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Solar panel users save everyone money: Don’t punish them

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 16 Jul 2013

Increasing the fixed costs of electricity because of the success of solar panels punishes people for saving WA taxpayers $100,000 per megawatt, the Greens warned today.

Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the Barnett Government had "lost the plot on electricity pricing".

"Western Australians have rightly been encouraged to take up solar panels. Now the State Government complains that as a result they're not able to squeeze as much money out of people as they'd prefer - so they'll increase the fixed cost for electricity supply. It's beyond belief."

In October last year at a Federal inquiry into electricity prices Senator Ludlam asked about the money saved Western Australians by the state's solar panel capacity.

"In late 2012 Western Australia had almost 77 megawatts of peak PV solar installed - since then it has gone up. Allan Dawson, CEO of an Independent Market Operator in WA, told the inquiry this capacity saved Western Australian taxpayers $100,000 a megawatt. In a balanced capacity market that would mean a saving of at least $7.7 million per year for the WA public. The people installing PV solar panels on their roofs are doing a great public service, yet the Barnett Government is penalising them - while also making a colossal mess of their ill-advised and obsolete plans for Muja coal-fired power station.

"Minister Nahan claims the increase in the fixed cost will be offset by a decrease in the cost of electricity consumption per unit. Given the Barnett Government's record on electricity price gouging I doubt that would last for long, but even if it did - it would mean the incentive to save electricity is reduced on one hand while those who are doing the right thing cop a bill increase on the other.

"Western Australia should be a world leader in solar power. The people of this State have the right idea, but the Government isn't just lagging behind - it's getting in the way.

"The Greens developed an engineering report - Energy 2029 - that shows how W.A. can power the entire South West grid on renewable energy, mostly solar thermal power. The technology exists, the popular support exists - we just need to see some vision and political will from all levels of government. What the Barnett Government is doing is a huge step in the wrong direction."


ENERGY 2029 -



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