Email to Energy and Water Minister Hon Mark Bailey

Update:

I received a very nice response from the department stating that they couldn’t see changes to the FiT scheme to allow for battery substitution in the foreseeable future.

I’ll be updating my existing inverter to the latest that will allow more panels while keeping my current feed in tariff – I’ll also be watching the storage market with ROI spreadsheet in hand to see when I can take my major loads offline and maximise export to the grid.

Original Post:

I sent the following off to the Hon Mark Bailey on the 20th Jan 2017, I’d heard rumours that in QLD we may potentially get the option to trade FIT for Storage so I thought I’d ask the relevant Ministerial department đŸ˜€

Email Contents:

I was wondering if any further thoughts or progress on changes to policy allowing a battery buyout approach for existing 44cents feed in tariff residents.

I saw reported locally that it was being considered.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/states-solar-households-in-line-for-power-storage-rebate/news-story/b5de87047bd7808b6ed8009fdd1921b6
and agree fully with Simon Hackett in this space https://simonhackett.com/2016/06/14/how-state-governments-can-save-money-and-drive-the-battery-revolution/

I’m currently looking at changing / updating my solar system and if the possibility existed for me to exchange my 44cent FIT for storage I’d jump at it.

If there are no changes in the near future my current plan is to effectively take my entire house off grid behind the existing system and export all generation at the current high feed in rate. From my measured history of 4000kWh per annum of generation I expect that would earn me $15,000 through to 2028 which easily would fund such a plan.

I would prefer to upgrade the existing solution (which I can’t do at present) with added storage and sell into the NEM via Reposit and Diamond Energy’s grid credits program – this would have the added bonus for the local distribution of letting me aid in reducing the peak load requirements.

I’m an early adopter in this space and have had solar on my roof since 2009, would like to be part of helping us all move to a lower carbon economy.

Look forward to a reply detailing how and when I might be able to “trade in” my FIT for storage.

Thoughts and comments:

I’ve had the usual polite reply and will update this post with the actual reply as and when it shows up.

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Time for more Collusion on Tax?

I don’t mind paying tax

That might sound odd to many, but living in Australia I like the benefits paying my tax brings.

I have public health that works – when my son had a nasty attack of croup when young we had paramedics arrive within minutes and the hospital was exceptional in their care and attention.

All courtesy of Tax.

In a society that historically looks after the less fortunate as one would look after your mate, tax is the thing that allows that to happen.

Think of it as distributed “mateship” đŸ˜€

We also benefit from a public school system that on the whole does an excellent job of education – my son attends the local public High School and it is doing a fine job of making him learn, and more importantly think.

Businesses and Tax

Businesses and Global companies currently seem to be doing a great job of avoiding paying any tax at all – and complaining bitterly if they do.

Most of them claim they want “political stability” an “educated workforce” with the “skills to grow their business” as key to where they will locate their operations.

Hmmmm, know what provides those things they want? Generally Governments via funding supported by taxable income. I see very few companies running universities training the graduates they require for engineering, commerce, PR or HR.

So to me it seems like businesses appear that they do not want to contribute to help provide the things they say that they want? I have a sneaking suspicion that you would hear Facebook, Apple, Google and similar screaming very loudly if they suddenly couldn’t find any programmers because none were trained as the Universities folded due to lack of funding.

Why is it happening

It’s my very simplistic view it’s because currently global laws are different country to country and smart lawyers and accountants have found ways to let the companies “shop around” to find the lowest (or no) tax approach.

Secondly in some countries they literally buy the government – looking at you America at present and Australia’s policical donations policies.

It appears that the big finance advisors are doing a great job of informing many how to minimise tax with “Double Irish Dutch sandwich” double speak and similar – it almost looks like their could be collusion… surely not.

Is More Collusion the answer?

I was having a random thought while walking the dog, as you do, and wondered what if all Governments took a leaf out of the “Companies Book” and globally colluded on minimum Tax Rates and approaches.

Something simple like 25% of all profits made by any entity in any country is paid in tax in that country – doesn’t matter if it is an arm of a multinational, you pay locally on what you make locally.

And a few riders on inter business entity loan interest rates while we are at it along the lines of loans to be sourced from local finance institutions if possible in the first instance. If not, then there better be a VERY good reason for interest rates to be higher than best current global commercial rates…..

Not suggesting for a moment that anyone drop tax rates if they are higher (go Norway) but that Governments collude and put a brick under the minimum rate globally so we (and companies) get the services, stability, skills and societies we say we want.

If it’s the same minimum everywhere it would have the potential to stop the shopping around and many of the constant complaints of “it’s lower in Singapore, Ireland, Holland, Panama, etc”

Nothing comes for free, and tax is what we currently choose to fund those things that keep society functioning, so how about more companies actually contribute to help support those things they say they want delivered.

Hunting an Electric Vehicle in Australia

In search of my electric car

I’ve wanted to own an electric vehicle for many years now. The one I really want no one makes yet and is potentially going to be as rare as a unicorn.

It’s a 5 seat fully electric convertible with over 200km of range

(it also needs to be “cool” enough that my teenage son will consent to being dropped off at school in it occasionally.)

Why do I want one?

I’m an engineer, electric cars make sense to me and I’ve wanted one for a long time. I’m also rather passionate about my personal footprint on the planet and an EV makes sense for that.

But, it needs to meet a few fairly specific conditions to make it into our house:

  • We are hot hatch fans (current cars VW Golf hatch and Golf Cabriolet)
  • Needs to seat 5 (family plus school friends / grandparents)
  • Needs over 200km range, because Australia, or PHEV with 50km EV range for  zero emission commute
  • Can probably stretch to $70k ish as we can trade in

I’ve been following Fully Charged on Youtube and am rather envious of many cars that would almost meet our needs, problem is, we can’t get them in Australia.

So what can I get?

So what has crossed my radar and why don’t I have one yet?

  • BMW i3, test drove, son won’t be seen dead in it – sorry design folks, missed with the cool kids
  • VW Golf GTE, would do the trick, I’ve been asking VW Australia for 3 years when it’s coming in – crickets! Would prefer a Polo GTE but that’s not in the wild yet
  • Nissan Leaf – Range and see the i3 đŸ˜€
  • GM Volt – 4 seats and can’t buy here anymore
  • GM Bolt – currently not going to be available here
  • Renault Zoe ZE 40 – would probably buy tomorrow if they had a red one and imported into Australia – I asked and they don’t intend bringing it in
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV – see the i3 and teenage son
  • Mitsubishi Outlander – I must be the only male I know that doesn’t want an SUV, and neither does my wife
  • Tesla – the 3 might do it for me, but 2 years away minimum at this point. Rest of the range is too big to fit in my garage or my budget
  • Audi A3 e-tron – hmmm this one has potential………… drives well and the teenager doesn’t hate it…………….

Decision time

I’m going to give it a few months to see if VW, Renault or GM bring something in that I can compare the A3 e-tron to – I don’t hold out much hope given their poor record so far.

I am early adopter in the sustainability space, my first solar panels went up in 2008 and I’ve been attempting to get my family into a zero/low emission car since they’ve been on the market.

I’ve been let down badly by Australia’s political lack of vision in addressing emission reduction. A few appropriate policy levers could have seen Australia at the front of the “innovation” pack and still having a car industry.

I suspect that later this year you may well find me commuting fossil free – either by A3 e-tron or my Smart Motion electric bike.

Someone has to start the ball rolling to convince the rest đŸ˜€

piccy of Audi A3 e-tron