I’m excited today to reintroduce this Bill which is directly aimed at reducing household energy costs by making home batteries cheaper. This has never been more relevant than it is today.
While we debate the Safeguard Mechanism Bill aimed at reducing the emissions of our biggest national polluters, Australians are looking hard for ways to reduce their emissions at home. Households are experiencing significant cost of living challenges right now. Groceries, petrol, energy, rent and mortgage costs, are all rising. Power bills are set to rise 30% over winter. I hear about it daily in my electorate of Indi.
This Bill will help households purchase a home battery. This means lower power bills, and huge savings for households.
At the federal level, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme has been key to accelerating the deployment of rooftop solar and driving down the price.
This scheme, introduced by the Howard government, has helped millions of Australians buy solar. But now we need to store that solar – and batteries are the answer.
In short, my bill adds home batteries as an eligible technology to create certificates under the scheme.
This means that, when you install a home battery, you earn certificates which you can then onsell to electricity retailers, who are required to purchase them.
This in turn drives down the installation cost of a home battery.
Right now, a battery might set you back around $14,500 all in.
My bill could drive down that price by around $3,000.
Under my bill, as under the existing scheme, the precise amount you will save will depend on how big your battery is and how you use it.
The size and quality of a battery, and whether it is connected to the grid or to solar, are all important parts of the scheme which will be covered by the regulations, following consultation with industry experts.
But the fundamental point here is this: to unlock massive savings for Australian households, to bring power security to regional households and to accelerate our transition to renewable energy, we need to make home batteries cheaper.
My bill will get it done.
Around a third of Australian homes have rooftop solar, but only 1.4% of households have a battery.
This means millions of houses have untapped potential when it comes to storing solar power.
Only last week, energy retailer Nectr reported a spike in inquiries for their solar and storage bundles. They say this is in direct response to rising energy costs. Households have had enough. They want to take back control of their power bills, and batteries are critical to achieve this. Unfortunately they are still too expensive.
But we know that if households are given some help, the uptake could improve. Local councils like Indigo Shire in my electorate were part of Project EDGE, aimed at looking at how consumers can participate in the energy market. With financial support provided under the project, about 130 households in towns like Beechworth, Wooragee and Yackandandah have taken up batteries. It’s clear that with financial help, households are keen to buy batteries.
If we can fix this, the savings for households are huge.
Analysis by engineers and energy entrepreneur Dr Saul Griffith shows that a fully electric household would save around $5,000 a year in petrol costs, in power bills, in heating bills.
And we know that getting batteries into Australian homes is the biggest barrier to capturing those savings.
It’s not just improving household savings that would be achieved under this Bill. Batteries provide a reliable energy source during times of emergencies like bushfires and storms when our powerlines fail us. In places like Corryong and the Alpine areas.
They are also a critical part of reducing our national emissions. If 500,000 batteries are installed, that’s the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road each and every year.
Batteries will reduce our power bills, secure our energy supply and reduce our emissions. It should be a no-brainer for the Government to provide that extra help so households can afford them. This Bill gets this done.
We must make solar and batteries affordable to all Australians.
Late last year, the Government agreed to develop a package for the next budget that will assist low-income households move towards electrification. This was a welcome announcement, but with minimal detail there is ample opportunity for the Government to get this right. I want my constituents to use cheap solar, choose electric appliances that are more efficient, and save money in the long term. This package should include no-interest loans for home electrification, and incentives for landlords so that renters can access cheap power too. We are seeing similar programs at home in Victoria and overseas in the USA. It’s time for this Government to really get a move on and deliver affordable, clean energy to all Australian households, regardless of income.
The government has set a target of having renewable energy account for more than 80 per cent of the grid by 2030, but analysts warn we won’t reach this if we don’t back up our power for when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.
We must put batteries within reach of many more households to take pressure off the grid, cut bills, and reduce emissions. This Bill gets it done.