Wicks mails out misleading energy information

Letters to the editor

Lucy Wicks has done residents a disservice by mailing out to residents misleading information about the best solutions for reducing energy costs.
Although some good strategies were mentioned, the information sheet completely avoided mentioning the cheapest sources of energy – which are renewable energy sources – be they solar electricity, solar hot water and ambient heat.
It made me wonder why the information sheet was trying to hide the facts.
It also made me wonder why it would promote energy options which favour jobs at remote power stations owned by multi-national corporations, at the expense of bringing jobs to local renewable energy businesses.
Evidence and practice across the nation have shown that solar electricity is the lowest cost source of electricity for homes, and that is mainly why around 1.8 million homes have installed it.
Furthermore, large-scale wind and solar electricity is irrefutably cheaper than new build coal and gas-fired electricity generation.
It is a fact that renewable energy is already reducing wholesale electricity costs, which is why cost increases are lowest in states with the most renewable energy generation.
High prices are more to do with lack of network competition and energy market rules suiting traditional generators, along with gaming of the market by the incumbent generators and network operators.
The government would do us all a favour to change these things.
In our own home, our home energy costs have been slashed by using renewable energy systems, – by around 60%, and we are about install an additional 5 kW solar PV system- precisely because it is the cheapest available electricity.
Indeed, net income can be made by selling electricity back into the grid by anyone.
Surrounding (ambient) air is another lesser known source of renewable energy which is also cheaper than gas or electricity purchased from retailers.
This heat from the air is harvested from air through reverse-cycle air conditioners on heating mode, and with hot water heat-pumps.
This form of renewable energy does not even need to be in the sun, and can harvest heat in the shade or at night.
More misinformation on the letter relates to the giant new battery in South Australia when it is compared to hydro-power.
The primary purpose of that battery is to stabilise the grid in the case of storms blowing down transmission towers as in the giant storm of 2016, or coal, wind and gas generators breaking down.
The battery should not be compared to Snow hydro. (They are completely different system types for different purposes).
However, batteries for home and grid scale are going to play a huge part in all our futures, and it would be more constructive for government ministers to promote inevitable futures than mislead by omission.
The employment opportunities in the inevitable energy system transformation are immense, and vastly bigger than traditional energy sources.
Another example of the super efficiency of renewable energy-heat pumps is illustrated where I work, where the Olympic Pool heating costs were found to be half the costs of gas – because the heat pumps harvest the surrounding renewable thermal energy at a fraction of the cost of gas.
For renters, there are schemes now available which reward landlords for installing solar power at a 10 per cent return on investment which is better than most rental property returns) while bringing residential and commercial tenants cheaper electricity.
Also, renewable electricity and hot water solutions are also being rolled out for all kinds of commercial and residential strata and apartment living.
I hope that, in the future, political representatives may be more honest and informative with publicly distributed handouts.

Email, Nov 28
Ian Garradd, Blackwall