Saturday, 3 July 2010

Green-power households would cash in under proposed renewable energy laws

A scheme which would see WA households and businesses paid for any renewable energy they generate - plus a small profit - has been introduced into Parliament.

The Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Bill, a gross feed-in tariff scheme, was introduced by Greens MLC Robin Chapple in the Legislative Council this morning.

It would oblige transmission companies Western Power or Horizon Power to pay generators, including households, the cost of production, plus a rate of return yet to be worked out - but likely to be around the long-term bond rate (about 6 per cent at present) - for 20 years.
Those costs would be passed on to retailers such as Synergy who would then pass them on to customers "if not offset by other savings", Mr Chapple told Parliament.

Savings could include renewable energy certificates - issued by the federal government - being surrendered by generators to power retailers to be sold on the open market.

The Bill drew on legislation from Germany, Denmark and Spain, which were recognised as world leaders in feed-in tariffs, and could easily be adopted by other Australian states.

Payments would be stopped after 20 years by which time it was expected renewable energy would be cost-effective.

The scheme could encourage more than $4 billion in renewable energy investment in the next 10 years, Mr Chapple claimed.

"(It's) a simple robust cost-effective mechanism to support renewable energy development in WA," he said.

Unlike the federal government's scheme, which heavily favoured large wind energy projects over other forms of renewable energy, the WA scheme would be democratic.

The state government announced a net feed-in tarriff scheme in last month's budget.

With a net scheme, only excess power above that required by a household is paid for, while with a gross scheme all power generated is paid for, with the homeowner still required to pay their full power bill.

The government's $23 million scheme, which would see households paid up to 47 cents a kilowatt-hour, was "piecemeal window dressing", Mr Chapple said.

Environmental groups criticised the net scheme as few households would ever generate more energy than they needed to take advantage of it.

full article


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