How The Election Result Impacts Solar
Hit by extended droughts, damaging floods, and more bushfires, Australian voters had been expected to hand a mandate to the Labor party to pursue its targets for renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.
However, they rejected the opposition’s plans for tax reform and climate action, re-electing a Liberal-led coalition headed by Scott Morrison.
How does the Coalition plan to address climate change?
As for addressing climate change going forward – The Coalition’s central emissions reduction policy is the $3.5-billion climate solutions package to be spent over 15 years.
This is what the package includes:
A $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund: a rebranded Emissions Reduction Fund that will directly purchase emission reductions
Constructing Snowy 2.0, a large hydro renewable power station acting as a giant battery and backing up intermittent energy produced by wind and solar
Backing a second interconnector, to bring renewable power from Tasmania to the mainland.
Emission Reduction Goals
The Coalition’s goal is to reduce Australia’s emissions by 26% by 2030. Their package does not include any plan to increase renewables beyond the current 23.5%. (Compare policies)
In comparison, Labor released a Climate Change Action Plan that leads with a renewable energy target of 50% electricity generation by 2030, household rebates for solar batteries and investment in energy efficiency.
Compared to the Coalition’s goal to reduce emissions by 26% by 2030, Labor’s climate target would have committed Australia to emission reductions of 45% on 2005 levels by 2030 and to reach zero emissions by 2050.
A few weeks before the election, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) released a scorecard, assessing Australia’s major parties on 50 key policies across four main areas: renewables investment, coal phase out, stopping Adani’s coal mine and protecting the natural environment.
The Coalition scored only 4 points in comparison to 56 points for Labor.
Keeping this score in mind, let’s have a look at the Coalition’s Climate Solutions Package. Both, the Climate Solution Fund as well as the interconnector are initiatives that aim to force energy prices down and make power more reliable. This sounds great at first.
However, the Coalition aims to reduce energy prices with an emphasis on traditional power sources. They support the Adani Carmichael coal mine as well as new coal generation projects. The Coalition is considering using taxpayer money to upgrade a NSW coal-fired power station. They also plan to invest in a so-called “high-efficiency, low-emissions” coal plant in north Queensland.
The Coalition’s aim to force energy prices down will be dependent on building new coal-fired power stations. This will lead to overall increases in greenhouse gas emissions which means taking a step backwards in terms of clean, renewable energy options.
So what does this mean for the future of rooftop solar in Australia?
The Future Of The Solar Rebate
Australia’s major solar power subsidy, the solar rebate, while being gradually phased out, can still reduce the cost of a new solar system by thousands. The rebate operates under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). Coalition MP Craig Kelly has been at the forefront to boost coal's image and see new coal-fired power stations built in Australia. Kelly wants the solar rebate gone.
Kelly hasn’t been alone in his plans for the solar rebate among Coalition MPs. Besides Kelly, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has repeated its earlier recommendation in their new report that Australia’s solar rebate should be prematurely ended.
Given its powerful opponents, and also the fact that it is reducing each year, it makes good sense for households to get solar installed whilst the solar rebate still exists!
One thing is for sure and that’s the unstoppable uptake of rooftop solar. Because householders and businesses across Australia, regardless of their political standpoint understand that solar makes sense. The Federal election result won’t change that.
If you want to learn more about the process of going solar, we have created a list with the four simple steps of a solar installation. Click here to read.