Australia must exploit rooftop solar lead

Rooftop solar panels on suburban home (energy upgrades)
Rooftop solar panels (Image: Shutterstock)

Rewiring Australia founder Dr Saul Griffith says AEMO’s latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics report demonstrates the urgent need for Australia to fully exploit its global lead in rooftop solar by rewiring households to be fully electric.

AEMO’s data for Q4 2021 shows the boom in rooftop solar, along with large-scale wind and solar farms is reducing the cost of electricity and squeezing out coal and gas generators.

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Griffith said households could better share in the economic benefits of trends in energy technology if we moved quickly to rewire our homes with electric heating, electric water heating, electric cooking, and electric cars.

“Australia’s global lead in generating clean, renewable energy from our home rooftops is admirable but to really drive home this advantage we need to fully exploit our lead. When Ash Barty wins the first set of a match she doesn’t sit back and allow her opponent to ace her for the next two sets,” he said. 

“If we press this advantage now, Australian households can smash household energy costs by $5000 a year and drive a one-third reduction in domestic carbon emissions. 

“We are spending $1 billion to save the Great Barrier Reef while spending many more billions destroying it by supporting fossil fuels. While I can’t complain about more money for reef research and support, this is blatant hypocrisy. We should be investing in more renewable energy and storage, demand side electrification, and prioritising green manufacturing for future export industries.

“Today’s report from AEMO shows almost 35 per cent of Australian energy was generated from renewable sources for the three months to December 31. But that clean energy needs to heat our water, cool our homes, power our cars and cook our food to fully take advantage of our lead. If we decarbonise our homes and cars we will all be wealthier and enjoy the benefits of cleaner air. A fully electric Australia that gets off fossil fuels will keep the same comforts but use about half the energy, with none of the energy emissions. This win-win from electrification is clear.

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“With just a little foresight, Australia can lead the world in fully electrifying our homes and then export that technology and expertise to the world. But this won’t happen by itself. We need to make it really straightforward for households to swap a fossil fueled appliance or vehicle with one powered by clean energy. We should change our planning and permitting laws to prioritise all electric households and businesses, and start training the installation and maintenance workforce for this electrified future now.

“With modest public investment in our homes, cars, and communities, we can electrify everything without sacrificing our way of life. If we embrace this shift now, we can enjoy cheaper, cleaner, healthier energy, and win the global decarbonisation race.”

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