Originally published on RenewEconomy
By Emma Fitzpatrick
Research just released shows that the Australian solar industry is growing quickly and pushing down electricity prices.
The 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.