Solar’s Future Is Bright In Oz

The Commonwealth of Australia’s current population is estimated to be 24.93 million people. In 2017, the power plants used fossil fuels (84.9%) and renewable energy (15.1%) to generate electricity in the country. The primary source of fossil fuel was coal and the primary sources of renewable energy were hydropower and wind.

Although Australia is still heavily dependent on coal for power, the country is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission. The Australian government has established a renewable energy target (RET) of generating 23.5% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

Australia’s rapid move to renewable energy is occurring with the development of new, utility scale renewable projects and installation of residential solar systems. Currently, 20.3% of Australian households have installed solar systems. The Australian Clean Energy Council estimates that residential solar systems have a total estimated capacity of 7,900 MW.

The rapid growth in residential solar systems has been driven by high electricity prices across the country. The state of South Australia achieved the dubious honor of having the highest electricity prices in the world. The financial advantages of roof top solar are overwhelming when electricity costs consumer U.S. 40 ¢ per kWh. By comparison, the average cost of electricity in the United States is U.S. 12 ¢ per kWh.

Australia is trying to make a concerted effort to move away from coal as a fuel to generate electricity in the country. However, the path the state and federal government has taken has created a financial burden on the citizens of the country with high electricity prices. In my opinion, Australia is an excellent case history on the disadvantages of cap-and-trade and carbon tax policies.

2 thoughts on “Solar’s Future Is Bright In Oz”

  1. Not the fault of cap and trade or carbon tax policies as we have none of these Jack .

    Primary reason for high cost of electricity is because there isn’t any federal policy that industry can invest safely on and so it’s a dogs breakfast where industry have been able to gain the system .
    Coal plants shut down and insufficient new generation in the market means price gouging by the remaining generators .
    High gas prices also deter investment .

    Bottom line is that power network costs are regulated and encourage gold plating and have resu
    Ted in substantial cost to consumers . Ie 60 % of the retail cost of electricity .
    The remaining cost which is the cost of generation is subject to market forces where the market signals from government encourage price gouging .

    1. Phil, Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments on “Solar’s Future Is Bright In Oz.” When I lived in Perth from 2007 to 2011, the Rudd government brought in a series of cap-and-trade programs. The new program allowed the Queensland utility to re-activate two coal fueled power plants. The old plants coupled with the brown coal resulted in horrendous greenhouse gas emissions. The two plants gained recognition as being the worst two polluting power plants in the world, pass even China’s collection of greenhouse gas belching monster power plants.

      Once the cap-and-trade program was modified the utility closed the plants and passed the costs to the consumers. I suspect you will find that there are carbon taxes placed on refineries, gasoline stations, power plants, etc. although the wording may read exactly as a carbon tax.

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