The sneaky war against renewables in the bush

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If you live in a remote area of Victoria the government will subsidise your off-grid fuel needs … and not if you power your off-grid home with solar.

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One Step Off The Grid

If you live in a remote area of Victoria the government will subsidies your off-grid fuel needs …and help out their mates in the fossil fuel industry.

However they won’t help you out if you want to have an all electric home powered by solar and batteries. The question is why not?

It is a superior option, so why doesn’t it receive the same subsidy?

Off-grid concessions are available to people in certain circumstances such as pensioners and other concession holders. These concessions consist of subsidies for Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Firewood, cooking and heating oil and generator fuel (i.e. petrol or diesel).

What you will not receive a subsidy for, however, is the far superior option of living in a house where all the services are electric and your energy comes from batteries that are charged by either solar and/or micro hydro/wind.

So, in summary, if you are eligible for an off grid concession and you power you home with fossil fuels you will receive a 21%-48% discount on your fuel.

If you power your off-grid home with solar you will receive a discount of exactly 0%.

The Victorian government really needs to get its priorities right. They claim to be pro-renewable and serious about climate change and to be fair they have made some moves in the right direction. But when it comes to eliminating hidden subsidies for fossil fuels they have a very long way to go.

The reality is, the fossil fuel industry is massively subsidised around the world and the fossil fuel discount for off-grid concession holders is but one example, however it is an issue that should be easy to fix.

Solar and batteries are a superior option for remote household that are off grid, it should receive the same subsidy as fossil fuel options at the very least.

WE suggest that an upfront capital subsidy be offered equivalent to the warranted period of the battery and inverter.  A high quality product such as the Selectronic SP Pro offers 10 years of warranted operation. So therefore 10 years of fuel equivalent could be deemed upfront.

An offgrid generator customer may use 3000L of fuel at $1.50/L so they are effectively being offered a subsidy of around $1350 per year.

A system replacing most fuel use should then receive a 10 year upfront subsidy of $13,500 which would significantly reduce the cost of an entry level system which costs $30000+   In addition a low interest loan should be offered to help people in this off-grid scenario.

Pure Electric for all electric homes is a supplier of Off Grid solutions utilising high quality products with long warranties including the Australian Made (83% local content) SP Pro, LG Chem RESU and LG Chem Rackmount solutions.

Authors: Matthew Wright and Paul Szuster, Directors of Pure Electric.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

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5 Comments
  1. john 1 year ago

    Or well I suppose a subsidy for the fuel used in the backup generator could be claimed.
    Actually using diesel for the generator would be charged at the off road usage price anyhow regardless of what it is used for as long as not in a registered vehicle used on roads.
    It would be more cost effective to give a similar type of subsidy to RE Battery supply against pure Generator supply of Electricity.
    Especially if a once off payment is made, because it seems fuel is continuing to go up in price decade by decade.
    I would have thought considering the huge cost to build transmission lines and install transformers and the continual maintenance of both that assisting electricity supply to off grid situations a long way from present transmission lines would be a big saving.
    I do recall a 10 kilometer from HV lines, the cost difference was thousands of dollars using PV Batteries and a Gen Set backup.
    Because it was a station property the owner opted for the PV Battery and Gen Set instead of paying for the transmission line.

  2. Ian 1 year ago

    A little conflict of interest by the authors of this article, no? Anyway, the sentiment is probably correct. $30000 per off grid system may turn out to be a costly exercise for a state government to subsidise.

    Considering that a simple rooftop solar with a small battery and a standby diesel or petrol generator may take care of most the offgrid household’s needs. And at the same time reduce their FF usage considerably.

    • George Darroch 1 year ago

      They’re pretty upfront about their interest as directors of a solar company. This is the first I’ve heard of the issue, so kudos to them for bringing it to our attention.

      • Ian 1 year ago

        You are right about them bringing this issue to the fore, and getting these sorts of off-grid homesteads on to solar is a good thing.

        But $30 000 plus cost for each system seems a little extravagant , especially when you can go for a more modest storage capacity and use a diesel or petrol generator far less often, perhaps aiming for 80% fuel savings vs the 100% renewables option.

    • MaxG 1 year ago

      My system was more than that; and I would do it again… it pays itself in 15 years. The best thing about this investment was: no future cost for some 25 years to come. This is significant if ending up on a small pension.
      I wish people would understand that leases, rent and subscriptions are the menace to their lives, get rid of those and you will live happily ever after — I can attest to it.

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