Clean Power

Published on August 1st, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


New Study: Solar Creating Jobs, Reducing Electricity Costs

August 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy
By Emma Fitzpatrick

Research just released shows that the Australian solar industry is growing quickly and pushing down electricity prices.

oz solarThe Australia Institute today released findings that solar is both creating jobs and pushing down electricity prices – contrary to the popular belief that renewable energy puts upward pressure on energy prices.

“Even the modelling commissioned by the Abbott Government’s inquiry into the Renewable Energy Target, chaired by Dick Warburton, found that renewable energy is holding down the cost of electricity” said Richard Denniss, executive director of The Australia Institute.

“The solar PV industry in Australia now employs more than 13,000 people, far more than the number of people employed by coal-fired power stations.”

The success of solar PV in creating jobs, energy, and lower electricity prices has driven the existing energy industry to seek protection from renewable energy through regulatory means.

“Despite the efforts of the Abbott Government and the fossil fuel industry the Australian energy market is undergoing rapid structural change,” which according to Denniss is primarily being driven by technological change, consumer preferences and rapid shifts in relative energy prices.

“Ten years ago gas-fired electricity was seen as a ‘transition fuel’ which would smooth the shift from coal-fired power to renewables.

“The rapid decline in the cost of renewable energy, combined with the expectation that the wholesale price of gas will double or treble when gas export facilities are completed, has fundamentally changed the underlying economics of the Australian energy system,” said Denniss.

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  • Mags

    This is all great news, and I am looking forward to the battery technology that is not far away, so we can get off grid altogether. However, don’t underestimate the battle ahead, this ignorant government, and the incumbent generators and utilities are not going to go down without a fight. They have way too much profit to lose.

    This is one of the biggest rorts of all time in Australia and the population as a whole have no idea they are being screwed.

  • Vensonata

    Australia, may turn out to be the shining leader in the solar revolution. Although the population is only 65% of the state of California, it punches above its weight in hours of sunshine per year and with delicious bumbling on the part of capitalist coal barons they managed to skyrocket the price of electricity…good thinking dudes! Now your average Bruce and Sheila can easily decide to go solar just counting on their fingers. g’day.

  • spec9

    Australia is a place where the dreaded Utility Death Spiral is actually hitting. The electric utilities spent so much on power plants and transmission lines that they raised prices really high. The high prices are causing people to install solar PV like crazy. Those solar PV buyers are quitting as paying customers for the utility . . . which causes them to want to raise prices more. Death spiral!

    • This is exactly right. Traditional energy (or power) supply is based on extracting the greatest amount of wealth for the fewest amount people, by locking in the most people as customers. This requires control and bigness. Bigness requires upfront investment and a locked in market to pay back that investment. Solar is killing that. Until of course Australia’s or any country’s natural resources exploiters can figure out how to build something big enough to block out the sun.

    • Larry

      Couldn’t happen to a better industry. I’m so looking forward to the day it happens here in the U.S.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Most importantly, Solar is creating local jobs into local economy. Centralized power plant -jobs may be hundreds or thousands of kilometers away. Of course there is the panel cost that is not producing jobs into local economy, but as panel cost is getting down, the significance of local jobs increases.

  • JamesWimberley

    Link missing! Here (requires free registration)
    Aussies seem hardier than Germans in keeping going on solar now that the signals from their governments have changed from green to orange. It is a much less deferential and conformist culture.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Before we go ascribing things to cultural differences I’ll point out that roof ownership might be a third higher in Australia then Germany and at equal installation prices Australia’s higher levels of sunshine make solar power about a third cheaper. But what appears to be roughly the same are retail electricity prices. And while an axe has been taken to feed in tariffs and our carbon price was slain on the day of stupid knives, the most important incentive to home solar ownership, the Renewable Energy Target is still currently intact. For a cheaper installation it lowers the cost by about a third. And Australians, on account of how they’re human beings, are kind of dumb and often look at the upfront cost rather than how much something will save or cost them over time.

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