Australia: Renewable energy support programs to increase power bills by 3 percent

Electricity prices are expected to rise sharply in Australia in the coming years, as the various state-based electricity markets moves towards full privatization and long-overdue electricity infrastructure spending takes place. In light of this – and previous State and Federal Government subsidy programs – it is not surprising that Australians have been rapidly adopting solar technology.

At the same time as releasing these figures, the REC Agents Association (RAA) has also announced that 1.4 million solar systems – whether photovoltaic, solar hot water or heat pumps – have been installed by Australian households since 2001. The RAA claims that this means 20 percent of Australian households that are suitable for solar installations have already done so.

A recent statement announced that the RAA has been established to: "represent and self-regulate the activities of businesses creating and trading RECs." RECs are generated in Australia when households or businesses adopt renewable technologies and are required to be purchased by polluting industries.

The RAA will also play a public relations role, "[to] address some of the misinformation around the cost and effectiveness of these schemes," the statement continues.

The REC program is currently subsidized by the Australian Federal Government, which applies a multiplier to the number of RECs generated when businesses or individuals employ renewable technologies. Australian renewable energy provider Energy Matters tips the REC support scheme to be cut, for a second time, by one-third later this year.