Retailers to pocket carbon credits from customers’ rooftop solar

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Big retailers may be allowed to pocket carbon credits from rooftop solar systems paid for and installed by households.

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The big energy utilities that dominate Australia’s electricity markets may be able to “steal” the carbon credits from their customers’ rooftop solar arrays, under a proposal outlined under the revised National Energy Guarantee.

The suggestion is included – with little explanation – in the “high level” document that was distributed to state and territory energy ministers ahead of the COAG meeting in Melbourne this Friday.

The document says only:

“To ensure that the emissions reduction requirement remains technology neutral, all existing embedded generation and behind the meter consumption will be added to a retailer’s load but will also be automatically allotted to the relevant retailer for calculating their emissions.”

This has raised alarm bells, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, many households have paid for and installed their own rooftop solar systems because they feel their retailers have not done enough to reduce emissions.

They may be horrified to learn that their retailers will now be able to use the “zero emissions” power produced by their rooftop solar systems, and for some stored in a battery for use at night, to help meet the retailers’ weak emissions targets.

Secondly, the households will unlikely be paid for it. The feed-in-tariffs offered by the big utilities vary from state to state, and in some cases are derisory or non-existent.

Only one state, Victoria, calculates a “social cost of carbon” – of 2.5c/kWh, in its calculations of feed in tariffs, but its standard recommended tariff, despite this, is at the lower end of most states.

It seems that the very least the retailers could do – if they are now to benefit from the emissions free rooftop solar that many were unhappy their customers were installing – is to offer a payment to reflect that benefit.

“This proposal is outrageous. It is freeloading by the Federal Government and energy retailers at the expense of Mums and Dads,” said John Grimes, the CEO of the Smart Energy Council.
“Families and small businesses have invested and continue to invest their own money in solar and battery storage systems and the government is taking credit for those emissions.
“This is double-dipping. Emissions reductions from existing solar panels have already been factored into the Renewable Energy Target and will be counted again as emissions savings under the National Energy Guarantee.
“Details matter. This proposal cannot stand,” he said.
“It again demonstrates something is not better than nothing. We call on State and Territory Governments to reject the National Energy Guarantee on Friday.
“The Turnbull Government must commit to genuine emission reduction targets and to smart national energy policy.”
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  1. Ben Dixon 2 years ago

    Why am I not surprised

  2. Rod 2 years ago

    If the solar credits are of value to the retailer, wouldn’t it be advantageous to the retailer to increase their FiT to attract customers?
    And I still want to know how they are going to identify BTM consumption.

  3. Roger Franklin 2 years ago

    Well if any retailer wants my “Solar Carbon Credits”, pay for the connection fee along with any energy that is feed into the grid and they are yours! If not, I will remain a grid defector!

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Remain a grid defector. The smartest ting to do. In particular in light of the 23 days oil reserves AU has; wait what happens in Syria, and how badly it will impact AU.

  4. Joe 2 years ago

    The Energy Sharks want it all. They receive our clean, green home solar electricity exports and we paid for it to happen. Then they pay us bugger all for our exports. Now they want for ‘free’ our carbon credits. Who else could get away with this activity. Oh, no surprise that The COALition are up to more trickery with emissions targets with this ‘stealing’ of our carbon credits.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Neoliberalism pure… how the world is working for over 60 years now.

  5. Farmer Dave 2 years ago

    This issue, sometimes discussed as “additionality” is a major issue. It seems that the coalition’s plan is to ensure that Australia’s emissions reductions stay as low as possible. They are doing that by making sure that everyone else’s efforts – those of the states and individual households and businesses – are included in the reductions that they count towards their pathetic and irresponsible targets. This reminds me of Kevin Rudd’s CPRS after he had negotiated with the then Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull. That legislation established a minimum emissions reduction target, and a maximum emissions reduction target. In other words, the legislation tried to ensure that emissions were not reduced too much, an extraordinary thing to put in legislation. It seems that the urge to legislate to stop “excessive” reductions lives on in the coalition.

    It should go without saying that such an approach should be regarded as totally unacceptable. The argument “some agreement is better than no agreement” is simply a cynical ploy in my opinion, and obviously not true in this case. We have a climate emergency on our hands and legislating to limit how much we can respond to that emergency is simply not on.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      I agree with you. The trouble is: who cares?

      • Jo 2 years ago

        I do. That makes already three.

  6. John P 2 years ago

    Ten years ago when I set up my current ‘off grid’ power plant, I was able to sell my ‘carbon credits’ for hard cash. The process was a simple commercial exercise and didn’t involve any ‘third party’ entity. Oh, for the simple life!

  7. Hettie 2 years ago

    If the gentailers want customers to leave the grid in droves, this looks like a brilliant move.
    If, however, they recognize that they cannot sell their product to households and increasingly businesses that choose to leave the grid, they will think again about what makes a successful business model.
    They used to have a captive market. Now they don’t.
    It is very unwise to continue to behave as if their customers cannot escape.

  8. MaxG 2 years ago

    No need for an outcry; this is standard neoliberal business, going on for over 60 years now. Fleece the sheep; they mew… and keep voting for their executors 🙂

  9. MrMauricio 2 years ago

    This is despicable and could only come from the entrails of the LNP

  10. Peter Campbell 2 years ago

    I strenuously object to this attempt to undermine the efforts of every other entity, individuals to states, that are trying to do the right thing.

  11. Ian 2 years ago

    Slip one in under the belt, nice one. The question is are the COAG leaders going to let this through or can they use this to delay the NEG for proper analysis maybe to reconvene in a years time.

  12. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    It’s time to legislate to make big business put solar panels all over their roofs. Are you listening Harvey Norman, and the rest of you?

    1. 7-Eleven: $4.27 billion, 11.5% year-on-year revenue growth

    2. Peregrine Corporation: $2.11 billion, 13.1% growth

    3. Cotton On Group: $1.8 billion, 20% growth

    4. Peter Warren Automotive: $1.48 billion, 70.5% growth

    5. Spotlight Retail Group: $1.07 billion, 2.2% growth

    6. Suttons Motors: $1.05 billion, 4% growth

    7. Ritchies Supa IGA: $863 million, 0.8% growth

    8. BBQSAM: $803 million, 1.7% growth

    9. Patterson Cheney Group: $730 million, 3% growth

    10. Alto Group: $703 million, 16.8% growth

    11. Bakers Delight: $614 million, 2.4% growth

    12. Motorama: $503 million, 17.8% growth

    13. Rip Curl: $485 million, 1.7% growth

    14. John Hughes Group: $483 million, 1.7% growth

    15. Pickerings Auto: $476 million, 3.1% growth

    16. NGP Melbourne: $473 million, 9.7% growth

    17. Carpet Court: $466 million, 6.6% growth

    18. Grand Motors Group: $460 million, 11.9% growth

    19. Newspower Newsagents: $450 million, -22.4% growth

    20. Heartland Motors: $437 million, 7.4% growth

  13. solarguy 2 years ago

    This outrageous attempt of theft will not happen while I live and [email protected]%k’n breath. Anyone else like to stand with me!

  14. My_Oath 2 years ago

    Isn’t this what they deride as ‘rent-seeking’?

    It does one thing – makes more people want to cut the cable.

    It also demonstrates that a price on carbon is needed and Cap and Trade would have worked (as everyone with a brain and a modicum of knowledge of economic history already knew).

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