Canberrans Warm to New Solar Energy Law
The new Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Bill 2008, empowers the Canberrans to generate their own electricity, and the beauty of this bill is they can sell back the excess electricity to the power grid and get paid for it! They will be paid a tariff 3.88 times the retail cost of electricity for 20 years from the date they agreed upon to join the scheme. The government wants to create awareness regarding clean energy and they are using “feed-in tariff” as an incentive. This scheme can prove quite attractive to those who have settled in one place and own houses.
This type of feed-in tariff was first employed by USA in 1978 but it’s a German model. Feed-in tariff is used as an incentive to encourage the use of alternative energy. Due to the evil side effects of fossil fuels and changing climate it becomes compelling that citizens shift their focus from conventional sources of energy to non conventional sources of energy. Feed-in tariff was successfully implemented by Spain, Germany and Denmark. This kind of arrangement involves a fixed kind of payment to the residents who have installed solar panels for a long term; 20 years for Canberrans. Feed-in tariff can be instrumental in changing the mindset of the people and making the environment non-polluting.
Politicians too are quite assured of this measured success as Labor backbencher Mr. Gentleman feels that this tariff has met with success in other countries, ushered the society towards a social change and within the community people are motivated to take it up.
A spokeswoman from Chief Minister John Stanhope’s office confirms the tariff is the highest in the country, ahead of South Australia which also has legislated feed-in laws.
What the residents think of this bill? Executive director of Canberra community group Sea Change Vanessa Morris is optimistic. She already has a solar hot water system and is willing to upgrade some panels to her roof to reap the harvest of the tariff when it comes into effect next year. She says, ”The subject of solar power is immensely popular in Canberra. People are really excited by it.”
The group held a public gathering to weigh Canberra’s interest in solar energy. About 200 people attended the meeting and the group is trying to use its strength in numbers to get a supplier to sell its solar systems as cheaply as possible. It settled a deal with Armada Solar and about 53 people have signed on to buy solar panels. ”So many have a vision of Canberra as the solar capital. We have the public inclination, we have the roofs and we have such a need to increase the amount of renewable energy uptake in Australia,” Ms Morris said.