Queensland push for "fair" solar FiT hits major roadblock | RenewEconomy

Queensland push for “fair” solar FiT hits major roadblock

Regulator sees no reason to make rooftop solar feed-in tariffs mandatory, saying it’s hard to see the benefits of the technology. Energex, however, has found one: using rooftop PV as a “solar sponge” to power electric hot water. And it will effectively charge 12c/kWh to solar households for their own output.


The Queensland government’s promise to deliver a “fair price of solar” for new and recent solar connections has hit a major roadblock, with the Queensland Productivity Commission saying it sees no reason to impose a mandatory payment and figures households are receiving enough already.

The draft report from the QPC, released on Thursday, rejects the idea that solar households should be rewarded for any network benefits, such as reducing peaks and deferring investment, and for pulling down the price of wholesale electricity, or any other social benefits.

It says it is clear that solar PV reduces the amount of coal-fired generation, but says that the emission reduction benefits are already rewarded in the federal small-scale renewables scheme, which provides an upfront subsidy to the cost of solar panels.

And it also rejects the idea that solar households should be allowed to trade with each other, saying that such schemes are too complex, and may be addressed separately by the Australian Energy Markets Commission.

The findings of the QPC are not a surprise, given its past and current attitude to solar and the networks generally. It and other state-based regulators are criticised for seeking only to protect the interests of the incumbent network operators and gen-tailers.

Last month, for instance, the QPC recommended the premium feed-in tariff of 44c/kWh, enjoyed by more than 300,000 households in Queensland, should be cancelled, rather than allowed to continue until 2028.

That report on the broader issue of electricity prices focused entirely on the cost of renewables, which make up less than 5 per cent of the average consumer bill, and largely ignored the impact of network costs and wholesale prices, rising sharply because of the rising cost of gas. As we said then, it was a big fail.

This latest report on the fair price of solar looks at the current feed-in tariffs, which in south-east Queensland are not mandatory. Major retailers pay between 6c/kWh and 8c/kWh, while other smaller retailers offer between 4c/kWh and 11c/kWh.

The QPC argues that these FiT payments are a subsidy, although many in the solar industry argue that the ability of incumbent utilities to buy the output of rooftop solar at a low price and sell it “over the fence” to the neighbour at three times the price – or significantly more in time-of-use tariffs – is a subsidy in the other direction.

The utilities, supported by regulators, say these low FiTs, or payments, are justified because of “unavoidable” costs. But the industry wonders why that is the case.

One graph recently released by Energex, and used in a series of presentations, goes to this point. It shows how the network can benefit by shifting electric hot water systems from the current “off-peak” in the middle of the night, to the middle of the day.

solar sponge energex

The diagram above showed how the network could use the output of solar PV as a “solar sponge”, effectively eradicating an evening and an early morning peak.

This has a clear network benefit, but those solar households on “controlled load tariffs” are being paid 6c/kWh for their solar and paying 18c/kWh for the same output, even though the output has not even gone into the grid – it’s travelled just a few centimetres from one meter to another.

They are effectively paying the network 12c/kWh to use the output from their own solar system. As one analyst says: “Work that one out.”

Alan Pears, from RMIT, says the key question that none of the regulators address is where does the money go when the networks pocket the difference in money paid to solar households and the electrons sold either back to them or to their neighbours.

“On what basis can regulators justify allowing retailers and network operators to grab the difference between the low FiT and the price at which they re-sell that electricity to someone down the street?”

Pears says QPC and other regulators, such as IPART in NSW and the ESC in Victoria, based their assessments only on savings to the incumbent electricity supply industry. There is no scrutiny on the cost impact of households using air conditioning, for instance.

The QPC’s take on solar PV’s ability to reduce peak demand and defer network expenditure is also interesting. It says there is evidence of “some” network peak reduction, but it is not uniform enough to justify a tariff adjustment. In typically dry economic terms, it even questions the benefits of deferring network upgrades.

But its logic is difficult to follow. When a local network is upgraded, all consumers share in the costs. That, it suggests is OK, but it is not OK for the benefits of investment deferral to be shared.

As one analyst said:  “This reads like a 100-plus page justification to deliver a preconceived position to do nothing. The wording of so many phrases in the document reads like the opening position is that FiT socially is bad. Some of the tricky answers are not explored to try to find useful solutions.”

The Australian PV Institute, a research body, says it is clear that solar PV does reduce peaks.

“There is a significant amount of well-documented evidence provided by network operators that PV reduces network demand peaks – both at the feeder and system-wide level,” it says in a submission to the QPC’s electricity price inquiry.

It notes that the peak for Queensland for 2015/16 to date was on Tuesday, February 2, when solar PV reduced it from 9,576MW to 9,062MW, a reduction of 5.36 per cent

The APVI says the QPC appears to make no efforts to ensure that the networks’ cost-reflective tariffs are, in fact, cost-reflective.

One consequence of this is that batteries, and similar load control devices, are most likely to be programmed to operate in such a way that they will do little to reduce network peaks and current proposals for demand-charge tariffs could result in significant dead weight losses.

John Grimes, from the Australian Solar Council, says the QPC report grossly underestimates the benefits of solar, including the reduced investment in grid infrastructure, and overestimates the benefits of the federal subsidy, not recognising it is winding down.

Advocacy group Solar Citizens said the report ignored the main obstruction to fair feed-in prices for solar owners, which was the costs imposed by the state-owned networks.

“Excess solar power that travels a few metres over a neighbour’s fence is charged the same high rates for the use of the poles and wires as power that travels hundreds of kilometres from coal or gas-fired plants,” said consumer campaigner Reece Turner.

“The benefits of rooftop solar are failing to be realised and all Queensland consumers are suffering.

“Queenslanders are leading the world in the take up of residential rooftop solar and have invested millions of their own dollars towards a cleaner, healthier renewable energy future, but the big, state-owned companies are failing consumers. The commission’s report does nothing to address or even recognise this.”

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  1. BsrKr11 5 years ago

    See this gives them deniability by a third “independent” body – this was always the goal- for it is as simple as this- Qld receives into its treasury a substantial annual dividend from Energex and Ergon. Furthermore, asking a Government to reduce its income is like asking the Pope to stop evangelizing in the name of God …. aint never gonna happen mate!

    • trackdaze 5 years ago

      I agree with you on their thinking and how the unproductivity commission arrived at their decisicion.

      What they don’t see is prosumers are the only thing that will support the utilization (and efficient unit pricing) of the grid. Problem is the qld generators (govt owned) are in a bind with solar and efficiency measures eating their lunch.

      If the productivity commission wasn’t bound they may have suggests incentivised western facing solar, storage and anything else that flattened the peak

    • Dispassionate 5 years ago

      But everyone had hissy fits whenever the government wants to privatise these assets?
      Also, if the government reduces its income where does the money for health, schools, roads etc etc etc come from?

      Come on people let’s look at this from a balanced point of view rather than just being worried about our own back pockets.

      • Ian 5 years ago

        I think people want a customer oriented, lean green energy grid, but the back pocket has to pay for it, because the conventional industrial/ political system won’t.

    • suthnsun 5 years ago

      If income is the motivation, organize a ‘PV off’ day for the next hot sunny day. Tell the govt and networks and get a study done, focussing on the costs implied by not having access to local, fully distributed PV. They can then model what this implies for cash income, current level of deferred capital costs, implied future costs and emissions. At this point, I suspect an accurate study would have a very sobering effect on the regulator and retailer. A fair FIT is a key to keeping the system functional imho. The legacy fit seems unfair, perhaps? ? those benefiting would agree to give some back if a fair fit was on offer?

      • solarguy 5 years ago

        Mate, they know how much their getting, but the monster is greedy.

        • suthnsun 5 years ago

          So SG , If everyone turns off their arrays in concert on a hot sunny day, that ‘experiment’ might demonstrate how much it will cost them if the PV people leave the grid. Even a mass uptake of small battery systems might hurt badly, so reason indicates a rethink is preferable. As it is, they seem to be hurtling towards a worsening chaos with every announcement.

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            Even if they uses loads like A/C to do the same thing as a nation wide protest, as long as all are NET metered of course. If that could be organized with heavy media coverage, it might make em think twice.
            As far as it is, they think there’ve got things stitched up with the pollies and mate they are very powerful multi billion $ industry that is used to getting it’s way.
            But hey it’s worth a try. I’ll contact John Grimes from the ASC and see if he likes the protest idea. He and the people from Solar Citizens are good at these things.

          • suthnsun 5 years ago

            Great, see if it seems feasible with them. Thanks.

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            Will do keep you posted.

      • BsrKr11 5 years ago

        You make some sensible points but I would like to re iterate my thinking – they already know the information you discuss, solar power is a disruptive technology not only to the centralized methodology of delivering electrons but FAR more importantly it is threatening revenue to the centralized bureaucracies … call me cynical but this last point is the CENTRAL most IMPORTANT point under discussion and the PRIME motivation behind the stupidity on display in Qld and NSW

        • suthnsun 5 years ago

          So BK , in principle do you support the concept of a concerted PV OFF day so that the bureaucracies can assess more accurately what they stand to *lose* if they don’t give sensible ground?

          • BsrKr11 5 years ago

            of course, why not? Get everyone to turn off their solar systems on the same hot muggy summer day and see what happens!

  2. Dispassionate 5 years ago

    “When a local network is upgraded, all consumers
    share in the costs. That, it suggests is OK, but it is not OK for the benefits
    of investment deferral to be shared.”
    I can’t really see the logic in this. The costs all consumers don’t have to shell out is the way they benefit, otherwise the consumers that don’t get solar have to shell out under either circumstance and really only the solar owners see any benefit.
    Then if it is only deferred, the total benefit is at best, the difference in todays dollars against the value of the future dollar at time of spend. And this doesn’t even go into the uncertainty of what the differed $$ should be in the first place.

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      I don’t really understand this point. Could you try again ?

      • Dispassionate 5 years ago

        Hi Chris,
        thanks for the question.
        Benefit to people when investment deferred = money they don’t have to pay.
        If money is paid to solar owners in regard to this deferment it is the non-solar owners who pay, so non-solar owners get to pay either way

        Other issues:
        Difficulty and uncertainty when estimating how much investment is deferred.
        If it is only a deferment then the benefit is just the difference in real terms of the investment today, and when it is made in the future, not the entire amount.
        Hope that helps make it clearer for you.

        • Catprog 5 years ago

          Let say it costs $x to upgrade.

          Shared among 100 people it costs $x/100.

          If 1 person gets solar at cost $y and puts of the upgrade for everyone.

          Solar person cost is $y – $x/100
          Non solar people saving is $x/100

          Should the solar person get some of the savings from the other people?

        • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

          With the cost of network upgrades and STCs and FiTs, there are a range of views on householder expense and returned value. Worse still, the QPC does not attach any value to carbon emissions abatement which helps avoid environmental and public health costs.As we now know the networks talked up grid investment between 2007 and 2012 to the tune of $50b because of a fear of energy chokes from air conditioners. The return on investment was legislated at above market rates regardless of how the grid was used. Solar PV negawatts ensured the blackouts never happened. Too late though, our energy bill went up 80% during that time. All the STCs and FiTs added a cost of only 2%.Legislated grid greed means the need for investment does not grow organically after consideration of the role of ever cheaper PV, batteries and new technology. All you get is a robust underutilised grid not a very smart one. PV puts downward pressure on any need for grid robustness and most such proposals should be put off.Networks even agree on this approach in fringe areas where we are now seeing off-grid PV and storage considered cheaper than extending the grid to everyone. I know many solar and non-solar household who agree it is better to pay $4.7b for LGCs through their energy bills several times over before wasting $50b with no result.

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            well said.

          • Dispassionate 5 years ago

            They did attach value to the carbon emissions, pretty sure the report said that the STC covered any environmental benefit.
            As far as public health costs I think it is a long bow to draw to try and claim monies for this, considering the number of other effects involved in regard to public health.
            I really have a hard time going along with the common argument used: this cost more than that so that must be ok!
            The report does say that localised deals should be sort where solar PV has those benefits, again paying every solar pv owner across the state would be both expensive and not fair on either the non solar owner that isn’t in the area of benefit and the solar owner in the area of benefit would be most likely underpaid.

    • Hugh Butler 5 years ago

      Dispassionate. Missing is the critical assumption that the delay may (likely) have other benefits, not just lower cost. Lets say delaying $5m of capital by 5 years. The value might be 5 to 10% interest pa. But historically the cost of renewables, solar, wind, storage, is dropping 10% year on year. So in 5 years the same outcomes might cost only 1/2. Furthermore capital is a scarce resource. So the “minimal” difference actually is the minor value. Further, such capital investment could become a “stranded asset”. Ask Duke Energy about what that does to your share price!

      • Dispassionate 5 years ago

        ok, fair call. So the people in that area may deserve some extra but that isn’t a good reason to pay everybody across the entire state/country when most aren’t delaying any/very little investment anyway. Although I tend to go along with the bit in the report about businesses don’t get paid for reducing other businesses investment. Also energy efficiency also contributes to deferring investment, the graphs showing the average electricity use of non solar users shows this would be a major cause as well, how do these people get compensated?
        I am sorry to harp on about these things but I really think there is a lot of damage being done to the cause and goal of reducing emissions by the amount of people wanting to profit by it, and if we look at it in a dispassionate manner the $ amounts we are all individually seeking is pretty minor compared to the damage we are causing.

    • Roger Brown 5 years ago

      Stop your whining and invest in some roof top $olar hot water $ystem and some $olar power panels on your roof and kill your power bills .

      • Dispassionate 5 years ago

        lol, not whining Roger, trying to look at the situation from a reasonable pov rather than the very common rent seeking view you are obviously very familiar with.

        • Roger Brown 5 years ago

          http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-23/solar-battery-rebate-adelaide-city-council/6566724 Looks like I will have to put some solar panels on my renter in S.A . Get some sweet rent seeking on some Aussie Redflow Home battery pack .(They start installing in June .) Testing on other inverters has started . Great timing ! I could then sell my Green power to renter by having my own meter between renter and power ! Renter gets cheap green power and I get a greener planet .:)

        • Roger Brown 5 years ago

          Still whining like a old ford diff ? , you should seek to get some help.

          • Dispassionate 5 years ago

            Don’t like being called out do you Rog!? Thanks for playing!

  3. phred01 5 years ago

    There is an obvious work around the stupidity. If ur making excess power during the which covers the hot water heating. Get the electrician to put in a timer in the switch then make the connection via the day nite switch. Now u will get a benefit of 12c saving rather 5c fit. This will screw power industry by creating a glut @ nite

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Don’t wait and complain. Do it.

    • liquidblueocean 5 years ago

      Can someone reword/reexplain this? I’m interested but haven’t comprehended the wording used

      • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

        He means – i think – that the hot water system runs off its own 15A single phase circuit. This circuit can have its own timer, sometimes it also has its own switch. In which case no energy may be used to heat water until the timer has actually switched itself to on. Rather than wait for the ripple sensor to switch on the hot water heater after 11pm, wire up your PV for net metering and run the hot water circuit through the main meter (not the off-peak meter). Then use PV energy and the timer to heat water up during the middle (most insolation) part of the day. You’d want to have a lot of kW on the roof because if your PV is not pumping out 3.6 kW, your going to suck the balance out of the main meter at cost.Since the energy used for heating is then worth about 25c/kWh retail, and the foregone FiT is worth about 5c/kWh, using PV energy for heating water during daytime actually saves you 25-5c = 20c/kWh.Hope i got that right, or close.

  4. Nathan M. 5 years ago

    Confusion = profit, and there’s a huge lack of information in electricity pricing.

    There is a figure on page 38 of the report that explains the cost breakdown really well. A lot of the confusion around this issue would be cleared up if everyone’s power price was broken down into the relevant charges instead of lumped the way it is. It’s done that way for large customers, so the machinery should be in place.

    I think there’s a case for claiming Transmission Use of System charges should be considered an avoided cost, but it’s probably only worth 1 or 2 cents.

  5. derekbolton 5 years ago

    One sleight of hand these analysts pull is that they look at the marginal benefit of more PV, instead of the value existing PV has of having softened peak demand.
    Analogy: Neighbour gives you lots of lemons from her tree; your partner suggests giving neighbour some of your home-grown tomatoes. No, you reply, the lemons have no value to me because I have plenty (from the neighbour).

    • solarguy 5 years ago

      That’s the bastards game spot on!

  6. Cooma Doug 5 years ago

    Staying on the grid, via poles and wires 20 years from now, for a normal home will not be an option worth considering. There will be nothing a large generator remote from site could sell a home.
    If there is a grid servicing large industry and infrastructure, a home may link to it via a car. The car will be the home energy manager. But the home energy will be accessed from the car which will manage energy dharing between adjacent homes when required.

    • solarguy 5 years ago

      That’s something I have always had a problem with, why use power from your car, which is needed to get you from A-Z to power ya house. It doesn’t make sense.

      • Mike Dill 5 years ago

        In most cases, it is not just power from the car, but some extra energy that you can use if required (in the middle of winter) to bridge the few days when the sun is not getting to your PV panels. Drawing too much will kill the car batteries. Bridging a gap every once in a while can make sense, and if your car batteries are large enough they can ‘transport’ more energy to your off-grid house.

        • solarguy 5 years ago

          Mike, If you can oversize PV that wont be such a problem getting through nasty days. As things currently stand my PV system produces up to 30kwh more than I use, depending on the day and appliances used.
          Have you had a look at the storage of say a Nissan Leaf and it’s range. Not much there to power a home as well, if you need that range in your travels every day.

          • Mike Dill 5 years ago

            While it is not here yet, the 200 mile EV is just a few years out. I do have charging at work, and in the future I expect to be able to ‘use’ a few miles topping up my home storage when necessary. The leaf is a decent battery platform for the price, and if the used prices continue to plummet I might leave one in the garage as semi-mobile storage.

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            Well half ya luck Mike. In my situation I won’t always be able to do that. I can travel 200km in a day doing site surveys, or installs and if need to do the same the next day, I will at times have problems, if I can’t find a quick charger and where I live they’ll be as rare as rocking horse shit.
            What I will need is an SUV that will have 300km battery range and small range extender ICE generator to get me out of the shit, because I’ll be buggered if I’m going to twiddle my thumbs for 2 or more hours while I get enough charge to get me home.
            The Leaf would be good for the ball & chain though, she only has to travel 5kms to get to work. We can’t afford at this stage to own 2 EV’s, unless we get a gov that’s serious about RE, then my business will p/up.

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            none of us can truly say where battery development will be in 10 years let alone 25 years. some claim the learnings curve is depressingly slow compared to PV development while others like me would point to major fundamental science and tech breakthroughs that haven’t even played into commercial battery tech yet (e.g. graphene super capacitors).

            I don’t think we should be basing our decisions about the grid on assumptions for an EV-energy-distribtion model. Let’s just open up the grid as much as technically (i.e. not politically) possible and see what happens. (like the internet went from an IP protocol to www to HTML/CSS/JS in a fairly remarkable progression)

          • Ian 5 years ago

            Really, what we want is a customer centred grid fully committed to renewables power generation, utilising all forms and levels of distributed generation, and storage. There is nothing wrong with poles and wires, they are very efficient at getting electricity from one point to another but currently we have an old style centralised fossil fuel power generation system and its owners will not budge from their ways., they use every trick known to man to maintain the status quo and that’s not good enough. This whole idea of going off grid is a protest, nothing more, nothing less. EV’s as transport for electricity and as backup storage is a definite possibility to achieve an effective protest, and may still have a place in the future environmentally responsible grid. To affect change to the electricity supply system there has to be cost effective alternatives – competition. Behind the meter solar is highly cost effective but is limited, it needs storage. I guess most of the discussion is about making behind the meter storage cost effective. The networks can smirk with today’s battery prices, but if they think this situation will last forever then, who knows, maybe they will be wrong. As others have said, battery prices are dropping ,but not as quickly as we would like. By the time battery stored solar becomes cheaper than grid power, then the fun will begin. Why would anyone bother to reconnect to the grid if their home system is safe, reliable and cheaper than the grid? How would the grid compete if their most cost effective offering is more expensive than the behind the meter system? The future energy system hinges on one thing – batteries. Place your bets people! Years to mass adoption of home battery storage and by extension EV. Here’s my bet. Three years.

            Can King Coal transition to a constitutional monarchy or must there be a revolution and then a solar Republic?

          • neroden 5 years ago

            You’re already producing 30 kwh/day in excess of usage?

            Oh for goodness sake! Save up the money and get three Tesla Powerwalls. You’re practically ready to go off the grid already!

            I see you occasionally have really long drives, so the current EVs are not suitable for you, but wait three years.

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            20kwh battery for $9,000, I don’t think so, I only wish they were that cheap. Your looking at, at least $14k and then there is the added cost of the panels to charge it, add another $5.5k minimum.
            And I did say up to 30kwh excess generation on a good day with low loads and that’s rare.
            A single Tesla power wall costs $12k, besides Tesla is all hype there is better out there and cheaper. Besides a Tesla can’t be used for off grid use, it needs the grid to operate.
            I’ll be spending a small fortune as it is, if I decide to ditch the grid, certainly can’t afford an extra $19k just to charge an EV.
            To go off grid requires specialized gear and as you can see isn’t cheap, plus a petrol genset is need as back up supply.
            For obvious reasons there won’t be mass defection from the grid.

      • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

        Your car will have enough energy to power your home for a week of substantial use. It will rarely be required to cove failure of the home system.Also in high density living it will be the energy manager of your home. The technology opportunities are endless.
        You will one dah drive past some poles and wires and see how stupid it would be in the emerging technologies.

        • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

          In higher density living we know for a fact that fewer people and households will own cars, and for those that do, the cars will not be parked in an onsite garage it will be in communal parking away from the residence. this system you propose seems to have the same problem Better Places and many great ideas have had, it assumes universal buy into the concept for it to work.

          • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

            I have to say that where I live the high density flat complexes have two cars per residence on average.
            In my personal case a car with 70 kwh charge could handle my power use for over a week. As it is my retailer is charging me eventually 50c a kwh for my electricity.
            Indeed in Canberra, there are so many cars. It was built for cars.
            In the future plans where CBD (eg melbourn)will be structured so that a million plus workers can all get to work within 30 minutes without using a car. The energy in the high density appartments will come from the CBD infrastructure which will connect to thd large scale wind and solar.
            Still, the car will contfibute
            In such systems and recharge and contribute to the energy management of the complex.

          • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

            Yes, I suspect city dwellers will want it all. Kids means cars are essential, thus the double garages even in dense areas. However, we dream of not needing it so much and insist on the right to plan and choose whether to own one, or not.

        • JeffJL 5 years ago

          So… Your car will stay at home 100% of the time.

          Seems a waste of the tyres.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Try it.

    • Ian 5 years ago

      What you are talking about is V2G, vehicle to grid, this is a concept Nissan and Deimler are exploring. In Germany it’s more about the integrating of EV storage into the grid. Charge here, discharge there, using the vehicle’s considerable battery size for grid arbitrage and other functions. Our needs are far simpler in Australia, we need to show the grid the middle finger. A small power shifting home battery for day to day use of solar energy at night and a big EV battery to take care of the standby storage needs when the weather is bad. While EVs are still expensive, a plug in hybrid like the Prius could potentially be used to serve the standby function: petrol 2 mains. ; ) off course a cheap petrol generator could do just as well for the occasional bout of bad weather, but a Prius feeding the home grid sounds much more entertaining.

      • JeffJL 5 years ago

        So you want a generator that runs at about 20% efficiency to provide the home grid? Not the best of environmental choices.

        • Ian 5 years ago

          You didn’t see my emoticon 😉 , battery storage is very expensive, to have enough for day to day time shifting of solar power does not require much- a tesla powerwall would probably do the trick. To have enough storage for days on end cloudy weather is the real problem. 5 days of cloud is not unusual, this simplistically would require 5 times the storage as required for overnight power shifting. A small petrol generator is cheap as chips, and petrol is just as cheap. The number of prolonged cloudy periods is probably not high so even though petrol is a fossil fuel and a generator is not so efficient, it would not be used very often.As an interim measure, a small mount of FF usage can buy a lot of solar. Ideally, a grid connection for the standby function would be best but the grid operators want to supply all a households needs or none at all.

          • JeffJL 5 years ago

            No I didn’t.

            Power, water and sewerage needs to be treated as essential services, for the benefit of the community not for profit. All pay, all benefit.

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      are you saying no wires to the home? then how does the your car manage inter-home energy flows? amped up WiFi al la Nikola Tesla?

      • Ian 5 years ago

        Good point, how would neighbours share electricity? The EV as a link to the wider grid is an informal arrangement. A power cable over the fence is another informal connection. A suburb minigrid would be more permanent and interconnected. Interesting idea, some sort of short range but powerful WiFi, but would such a fancy connection between neighbours be necessary? could not some sort of daisy chain,linking one neighbour with the next, provide a neighbourhood minigrid or a more conventional hub and spoke with smart meters allow neighbour power sharing?

  7. solarguy 5 years ago

    One day I want to buy an EV or one with a range extending ICE. If I stay on grid I can charge at night from home. If I go off grid I can only charge from my own PV during the day, which means a bigger array. If I can’t charge during the day because I’m not there I’ll have to charge from a commercial outlet, that’s bloody inconvenient. So I had better make sure I buy an EV with a range extender, because I won’t pay and can’t afford an extra 20kwh of battery storage.
    Damn these people! Might just go off grid anyway bugger it. The way these greedy SOB’s are, they deserve to lose customers. Oh and they will be increasing power prices again in July! Oh joy!

    • Mike Dill 5 years ago

      Convince your work location to put in a electric vehicle charging station. Even if you are paying a higher tariff there, it does work. Electrons do cost less than petrol. Oh, and if necessary, bring some of those electrons home (V2G) when the sun does not shine so much.

      • solarguy 5 years ago

        Well, Mike I will convince myself as my office is at home, sometimes I’m here sometimes not. And yes electrons are cheaper than petrol true, especially from own PV.

    • neroden 5 years ago

      Battery storage keeps getting cheaper. An extra 20 kwh is about $9000 now. It’ll probably drop.

  8. Maurice Oldis 5 years ago

    The regulator-a pawn of the fossil fueled incumbents ,is really helping that death spiral to warm up.All this game playing leads to one conclusion-get off the grid!!!

    • solarguy 5 years ago

      The grid will work fine if these greedy bastards just work out how to play the new game and realize the good days are over. But hell you know I’m thinking of jumping ship too mate!

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      WA shadow energy spokesman asserted the other day that the advent of EVs means no death spiral will occur. “Nobody is talking about the death spiral anymore… that’s gone now”

      And that the EoI/bid from a foreign corporate entity in the WA state owned network (but not for much longer) Western Power proves his point.

      • neroden 5 years ago

        Death spiral still going. I can charge my EV off solar power perfectly easily…

  9. john 5 years ago

    While the QCA looks at the over all price of power and feedback by small energy producers I think some aspects need to be looked into.
    Especially because this does not look at the delivery of power to the whole state.
    In the Brisbane area it may be true that paying them 6 to 8 Cents a KwH is high I am afraid for the rest of the state this is way below the cost of delivery with for instance a 30% loss of transmission it is a no brainer that it is cheaper for the company to pay people to augment their usage.
    I am afraid this is not exactly a good study to look at the actual cost of delivery of power to remote areas and it is beneficial to every Queenslander if we can reduce the $432 Million subsidy to deliver that power perhaps we need to look at this aspect.

  10. john 5 years ago

    I am having huge problems posting due to using a poor communication system my apologies

  11. MaxG 5 years ago

    I recorded the electricity prices for the last 20 years. They went up and up, in particular after ‘privatisation’… lots of whining going; this and that, bad this bad that… I simply learned and decided it is time to remove myself form this nonsense, and produce my own power, store it and use it… I have never been happier; I have freedom, and fulfil some of my green principles, and couldn’t give a toss about who is screwing who. It really has been liberating. And no, it was never about money… it is the principle of it, which has lead to cancel even more subscriptions; all that is left is rego, CTP, Internet, and land tax. No, neither water nor sewer bills. I do enjoy my freedom…
    At then end, each one has to make their own decision, on whether to keep whining or simply do something about it. I chose the later.

    • Mike Dill 5 years ago

      Totally agree with you Max. Going off-grid is still not economically cost-effective, but it is liberating, and does allow one to ignore some of the noise.

    • John 5 years ago

      They will get you soon enough, which is why I don’t want to invest to go off grid. They will soon realise more people are doing it, and the cost to stay on grid with the costs of poles and wires per person going up will be unaffordable, they will change the billing strategy. It is only a matter of time that mandatory council charges to have power run down your street (not even to your home) will be charged in your rates rather than your electricity bill, this also means they get money for vacant homes with no one being billed for usage or even if it is disconnected! You may be lucky enough to live in an area that doesn’t have power in the street and therefore you wont have to pay – though these are very few and far between, they will find better ways to get their pound of flesh out of us all.

      • neroden 5 years ago

        No. People won’t tolerate that. Once enough people have gone off the grid, no local council will be willing to raise rates to subsidize the tiny fraction of people who remain on the grid. It’s important that *lots* of people go off the grid.

      • MaxG 5 years ago

        I am not in the IF business… customer rip off continued, I did not wait for something to change, but made my choice, and will retain my freedom, until such time things change. If, what you suspect will happen, I will be the first to go against it… and I am sure, many will follow.

      • Alastair Leith 4 years ago

        “It is only a matter of time that mandatory council charges to have power run down your street (not even to your home) will be charged in your rates rather than your electricity bill, this also means they get money for vacant homes with no one being billed for usage or even if it is disconnected! ”
        where did you get this? Municipal Councils and energy retailers cutting a deal, hardly think that’s likely. More likely community owned network buy-backs.

  12. MaxG 5 years ago

    to add… from what I am seeing over the past years (or rather decades), the public has no advocate in government. It is all about retaining and increasing profits, no matter what means and cost. The system is being abused by lobbyists, across the board, and anything (any monopoly) that used to be in public hands.
    The four pillar system of democracy has been demolished, the corporations bought the press (=no free/independent press), biased the governments to their interests, and the public is being screwed. This is a “no win” situation.

    • solarguy 5 years ago

      Sadly, Max I believe that’s true myself, more like a dictatorship.

  13. Ian 5 years ago

    I might invite criticism here, but the actual c/KWH of the FiT is not worth the fight. This is just short sighted bickering which should be left to the incumbants to slaver over. They are concerned about their quarterly earnings above any forward planning. What we need is to use the c/KWH FiT as a bargaining tool to get other concessions from the grid. These could be unrestricted access to grid feed in. There should be no ceiling on the amount of electricity that can be fed into the grid, there should be no time limitation as to when energy is fed into the grid. The fixed connection fees should be scrapped. A serious attempt at energy trading rules P2P over the grid should be negotiated. Others might like to add other sorts of concessions.

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      would be really interesting to see a community group set up to lobby for community representation in decision making about the grid. it’s our grid but they use it like a leash around our necks rather than the P2P service it could become. we all now what P2P does to 1-to-many business models. #disruption to use that much coined word.

  14. uncle tungsten 5 years ago

    The QPC has once again demonstrated the savings that can accrue to governments by its abolition. This Commission is led by the willfully blind generating nonsense for its elite network of mates.

    It seems to me that it is imperative to make a subsidy to the planet we live on by resuscitating its atmospheric integrity. For the duration of the industrial era we have been heartily subsidised by the planet and we have successfully degraded the supply side by population growth and consumption of natural capital.

    That the QPC fails to grasp that simple element of the equation is indicative of its abysmal ignorance. Shut it down and spend the savings on solar subsidies or shall we call that invest in sustainability and global environmental debt repayments.

    • Dispassionate 5 years ago

      Have you read the report Greenmail? Just asking not judging.

  15. Giles Parkinson 4 years ago


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