The promise of a fairer price for the electricity exports of Victorian solar households hangs in the balance, with reports that the state opposition is threatening to block legislation to increase the minimum feed-in tariff to reflect the true value of solar to the grid.
Legislation to amend the state’s solar tariff was introduced to Victorian Parliament on Wednesday, based on the findings of an Essential Services Commission report that concluded the current FiT design did not adequately reward the value of distributed energy generation on a number of levels.
In what amounted to a small, but not insignificant win for the state’s solar households, the ESC report, recommended the tariff be adjusted to factor in time of export, location of generator, and avoided greenhouse gas emissions – a finding it had flagged in its draft report, published in May.
The Andrews Labor government took up the recommendations, and debate on the legislation was underway in parliament on Wednesday.
But unconfirmed reports have suggested the state Opposition is trying to block these changes. (At the time of publication, the Vic Parliament website said debate on the bill had been suspended at 11.57am, to be resumed after lunch, at 2pm.)
— David Southwick (@SouthwickMP) November 23, 2016
The Coalition’s spokesman for energy and innovation, David Southwick, tweeted twice on Wednesday saying “shame on you” for putting prices up for all Victorians.
“The Victorian government should be applauded for firstly undertaking this rigorous analysis of the ‘true’ value of rooftop solar and now acting to ensure this value is promptly, and properly, realised,” said Solar Citizens national director Claire O’Rourke.
“Reports that the Victorian Opposition is trying to block legislation to increase the minimum fair price for solar are unfortunate and if true, display a profound lack of understanding about energy markets and electricity prices,” she said.
“If the Victorian Liberal Party want to see the market operate as it should, fairly, and on a level playing field basis then they would support this legislation.
“Household rooftop solar offers incredible benefits to our electricity grid – providing cheaper, cleaner, more efficient energy during times when demand – and costs – are greater.
“Coupled with battery storage, rooftop solar also has the potential to provide a more robust, decentralised electricity supply. Until now, these values have not been realised,” O’Rourke said.
Whatever happens, we should know by close of business on Thursday, when debate on this bill must be completed.