Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
Affordable home energy storage coupled with solar offers amazing potential. But if solar retailers really want to help their customers lower their power bills there's a few other options they should consider first.
Renewable energy certificates are now hitting record peaks. Solar rebate certificates or STCs are hitting the price cap and large-scale certificates or LGCs are now well and truly out of the doldrums lodged above $50.
By cherry picking data utilities are suggesting that unless solar reduces the amount of capacity of the transformer in your street, then it makes no difference to the billions of dollars in network assets sitting upstream. It's time for an audit of their books.
In the world of clean energy this past week - Canada's Alberta will be doubling its carbon price to $30/tonne, renewables to grab two thirds of new power investment globally, a Republican Senator praised Obama for acting on climate change and things looking up for renewables in Australia.
The energy regulator showed that SA Networks tried to pull the wool over others' eyes with its selective use of customer demand data. Networks are on the verge of making some changes to tariffs with far bigger impacts than the carbon price. Yet we lack the data to ensure such changes are in the community's interests.
New research by our grid operator suggests minimal market for home energy storage or electric vehicles, but not because batteries will be too expensive but rather because they think solar will get more and more expensive.
Energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport would bring Australia’s emissions back to 2005 levels by 2030. Then switching to renewables in the electricity sector, and powering more sectors with that green energy, plus some land use changes and a switch to biofuel and gas in some areas, would finish the job.
The regulator's decision to reject South Australia's punitive solar network tariff is a welcome first. But multiple network businesses nationwide still have discriminatory tariffs for solar households.
Despite the vast strides renewables are making on competitiveness, they are still only cheaper than new-build coal and not already-established plants. More policy reform is needed to avoid global electricity emissions soaring.
You hear some wild things said against solar, wind and energy efficiency. Among my list of favourite such furphies is that grids can only handle 5% renewables, the developing world will reach Western per capita consumption and merit-order makes solar worthless.