Australian solar tariff roll-backs bring higher bills
Consumer advocates have warned that thousands of Australians will be hit with higher electricity bills as generous solar feed-in tariffs are scaled back in the coming months.
A new report by Solar Citizens has shown that households in New South Wales will be the hardest hit, with 146,000 affected. In total, more than 275,000 households across Australia will be faced with bills of around AU $1,500 when the tariffs are unwound from September to January.
The tariffs — which offer money to homeowners who feed their solar energy back into the grid — were introduced for a fixed period to try and encourage the installation of rooftop panels.
In NSW, the tariff will be reduced from 60 cents for all solar generation to 5.5-7.2 cents per kilowatt hour. South Australia’s 16 cent tariff will fall to 6.8 cents, while Victoria’s 25 cent tariff will be reduced to five cents.
Damien Moyse from the Alternative Technology Association told ABC that people with the most substantial feed-in tariffs purchased their solar panels when they were more expensive than they currently are.
"Even for the NSW people with relatively small solar PV, you're talking in the order of about $1,000 loss per year in income. People with larger solar PV systems, the impact will be possibly within the order of $2,000 to $4,000 a year because the feed-in tariff was a much stronger scheme than in Victoria and South Australia."
The Solar Citizens report urges householders to consider switching their gas appliances to electric and have ‘smart meters’ installed to help mitigate their higher electricity bills.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.