What is the "Clean Energy Council?"
The Clean Energy Council is the peak body representing Australia’s clean energy sector. It is an industry association made up of more than 580 member companies operating in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The CEC’s members are involved in the development or deployment of clean energy technologies such as bioenergy, cogeneration, energy efficiency, geothermal, hydro, solar, solar hot water, marine energy and wind.
The CEC is an incorporated not-for-profit association which is based in Melbourne and operates nationally. It is funded principally by membership fees, with additional income generated by events and activities such as industry accreditation programs.
The Cost of Electricity
There is much misinformation about rising energy costs in recent years and the price on carbon. Much space in the debate has been filled by hidden agendas much to the disappointment of those involved in the renewable energy industry. It is important that when researching information that the source of information has authority, relevance and independence. When researching for data on electricity and carbon pricing we have sourced our data from two very reputable and independent sources. The Queensland Competition Authority and the Garnaut Climate Change Review.
Queensland Electricity prices were obtained from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) which is an independent Statutory Authority which provides independent, objective solutions and recommendations to the Queensland Government. More information on the QCA can be obtained from their website at http://www.qca.org.au.
Queensland electricity prices have increased by 64% since 2007 (as shown in Table 1) and show no signs of abating. According to the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland in their 2011 report "An Efficient, Productive and Sustainable Electricity Supply for Queensland"
Energy prices nationally are rising much faster than households’ incomes and the Consumer Price Index (CPI). They have risen 87.4% since 2000 compared to a CPI increase of 34.4%. It has been estimated that electricity prices Australia wide are likely to rise by more than 100% between 2008 and 2015.(This report was published without taking in to consideration the impact of the pending Carbon Tax.)
Electricity price increase relative to CPI in Australia’s 8 capital cities
Carbon Price and Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
From the 1st July 2012 every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e)* produced by liable entities has a price. The carbon price will be fixed for three years (from 1July 2012 to 30June 2015) at $23 / tonne (indexed annually by 2.5%). From 1st July 2015 the price for CO2-e emissions will be based on a floating market-based ETS , in which the Federal Government sets the emissions level cap and the market determines the price of carbon.
Liable companies will be required to buy a carbon permit from the Government in exchange for every tonne of CO2-e they produce.
Once the ETS commences the carbon price will be subject to a $15 floor price and a ceiling price of $20 above international carbon prices, with each rising 4% and 5% respectively. This effectively puts a minimum price on the price of a carbon permit.
Although the carbon price will only be paid by approximately the 500 largest emitters, these companies include electricity generators, who will pass on those increase costs to their consumers, business and households. So although not directly paying for their emissions, business and households will still pay as those costs are passed on.
If a business emits greater than 25,000 tonnes of CO2-e in a financial year (equivalent to an approximate energy use of 20MWh / annum**) they will be liable to pay the carbon price.
The four greenhouse gases that will attract the CO2-e price are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons (from aluminium smelting). Carbon dioxide equivalent means that for methane, which is approximately 21 times more damaging to greenhouse warming than carbon dioxide, to emit 1 tonne a business would need to purchase approximately 21 carbon credits
**(using an emissions factor of 0.8 kg CO2Oe / kWh)
The quite dramatic increases in electricity for two scenarios, the world limiting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million, the other 550 parts per million. Note that these prices rises are above and beyond those electricity price increases already occurring in Queensland, as outlined in previous section The Cost of Electricity.
Wholesale electricity prices 2005-50 (Source: The Garnaut Climate Change Review)
Capital improvement to your residential or commercial property.
A report commissioned by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that investigated the effect that energy efficiency ratings had on ACT house prices found that if the energy performance of a house improves by 1 star level (equivalent to a 1.5kW solar system), on average its market value will increase by around 3-5%.
Commercial energy users are not exempt from the rising cost of electricity and in turn the same benefits achieved by installing residential solar are scalable to benefit commercial customers.
In an investment perspective – both residential and commercial solar makes allot of sense.
The Solar Bonus Scheme is a feed-in tariff paid to residential and small business customers using less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year. Eligible customers are paid for the surplus electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that is exported into the Queensland grid after the household or business load is met.
for any excess electricity fed into the grid. It is legislated under the Electricity Act 1994 that the solar bonus of 44c/kWh will expire in 2028.
Reduce Energy Usage and Carbon Footprint
The average household’s energy use is responsible for over seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions can be significantly reduced through use of renewable energy, more efficient appliances and energy conservation measures.
Choosing the most appropriate energy source can significantly reduce your energy bills and improve the environmental performance of your home. A choice of energy sources is available to new home buyers, existing owners and tenants.
Queensland Sustainability Declaration
Since January, anyone who markets or offers a house, townhouse or unit for sale in Queensland must complete what’s called a ‘Sustainability Declaration’. It’s a mandatory checklist that the homeowner must complete before selling.