The Western Australian Government has received a warning to move with the times or be caught holding onto fossil fuel liabilities in a report released this week.
Adjunct Professor Bill Grace of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at The University of Western Australia forecast a 10-fold growth in private solar capacity by 2025, predicting that business investment would follow the domestic market.
The report said the consumer love affair with solar would continue with larger commercial systems, largely driven by decreasing component prices.
“The resulting reduction in electricity purchased from the network will reduce revenue, leading to increased unit costs, which would be passed onto consumers.” said Professor Grace.
He advised Government to stop resisting change in the face of this major technological shift and to develop strategies to avoid the ‘death spiral’
“The days of the electricity industry being the sole provider of energy services to consumers are over,” he said.
“The industry is now competing with its customers, and future policy has to be about working with that reality and driving the most efficient economic outcome rather than trying to protect the existing industry players.”
“Government doesn’t sell cars, government doesn’t sell television sets, why do they sell electricity?”
He said the Government has been propping up entities like Western Power and could not continue the practice without it impacting on power prices.
“If the Government continues to sell electricity the same way it does now in two and five years’ time, the market simply won’t be delivering them enough on its investment and it will start to cost taxpayers.”