Power to the people
VOICES FOR THE EARTH
LATE last year Renew Economy’s Giles Parkinson pointed out that an increasing number of businesses as well as individuals are turning to renewables to cut their power bills.
UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta plans to build a one-gigawatt power system consisting of large-scale solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management for the Whyalla steelworks and other big energy-users in South Australia. He expects this to reduce his company’s energy bills by about 40 per cent.
Other business examples are Nectar Farms’ investment of $750 million in wind and battery storage for a new glass house and energy park near Stawell (Victoria) and Zinc Metals, a North Queensland zinc refiner, which is turning to solar to cut its power bills.
Parkinson points out that while the cost of solar has fallen by 90 per cent in the last five years and the cost of battery storage is also dropping, the cost of grid power has more than doubled.
He claims this price increase has “little to do with the cost of technologies or the cost of service”.
“It’s more about the greed of the incumbents, the monopoly that own the networks, and the oligopolies that control the wholesale markets and dominate the retail scene, and the totally inadequate supervision by the regulators,” he said.
“Amid all this, and with the opportunities that abound in Australia with its resources in solar, wind, know-how and smart software, and the opportunity for a major reduction in emissions, what does the consumer get from the politicians and some of the principal regulators?”
Parkinson claims the consumer gets “complete and utter nonsense” from both politicians and regulators.
He refers to the Coalition’s war against renewables which “is based on wild myths, ignorance and prejudice”.
The regulators for their part have allowed the National Energy Market to be “rorted, gamed, manipulated, abused and priced to the point of absurdity, where businesses are now closing and low-income folk are going without food or other necessary items – and those who can are investing in their own solar power and storage.”
— Leonie Blain, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition