Saturday, December 10, 2011
Solar adds Billions to Power Bills
The solar panel party is almost over as people are finally doing calculations that have been obvious to this writer and other skeptics and finding that paying ten times the real cost for energy is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately when the music stops those with solar panels will still be ripping off their neighbours that don't have them. The Australian says that the Federal solar scheme will cost 4.7 billion by 2020 and that is a minor cost compared to the billions more in feed-in tariffs state governments impose that electricity users pay.
The prediction is contained in advice to the nation's energy ministers, which also forecasts rises in residential electricity prices of about 37 per cent in the three years to 2013-14, with an average annual hike of 11 per cent.
The predicted rise shows prices may increase faster than previously expected, with predictions in July suggesting the three-year rise was expected to be in the order of 30 per cent.
The advice also shows that the carbon tax is likely to hit electricity prices hardest in Queensland and NSW, where power prices are tipped to rise by 42 per cent over the next three years - compared with a 32 per cent rise without a carbon price.
This is broadly in line with Treasury modelling, which suggests that the carbon tax will add about 10 per cent to power prices from 2013-17.
Queensland, NSW and the ACT faced the highest predicted price rises over the next three years, at 42 per cent.
They are followed by South Australia, with a predicted rise of 36 per cent; Victoria (33 per cent), Western Australia (30 per cent), Tasmania (25 per cent); and the Northern Territory (16 per cent).
The reports, by the Australian Energy Market Commission, were released by the Ministerial Standing Council on Energy and Resources.
After the meeting, federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into aspects of electricity network regulation.
Mr Ferguson said that significant investment was required in electricity networks to replace and upgrade ageing assets, to meet growing levels of demand and facilitate a transition towards clean-energy technologies.
"Critical to delivering our energy needs is ensuring that our network regulatory frameworks are delivering efficient and reliable outcomes for consumers," Mr Ferguson said.
But the energy network businesses hit back, saying network prices had to rise to ensure safe electricity supplies to consumers and because the costs of raising funds offshore was increasing.
The AEMC reports found that on top of the $4.7 billion from small-scale renewable projects, energy consumers would also pay for the costs of state-based feed-in tariffs for households for injecting power back into the grid over the life of systems that have already been installed.