We think the Government should stop supporting ANY specific energy technology, leaving the market to truly compete without incentives or subsidies. We also can't wait to get back on the radio and finish the chat!
Read the transcript below:
HH: I love hearing about the energy discussion. I work in solar power, my company is Smart Commercial Solar, we sell to businesses and something that is always missed is that, just like you were talking about the circuses, the energy industry is going through an evolution.
MM: Oh Yep
HH: And what’s actually happening is that its turning from…really it’s only 150 years old in Australia’s poles and wires network and power stations. Now they were traditionally supported by Gvt., they were built by Gvt, and if it was financially feasible to do so business would do it today. But there’s no new power stations being built by business because there’s no money in it.
HH: And that’s why you’ve seen the cost go up. Renewable power is now cheaper than traditional power. One of the platforms we have called “Pay-As-You-Go”, we install solar systems free of charge and then we retail the energy to the client. Now, if the Gvt leaves the solar industry, I say “good”, get out of all energy industries and let us return to a truly Capitalist market
MM: Well I was going to say Huon, because that’s an interesting point, we hear a lot about the energy market, particularly from those who spruik renewables, but as you know and I know, as you have just said, there’s not really a market, certainly not a free market. When you look at the solar panels that have been on people roofs in the domestic sphere for example most people took that up because of the Gvt. rebate,
HH: Exactly, exactly.
MM: The bribe, the incentive as it were, to take it up. They wouldn’t have done it otherwise; it would have been too expensive.
HH: That’s right, and this is what happens with Gvt. They’ve incentivised the industry and now we are passed parity. So solar power, and some wind, has passed the point of parity, it is cheaper now. In fact, we have this community funding platform so we actually return 7% or more back to investors who put their money into seeing renewables being put on roofs as a financial product and we bill our end users around 20% cheaper than grid power. So we’re actually selling electricity 20% cheaper and getting an investment back.
MM: The problem though with renewables, the main problem with renewables isn’t so much the technology, storage is a problem in some places particularly with wind, but the problem really is base load power. You can’t guarantee, with PV, baseload power. Hence we need coal, or nuclear, or hydro, or something which can be ‘turned on’ at the flick of a switch and guarantee that the lights will stay on in peak or demand or when the sun isn’t shining…
HH: Well that’s exactly right. That’s why we’re seeing the cost increase. Because at the moment, the demand and the grid is evolving from a centralised market to a decentralized market with many solar systems, wind, we’ve got a lot of diesel generators and gas powered generators…
MM: But Huon, isn’t this what’s effecting the traditional base load market? We’re seeing products like yours and others; turbines and solar cells, when the sun shines and the wind blows there’s all this energy that comes into the market, the spot price of energy plummets. When it doesn’t, when your product isn’t doing what it can do in the good times and the turbines aren’t turning, the coal fired power, or the gas fired power has to crank up to meet the gap and so the spot price fluctuates and in essence renewables can be cheaper but when they’re not there they create a spike in the traditional. Then they’re buggering up the market basically.
HH: Well that’s not correct because if the market was truly ‘the market’, unsponsored by Gvt., people are still not prepared to invest in coal. So when we talk about the market you’re talking about, what is it? is it social? is it social infrastructure? or is it market infrastructure? Coal is no longer a market infrastructure. No one in their right mind is going to invest in coal because it’s too expensive to build, our Gvts have traditionally sponsored it, like you’ve said…
MM: I think what you’ve said is generally right but I’m about to crash out of time.