The Australian Greens have announced a massive plan to incentivise the uptake of solar and battery systems through the supply of grants and loans, along with the previously announced promise to create a 100 per cent publicly owned non-profit electricity retailer.
Greens Leader Adam Bandt said the party’s plan will include grants for householders and business owners of up to $25,000 and loans of up to $100,000 to be used to transition away from gas-fired boilers, water heaters, and cooktops, and move towards electric alternatives.
The Greens’ plan will offer grants up to $10,000 to households and up to $25,000 for small businesses along with low-interest loans of up to $20,000 and $100,000 respectively.
The grants are limited to 20% of the total cost of the replacement project but can be increased up to 50% for a household if it agrees to disconnect from the gas grid entirely within six months.
In addition to grants and loans to support transitioning from gas to electricity alternatives, the Greens new plan also includes subsidies for homes and business to purchase battery storage systems – up to $5,000 for households and $10,000 for small businesses.
The grant will have a maximum value of 50% of the total cost of the installation, and further low-interest loans of up to $10,000 for households and up to $50,000 for small businesses.
“The Greens’ plan will help people get batteries for their homes and switch from gas to renewables, cutting power bills and cutting pollution,” said Bandt, who made the announcement alongside the Smart Energy Council and solar installers in Queensland electorate of Ryan.
“The Sunshine State is a renewable energy paradise, but not everyone can afford batteries to get the most out of their solar panels. The Greens will make sure Queenslanders are getting bang for their buck and we expect this plan will see power bills drop to record lows.
“Government support has helped bring down the cost of solar panels, and the Greens want to do the same with batteries. This is a practical way to tackle the climate crisis and ease cost of living pressures.”
The Greens plan has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and is expected to deliver an investment of $17.1 billion into electrifying Australian homes, a further $14.8 billion into electrifying small businesses, and $12.6 billion into installing small-scale batteries in homes and businesses through the remainder of the decade.
In order to pay for these plans, the Greens will rely on its new “billionaires tax” and require big corporations making what the party describes as “excessive profits” to pay a ‘corporate super-profits tax’ while axing billions of dollars in subsidies to the coal, oil, and gas giants in Australia.
“Australia has so much sun and wind that we can produce clean energy cheaply, and by supporting households and businesses to install batteries and get off gas, it’s a win for climate and cost of living,” added Bandt.
“Liberal and Labor have no plan to help businesses get off gas and on to cheap clean electricity, leaving many with rising energy costs.
“The Greens want to support businesses to cut their energy bills, including by helping with the up-front costs of moving away from using gas and on to electricity wherever it is possible.
“By making billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax, we can ease cost of living pressures.”
The Greens plan also promises to create a 100% publicly owned non-profit electricity retailer by re-tooling the retail division of Snowy Hydro to create Power Australia, which will offer all Australian households and businesses at-cost electricity.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.