Incumbent Industry to Wall Off Australian Solar, Storage, Shared Energy

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 4, 2016

Andrew Vesey, chief executive of AGL Energy, last month has frankly admitted that the regulations in the energy industry were not designed to protect consumers but to protect the investors as stated in an article on Cleantechnica.

Consumer groups last week have cried foul on another ruling by the main policy maker in Australia’s energy markets, calling it as yet another hurdle to a transition to a clean, affordable grid and the specific shift to locally generated solar, battery storage and shared energy.

The Australian Energy Markets Commission announced last Thursday that it would reject a proposed rule change that would give credit to customers using less of the power grid because they would share and store more of their locally generated electricity. Advocates of local generation network credits, which provide value generation produced locally, stated the initiative have saved $1 billion or more in avoiding network costs.

The AEMC decision, if implemented, will likely throw a big spanner in the ability of community groups, property developers, councils and townships to share energy that they generate on one of their buildings. In effect, it protects the influence of the energy incumbents.

Advocates of the rule change that includes numerous councils, including Sydney, Byron may and others were incriminating their criticism of the AEMC and the modelling it produced that claim the new rule would add cost to consumers, not remove them. According to Jay Rutovitz of the Institute of Sustainable Futures, he said that the modelling and the decision as laughable.

Rutovitz said that AEMC-commissioned modelling was distorted by a number of factors that includes the existing systems.

Cosponsor of the rule change, Mark Byrne from the Total Environment Centre was also incriminating, saying the ruling would cause consumers to reduce their use of the grid, to look at private wires and micro grids and the possibility to disconnect. More efforts to encourage demand response were rejected last month, because, again, the AEMC decided that the current rules were just fine.

Many believe that the fact the AEMC was able to justify such decisions is because of the National Electricity Objective, that made no mentions of any environmental outcome in any decision on the national electricity grid. The inclusion of an environmental objective has been contested for years, but has been resisted by the incumbent industry, the regulators and the rule makers because of the obvious threat to one of the most highly polluting and costly grids in the world.

Click here to read the full story on Cleantechnica

Featured Image Credit: Justin Elliott

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