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The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has released Powering Homes, Empowering People: A National Consumer Energy Resources Roadmap, a new report that sets out the optimal pathway for Australia to capitalise on its world-leading uptake of rooftop solar and other consumer energy resources (CER). 

The CEC said savings on energy prices and thousands of Australian jobs would be some of the benefits of a national strategy to support the uptake of rooftop solar, home batteries and electrification, as well as empowering all energy customers to benefit from the shift to an electric future. 

Among these benefits, the CEC said Australian households and businesses stand to save up to $71 annually on energy bills under such a strategy, irrespective of whether they have installed these CER or not. 

CEC Policy Director – Distributed Energy, Con Hristodoulidis, said, “It is critical that we get the policy settings right to maximise the benefits of Australia’s rooftop solar success story. 

“Australia’s electrification journey has only just begun and adopting CER at even greater scale will be the key to lowering power bills and a timely energy transition.” 

Under the lowest cost pathway modelled in the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s Step Change scenario, CER storage capacity is expected to increase to 34GW, while orchestrated capacity that is integrated into the grid will increase to a total of 27GW by 2050. 

The CEC commissioned modelling by energy industry consultancy, Oakley Greenwood, to estimate the cost of not meeting these targets, which included: 

  • Savings of between $35 to $71 annually on energy bills for all Australian electricity customers 
  • More than $22 billion in savings for Australian taxpayers to 2050 
  • 18,200 additional jobs in manufacturing, sales, design and installation of CER in Australia 
  • Up to 3.8 million more Australian homes and businesses with orchestrated batteries, with much larger bill savings 
  • Keeping Australia on track to meeting its renewable energy and climate targets in a timely manner 

The modelling also suggested that a range of policies and programs should be considered by the Federal Government to maximise the benefits of electrification which would exceed the overall cost. These include: 

  • Establishing a $100 million Empowering Communities Fund, to oversee delivery of education and training programs for local communities, small business and regional organisations about electrification and energy efficiency 
  • Creating a National Home Battery Saver Scheme of up to $6,500 per household to install and integrate behind-the-meter battery storage systems into the grid 
  • A National Energy Productivity Scheme to provide unified federal oversight of energy efficiency and orchestration of home batteries and standardise certificates 
  • Providing opportunities for renters and social housing residents to participate in CER 
  • Implementing a review into household and business energy futures and pathways towards electrification 
  • Establishing targets for CER and orchestration on Government-owned assets and buildings 
  • Measures to raise awareness of CER consumer protections, including the expansion of the New Energy Tech Consumer Code and designating a dispute resolution function under state and territory energy ombudsman schemes 
  • Unlocking and maximising the use of network capacity through customer choice 

“Unlike similar reports that focus on supply-side challenges for CER and the grid, the policy recommendations set out in this roadmap will guide federal, state, territory and local governments in planning over the long term to unlock exciting new opportunities for every Australian household and business,” Mr Hristodoulidis said. 

“Empowering homeowners, renters, social housing residents and business owners to understand and adopt CER will build an Australian energy system that is cleaner, cheaper and fairer for everyone.” 

Image: Zolak/shutterstock.com 

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