobertO

          Hi Hettie, and they are CC deniers as well so my head hurts.
          The silly point of all of this is that I was asked a question:
          Robert how can we heat our swimming pool?
          Pump water around black pipes on roof works sometimes rough costs about $3000
          Install Electrical heaters much better at $20,000
          Install heat pumps heaters much better at $50,000
          Install Natural Gas heaters much better at $25,000 (but gas is going up forget that one)
          Install Co generation (make electricity and use heat off exhaust pipe to heat pool Natural Gas too expensive)
          Watched TV one night and Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs talking about Methane Digester (boy I am so dumb, in 1984 build Methane Digester for Sydney Water Board)

          Quote to build $1.3 to $1.4 million by a Qld firm and yes it would work and sorry we do not build units that small (100kw) so I rang ARENA.

          Their words were “Do not spend a penny on this idea until you have submitted a proposal. I suspect that because you are a not for profit school, and that you would be the first school in Australia to build a CH4 plant we would completely fund it!’

          • Hettie

            Hope that comes to fruition for you!
            What a coup if it does.

      • Mike Westerman

        Robert – sites like that is where things like car parking shelters, bus shelters sports pavilions and multipurpose halls hopefully can contribute! Or you have to wait for solar tiles to make it to Australia in the right heritage profiles!

        • RobertO

          Hi Mike Westerman, agreed and we have 2 tennis courts that that the school is thinking of covering so the question has been asked, “Could we cover them in PV?” (note PV is of more use to the school than SHW would be). The answer I got was “yes we are considering it”.

          • Hettie

            So there is some hope.

  • Mulgaman53

    Heavy industry in NSW will not stay in business for long relying on Green Energy Tomago Aluminium proved this and Comsteel at Waratah will not be able to run on battery power and many others and when all Air con systems in Summer are switched on and nothing happens what are we going to do then buy more D batteries.

    • Hettie

      Don’t be stupid. Read what is written in the articles publish hers and learn some facts.

    • RobertO

      Hi Mulgaman53, You would love our current ex prime minister. He has public stated “You cannot run a steel mill on renewable power. Everybody known that!”
      The following day some (abbott had just call him an idiot) rich british businessman published in the papers “Yes you can. I will show you how”

      Given that he had only bought the steel company about 6 months prior I sure he knew what he was saying.

      https://reneweconomy.com.au/?s=Steel+Mills&x=0&y=0

    • DevMac

      *cough* Gupta, Whyalla *cough*

    • RobertO

      Hi Mulgaman53 Simple question for you! How do you manage to tell that this electron is green and that one is not green? Do you have some special knack for telling the difference.
      I suppose it about the same level of your ability to calculate the number of D batteries we need to survive in NSW

      • Hettie

        Hehehe

      • Ben

        I think the answer to your question is that when said electron is energised by kinetic energy of wind or chemical energy of sun or potential energy of water it might be considered “green”.

        All other times (65%) would be not green.

    • solarguy

      Go away coal trollie, you understand nothing, can be taught nothing.

      • RobertO

        Hi solarguy, Did you see hettie message. She was looking for a program on solar power capacity factors for anywhere in Australia

    • Phil NSW

      Glad you used Tomago Aluminium to push your case. Tomago was forced to cut back because FF generators tripped. How many trips of that magnitude have been caused by RE? Ask yourself how many FF power stations have been built in the last 10 years on the eastern seaboard? I know the answer do you? Use the answer to think what our future electricity grid will look like. Have a nice day.

    • Ren Stimpy

      Heavy industry has long been making secret low cost power deals with the generators, effectively pushing the costs off themselves and onto households.

  • neroden

    Rather than sticking your head in the sand, go off grid, then help your mates go off grid, then form a business to help other people go off grid…

    • MaxG

      I tried and failed 🙂

    • Ren Stimpy

      How would that work for renters, apartment dwellers with limited rooftop space and people whose roofs are just not suitable for solar? We need a complete decarbonised energy solution for everybody, authored by government, but this meek lot have failed to do so because they encountered the meekest headwinds by “forces” in their own political party.

  • Robert Comerford

    Given all Australian government departments have to follow the triple bottom line ethos, how come the ACCC and the Federal government can come up with technology agnostic proposals ? This goes directly in the face of the Environmental part of the triple bottom line.

    • MaxG

      Sorry, I am not aware that any AU government has subscribed to 3BL accounting… other than WA who adopted 3BL accounting in 2003 as a part of the State Sustainability Strategy, which has since been watered down.
      Given there is the quadruple bottom line (QBL) which denotes a future-oriented approach (future generations, intergenerational equity, etc.) — as usual AU is a long way behind the eight ball.

  • Ben

    Hello, I’d appreciate some assistance interpreting paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5:
    “ACCC data… average household bill in Australia is $1,636 a year, of which $560 is made up from wholesale electricity” – yes, the report says this in a couple of places, I will refer to page 366 Appendix 5.

    “According to ESB modelling…reduce household bills by $400 a year thanks to the reduction in prices of the wholesale market…” – can’t find this in the report

    “The ACCC reckons… reduce the price of wholesale electricity by $155 a year.” – yes, this is explained in the report, page 366 Appendix 5.

    “… cost of wholesale power will be reduced to just $5 in the average household bill.” – this relies on the $400 figure that isn’t in the report.

    • Mike Westerman

      I assume Ben that you are being obtuse, and really mean to ask why the article uses $400 savings from the NEG rather than the $110-115 per their press release?

    • Are you incapable of basic research? http://www.coagenergycouncil.gov.au/sites/prod.energycouncil/files/publications/documents/Report%20on%20the%20National%20Energy%20Guarantee.pdf
      “The average residential bill saving over the 2020-2030 period under the Guarantee is in the order of $120 per year (in today’s dollars) across the NEM relative to BAU, and on average around $400 lower than the estimated bill for 2017 in each year for the period 2020 to 2030.”
      which is the $120 from the NEG and $280 from the RET. Off course, the government has been claiming the $400 as a job lot.

      • Ben

        Are you incapable of answering a simple question with civility?

        Seriously, the article is all about the ACCC report, which does not contain a reference to this report you have only now referred to.

        And the rest of the paragraph includes:

        “This saving reflects the reduction in wholesale electricity prices under the Guarantee, due to a combination of lower risk premiums on new capacity investment and more competitive bidding in the spot market.


        I don’t think it is correct to assume both forecast savings operate together at the same time. I suggest the ACCC forecast savings (page 366 in the ACCC report) include the ESB forecast data (page 47 of the ESB report).

        • Think about what you just said. The ACCC says its $150 savings includes the forecast ESB savings of $400. I don’t think, and if it does, then one of them things the actions of the other is a load of cobblers. The point i was making was that these forecasts make no sense. That’s why i used the word nonsense.

          • Ben

            Ha good point about the maths, I didn’t join those dots!

            I don’t disagree with your point, I think it is fair to highlight the ACCC numbers in this area, especially since the ACCC report does not provide a reference to the ESB modelling.

            I acknowledge the disparity in those numbers, even so I think it’s a stretch to add them together.

            It might be a more effective critique to highlight the disparity, retrospectively it would seem there have been lots of reports predicting “average NEM household electricity bill”.

  • Peter G

    Thanks for the Article Giles.

    “This has been going on in full sight of the ACCC, state pricing
    regulators, federal regulators and state and federal governments for
    nearly a decade now”

    I think it is a bit longer than that – the ACCC were urged to consider the cost implications of the rush to Air-conditioning over two decades ago and they did nothing about it. The consumers champion was happy to sit back and see the cost of the resulting gold plating smeared across all consumers regardless.

    Apart from the fuel cost increases the ’causes’ identified in this report are in fact the predicable consequences of the gold plating, cost smearing, and privatisation/market concentration that has been allowed by indolent consumer regulation for over two decades.

    The ACCC should look in the mirror.

    • Hettie

      I wonder how well funded ACCC is.
      Can’t make bricks without straw, as they say, and 20 years ago the privatisation was just starting.

  • David Rossiter

    I understand that the RET SRES tapers off progressively over its last ten years to 2030 by reducing the number of RECs that can be created. Plus one would expect the price of RECs to drop over that period of the scheme as supply meets demand. Surely Rod Sims isn’t advocating for a SRES sudden cutoff in preference to the current orderly transition.