Power sur­vey re­sults shown

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

Con­sci­en­tious res­i­dents have skewed the re­sults of a re­cent sur­vey into en­ergy-con­sump­tion habits across the shire, which has also high­lighted the re­gion’s over­re­liance on wood heaters.

The En­er­gise Mar­garet River sur­vey, re­cently con­cluded by the Au­gusta-Mar­garet River Clean Com­mu­nity En­ergy and Tran­si­tion Mar­garet River, was strongly sup­ported by older res­i­dents, and 80 per cent of re­spon­dents were home­own­ers or look­ing to buy.

Only four of the 163 sub­mis­sions were from un­der-30s, with two-per­son house­holds about 40 per cent of re­spon­dents.

Al­though the sur­vey was dis­trib­uted wide, “the re­sults are skewed to­wards peo­ple who al­ready have some in­ter­est and in­for­ma­tion,” the re­port noted.

“They tend to be peo­ple who own their own home, have be­low-av­er­age power use, and above-av­er­age own­er­ship of so­lar pan­els and so­lar hot-wa­ter sys­tems,” it said.

The sur­vey found re­spon­dents used “con­sid­er­ably less en­ergy than the av­er­age con­sump­tion bench­mark”.

AMRCCE chair­woman Lyn Ser­venty said the wood heat­ing statis­tics were note­wor­thy among en­ergy uses sur­veyed, de­spite high own­er­ship of so­lar power ar­rays.

“This prob­a­bly re­flects the older age group of re­spon­dents, but in it­self sug­gests that this is a high emis­sions fac­tor that is dif­fi­cult to deal with, but in the fu­ture will prob­a­bly de­crease with change,” she said.

The sur­vey found more than 74 per cent of re­spon­dents used wood fires for heat­ing, while less than 10 per cent used gas.

Many peo­ple said they’d pre­fer so­lar power but start-up costs and con­fu­sion around State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­bates stymied up­take.

Forty-one per cent said they wouldn’t buy so­lar ar­rays for those rea­sons, but a third had them al­ready, with rates well above the re­gion’s 17.5 per cent up­take.

“It is in­ter­est­ing that un­cer­tainty about tech­nol­ogy or cost-ben­e­fit is a bar­rier to up­take of re­new­ables,” the re­port said.

An ex­hi­bi­tion at Fair Har­vest was planned with fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, re­spond­ing to feed­back gath­ered dur­ing the sur­vey, which noted home en­ergy au­dits were pop­u­lar with those sur­veyed de­spite 67.3 per cent of re­spon­dents say­ing they did not need fur­ther help to re­duce elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion.

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