Solar panels and climate change:

Roy Ramage writes: I take issue with Geoff Russell and Martin Gordon and many of their solar panel comments (yesterday, comments).

I work in a small regional town and our mass retrofit has seen at least $1 million in power bill savings and a CO2 saving approaching 3500 tonnes per annum. The money saved stays here, in my community, not in the pocket of a far-off millionaire. At some point we will have our own energy company operating locally that will offer replacement panel services, cleaning, additional on-site generating capacity and even energy storage. This will develop into one of our largest companies and will employ more people than most other local business.

Supported by a smart grid, (lots of IT development here) the company will also be responsible for selling our anticipated daily energy surpluses into the grid at market rates. Yes, solar rebates will cease but as we currently have at least 36 people in every 1000 South Australians being cut off for non-payment of their energy bill — it will be cheaper to install solar panels and batteries than remain on the receiving end of a quarterly obscenity.

For the first time in Australia’s history, energy demand lessened last week. Every house, shed and commercial building must begin looking at energy efficiency and the ability to generate their individual power supply. Solar panels will be a vital key in this inevitable process. Its future and economic opportunity is so bright we will all need shades.

Richard Barlow writes: I find the debate over climate change becomes more confused. WA Premier Colin Barnett pushes the idea that we should use natural gas to reduce carbon pollution and that this is preferable to having a carbon price. Barnett says the carbon price will cost polluters money they would otherwise spend on changing to less-polluting alternatives, such as natural gas. His government’s submission to the old CPRS scheme in October 2008 took a different view stating:

“The considerable distances between gas fields and markets and higher gas prices compared to the eastern states are likely to require a higher carbon price to encourage a shift to gas from coal for electricity generation in Western Australia.”

There I was thinking the conservatives were going to do a Greg Hunt and turn the eastern seaboard into a pine forest. Who can keep up with this stuff ?