Editorial: This year the tipping point for electricity?

File photo.
File photo.

HAVE you been feeling zapped of energy?

Run down by the same old political debates?

It’s only natural, considering 2017 just came to a close.

This might jolt you awake – 2018 could herald a major tipping point for how we generate and use electricity.

Why?

Because renewable energy is the cheapest form of new build electricity, and the cost of it – as well as storage like batteries – keeps dropping.

Why?

Because renewable energy and storage can be fit-for-purpose, tailored to all sorts of scenarios – from your home’s rooftop, to a large-scale solar or wind farm; from a mining site in the outback, to a stand-alone micro-grid residential estate.

South Australia just installed the world’s most powerful lithium-ion battery in less than 100 days.

The technology is here, cheap, and brings many benefits – beyond just supplying power – like cleaner air, local jobs and greater control over energy bills.

There’s just one catch – the federal government is hampering our shift to a renewable-powered future.

Throughout 2017 we heard a lot of talk about energy at a federal level, but very little action.

We were bamboozled with all manner of technical terms, like ‘dispatchable power’ and ‘trilemma’.

There was also a stream of acronyms  – EIS (Emissions Intensity Scheme), CET (Clean Energy Target), NEG (National Energy Guarantee) to name but a few – as policies were floated, then discarded.

So, we’ve reached the end of a long year spent discussing energy with no sign of credible federal policy to slash rising power prices and pollution. 

If more households and businesses are to access cheaper, cleaner and more flexible power, we need politicians to stop dragging their feet. 

In 2018, it’s time for them to make a new year’s resolution. Put people first, and give Australians something to look forward to: a cheaper, cleaner and smarter power system.

Petra Stock

Climate Council energy and climate solutions analyst

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