Saturday, 4 June 2011

Paid to pollute

Adelaide Advertiser
24 May 2011, Page: 19

ACCORDING to my reckoning, if you are a large electricity utility generating electricity from polluting fossil fuels, then you can legally and uncritically command anywhere up to $10 per kW. However, if you are an SA homeowner generating electricity from clean solar power, you are being outrageous if you expect to get 54 cents for the same amount of electricity (The Advertiser editorial, yesterday).

The real problem is that whereas electricity retailers pay up to $10 to the big polluters, they pay no more than 10 cents to the small clean producers, with the taxpayer forking out any difference between the Government's solar feed in tariff and the retailers contribution.

If retailers paid the solar generators the same price as fossil generators, this would have no impact on electricity prices because it would be simply replacing one generator by another without any difference in the unit cost of the electricity supplied. What is needed is a level playing field with solar electricity getting no more or less than fossil electricity. This would produce better competition and greater certainty for all concerned.

Dennis Matthews, Ironbank