Gold Medal for Australian Solar

New data released today by the REC Agents Association (RAA) shows nearly four million Australians have solar panels or solar hot water on the roofs of their homes and businesses. “Australia has won the gold medal for household solar”, said Ric Brazzale, President of RAA (a body that represents  creators and traders of renewable energy certificates).

“Australia installed more residential rooftop solar panel systems in 2011 than any other country.” Read More…

Media Release – Solar energy and energy efficiency major contributors to falling power consumption

Full Media Release REC Agents 20 June 12 – Solar reduces power use

Escalating use of solar energy and energy efficiency are making a material contribution to reducing power consumption and reducing wholesale power prices across the National Electricity Market (NEM) according to a new report released by the REC Agents Association (RAA) today.
Over the last three years electricity consumption in the eastern states NEM has fallen by 3.2% (6,565 GWh). More than half of the reduction has been due to the installation of solar power and solar hot water systems supported by the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, and energy efficiency activities supported by the Victorian and NSW energy savings schemes.
Australians have embraced solar with one in five families having either a solar power or solar hot water system.
The report prepared by Green Energy Markets shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes saved 3,455 GWh in 2011 (1.7% of total electricity consumption). The contribution from solar energy and energy efficiency under these schemes is set to treble over the next three years so that by 2015 electricity consumption will be reduced by more than 5% (around 10,664 GWh).
“Market based schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target and the Energy Savings Schemes have been successful in the large-scale deployment of greenhouse reduction technologies and have done so in a way that reduces costs to customers”, said Ric Brazzale, author of the Report and the President of the RAA.
“It is the cost of transporting the electricity through monopoly network businesses that is out of control. The cost of actually producing the electricity is falling. Rising residential power prices have been caused by massive network investment (poles and wires) which has been passed on to consumers through higher charges. Government schemes that support solar and energy efficiency have been successful in keeping a lid on wholesale power prices (which are at their lowest level in real terms for more than 10 years)”, he said.
“The cost impact of these schemes is modest and only contributes marginally to expected increases in electricity prices. These schemes do however deliver lower wholesale prices which benefit all consumers.”
“The challenge faced by policy makers is to address the runaway growth in network investment and to reduce rising peak summer demand caused by the installation of inefficient air conditioners.”
“We have reduced power consumption now we need to turn our attention to reducing peak summer demand. The introduction of mandatory targets for electricity network businesses to reduce peak demand through investment in better and more efficient technologies that reduce peak demand would be a good start”.
The RAA is a national not-for-profit industry association that represents registered agents that create Renewable Energy Certificates and other Environmental Credits.
For further information, please contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir on 03 9845 3007. Download the full report above to access the fact sheet with all the tables.

Clean energy regulation strengthened

By a staff reporter

A new, independent body to represent businesses and individuals that create and trade in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) has been established.

The REC Agents Association (RAA) has been created to represent and self-regulate the activities of businesses creating and trading RECs, the trading system that underpins Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) and facilitates the installation of solar panels and solar hot water systems.

“The RAA will work closely with the Australian government and the new Clean Energy Regulator to monitor and improve compliance by agents with relevant Acts, and to provide advice to the statutory review of the RET,” a statement from RAA said.
“RAA will work with members of federal parliament and key stakeholders on issues affecting Agents.”

“The RAA will be a strong, public advocate for the RET and other market-based schemes. The RAA will also address some of the misinformation around the cost and effectiveness of these schemes, in particular that the RET is a major driver of rising electricity prices. In fact, the Australian Energy Market Commission has shown renewable energy schemes are only responsible for 3 per cent of the likely rise in power prices over the next few years.”

The inaugural board of the RAA includes: Ric Brazzale, President (CEO of Green Energy Trading); Fiona O’Hehir, Vice President (Greenbank Environmental); Geoffrey Alexander, Treasurer (COZero) and Stephen Coleman (RET Australia).

The REC Agents Association will not represent householders, but the ‘registered’ agents to whom RECs have been assigned by the owners of eligible renewable energy systems.

“Initially, RAA will focus on the small scale renewable energy market and the creation and trading of small scale technology certificates,” the RAA said.

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Formation of REC Agents Association

Australia’s clean energy regulatory framework has been strengthened with the announcement today of the establishment of a new, independent body to represent businesses and individuals (Agents) that create and trade in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

The REC Agents Association (RAA) has been established to represent and self-regulate the activities of businesses creating and trading RECs, the trading system that underpins Australia’s Renewable Energy Target and facilitates the installation of solar panels and solar hot water systems.

The RAA will work closely with the Australian Government and the new Clean Energy Regulator to monitor and improve compliance by Agents with relevant Acts, and to provide advice to the statutory review of the RET. RAA will work with members of Federal Parliament and key stakeholders on issues affecting Agents.

The RAA will be a strong, public advocate for the Renewable Energy Target and other market based schemes. The RAA will also address some of the misinformation around the cost and effectiveness of these schemes, in particular that the Renewable Energy Target is a major driver of rising electricity prices. In fact, the Australian Energy Market Commission has shown renewable energy schemes are only responsible for 3% of the likely rise in power prices over the next few years.

RAA provides for varying levels of membership, to accommodate large and small Agents. RAA will be developing and administering a code of conduct, which all members will be required to sign, to ensure Agents act ethically, comply with all relevant laws and act according to agreed industry standards. This will reinforce confidence in the activities of Agents creating and trading RECs.

The inaugural Board of the RAA includes four of the leading REC Agents in Australia: Ric Brazzale, President (CEO of Green Energy Trading); Fiona O’Hehir, Vice President (Greenbank Environmental); Geoffrey Alexander, Treasurer (COZero) and Stephen Coleman (RET Australia).

The REC Agents Association will not represent householders, but the “registered” Agents to whom RECs have been assigned by the owners of eligible renewable energy systems. Initially, RAA will focus on the small scale renewable energy market and the creation and trading of small scale technology certificates. RAA believes that the experience and expertise of the inaugural board will provide strong guidance to its members on both compliance and policy perspectives.

The REC Agents Association is a national not-for-profit association, registered with ASIC, initially funded by membership fees, tendered government grants and donations.

More information on RAA can be found at www.recagents.org.au

For further information, please contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167

FACT SHEET

1. Solar In Australian Homes
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme, supported by all political parties, has been critical to bringing solar to Australian families

Almost 1.5 million Australian households have Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Water Heater (SWH) systems as a result of the RET.

Summary PV Installations
Total Installations 665,215 for which certificates have been registered (2001 to end March 2012)
Installed Capacity 1,431 MW Installed for these systems

Summary SWH and HP Installations
SWH Systems 574,503
Air Sourced Heat Pumps 149,420
Total 723,923

1 in 5 Australian households, that could have PV/SWH installed (i.e. have a roof available), have installed a solar system (20%)
Housing Type Number of Homes (ABS) PV Penetration rate % SWH Penetration rate %
Separate or Semi-Detached, owner occupied 4.7 million 14.2% 15.4%
Separate or Semi-Detached, all 6.4 million 10.4% 11.3%
Total Australian Households 7.5 million 8.9% 9.7%
NB: A small number of households will have both SWH and PV

2. Renewable Energy schemes do not contribute greatly to major price increases in electricity. According to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), electricity prices for Australian households are predicted to rise 30% over the next two years .

In the AEMC’s analysis, network costs (transmission and distribution) are expected to contribute 40% to the increase in residential electricity prices in coming years. Wholesale electricity costs, (including the price on carbon) are expected to contribute 40% to the rise in prices. These costs make up 80% of the total projected increase in prices.

Renewable Energy schemes are projected to comprise only 3% of residential electricity price increases across Australia.

3. Renewable Energy Target has been incredibly successful; Solar PV costs have fallen dramatically
The affordability of solar technologies has improved dramatically. The installed cost of a PV system has dropped by 75% over last 5 years to an average of $3.25 per watt this year. The cost competitiveness of Solar is due, in part, to support provided by the RET.