Response to Auditor General’s Report on Renewables: Price Increases From Solar Feed-in Tariff Pale In Comparison To Infrastructure Costs

Today, the Victorian Auditor General released a report evaluating the effectiveness of state government policies for increasing renewable energy generation. The report estimates that achieving the solar energy target by 2020 would cost $2.4 to $3.4 billion and increase average household electricity bills by $23 to $47 each year.

While the Auditor General’s numbers are reasonable, they paint an overly pessimistic picture without proper context:

‘The electricity price increases identified by the Auditor General represents a 1.3 to 2.7 per cent increase of the typical residential electricity bill in Victoria. This is equivalent of around 0.5 cents per kW increase, with residential users typically paying 20 cents per kW,’ says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions.

‘In comparison, transmission and distribution costs are expected to add $80-$100 per annum by 2020 according to a recent Clean Energy Council analysis.’

Beyond Zero Emissions reminds political leaders that renewable energy projects present economic opportunities and electricity price impacts should be considered in this context.

‘Northwest Victoria has excellent potential to be a hub for baseload solar thermal power in Australia. The state that develops this game-changing technology first will reap economic benefits for years to come. Large-scale solar means jobs in manufacturing, construction and engineering.’

Beyond Zero Emission’s support the AG’s conclusion that the Victorian government’s efforts to increase renewable energy deployment have been lacking.

‘It’s time the Bailleu government ramps up incentives for large-scale solar thermal projects in Victoria. Increasing the state’s renewable energy capacity is central to meeting Victoria’s carbon emissions reduction targets, and will play an important role in mitigation on a national level’,  Mr Wright concluded.