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But Finkel report provides blueprint for better future
For the past decade, Australian electricity consumers have endured continuous price increases, and this year hasn’t been any different with rises between 7% and 20%, depending on which state you’re in, resulting in obvious negative impacts on family budgets and business competitiveness.
These July energy price hikes have come off the back of the closure of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria in March, combined with a tripling of wholesale gas prices over the past three years. A perfect storm really, which has resulted in baseload wholesale electricity prices in effect doubling in NSW, Victoria and Queensland since this time last year – a crisis that could have been avoided with better planning and governance.
For instance, establishing a domestic gas reserve, which would have acted to insulate the price we pay for our gas from the price at the LNG export terminals (as in Western Australia), could have significantly reduced the cost currently required to power our homes and businesses. There is understandable frustration: a resource-rich nation such as Australia can and must do better. And, finally, someone has remembered the customer!
Voltio welcomes the Finkel report as the basis for a science-based, non-partisan path to guide Australia’s energy future – a scheme that truly begins to prioritise “rewarding consumers”. Estimates suggest that the scheme would save the average household $90 a year. The scheme calls for an absolute target for carbon emissions of 700kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per MWh (megawatt-hour) of electricity generated, which is an achievable goal that is meaningful in terms of Australia’s international climate change commitments.
Currently, Australia ranks poorly compared with other nations, with electricity generation producing, on average, about twice the CO2 target level. In comparison, solar power produces zero CO2 emissions and is now considerably cheaper than retail energy prices for most homes and businesses.
For too long, reasoned debate and sensible policy formulation have been hampered – not only in Australia – by the size and complexity of the issues and selective use of statistics by vested interests on both sides. The Finkel report offers a blueprint to take the first steps to a better energy future.