One of the problems with the debate about energy policy is the failure to differentiate between small-scale renewables – very popular, people think they are saving money as well as being virtuous – and large-scale renewables.
Actually, the small-scale renewables are just a pest for the electricity system, offering small quantities of energy which are not necessarily connected with demand as well as providing no inertia to the grid.
But just to illustrate that people will smell a business opportunity when they see it, read below. It is reminiscent of what happened in Northern Ireland.
Solar bonus scheme crackdown on excess battery storage in Queensland parliament
The rules around how households with solar panels use and sell excess energy stored on batteries could be tightened, in a State Government crackdown to ensure taxpayers do not foot a $1 billion bill.
Proposed laws have been introduced to Parliament which will mean consumers on the Solar Bonus Scheme would no longer be able to feed energy into the grid while taking power from their battery.
Households would also be banned from “oversizing”, installing additional batteries that would enable them to supply energy to the premises as well as the grid, which they are paid for.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey wanted to encourage people to take up battery storage — but not at the expense of people who did not have solar.
“You can either use your solar PV [solar photovoltaic systems] to generate power for your property, or you can use the power coming from your battery.
“You can’t do both at the one time.”
“When the Solar Bonus Scheme was first established, new technologies like batteries were not a consideration.”
The scheme, which is not open to new applicants and ends in 2028, pays households for excess electricity generated and exported to the grid.
Currently one in three people in Queensland have solar and those who signed up early get a generous 44 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) for what is fed out.
If nothing is done, the cost of the scheme could rise by 25 per cent in 10 years, potentially increasing the total scheme cost from $4.1 billion to around $5.1 billion, Mr Bailey said.
There are only about 650 batteries in use across the state, but their popularity is expected to increase as they become more affordable.
The changes, if passed in Parliament, will apply from Wednesday, to ensure people on the solar bonus scheme do not increase their generation capacity before the laws are passed.
The state’s electricity distribution businesses will be in charge of policing the amendments.
The bill is due to be debated later this year.