The Greens want millions of households to install renewable energy storage units, saying battery storage could revolutionise Australia’s energy system.
The party has announced a five-year support package for 1.2 million homes and 30,000 businesses, to encourage the take-up of solar storage across Australia.
Costing almost $3 billion, the proposal would be paid for by the aviation and fossil fuel industries.
The Greens will use the storage policy in its negotiations with the government over its budget, the party’s energy spokesman Adam Bandt said.
“We’ll be opposing most of this budget, which grows inequality and does nothing for clean energy, but if the government comes to us to talk about some of their less-offensive measures, we’ll want to talk to them about programs like this one,” the Greens energy spokesman, Adam Bandt, told Guardian Australia.
“Now is the time to jumpstart the battery industry, encourage the take up of storage and help make Australia a renewable energy leader.”
The Greens’ battery storage program – announced two days after the Turnbull government’s first budget –would run for five years, starting from 2016-17. It is part of the party’s plan to shift Australia to 90 per cent renewables by 2030. It includes a 50 per cent refundable tax credit for individuals to help them install solar energy storage systems.
For businesses, the Greens want to allow battery storage installations to be depreciated for tax purposes over three years – rather than the current 15 years – to drive the take-up of renewable energy storage.
Up to30,000 units could be installed by businesses for $38 million, over four years, according to the Greens.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale criticised the Turnbull government’s budget on Wednesday, for doing nothing to encourage renewable energy.
“There are small businesses right around Australia who will be so disappointed that the prime minister has ignored the transition to the clean-energy economy,” he said.
“We’re talking about solar installers, mums and dads who have set up small businesses to engage in the installation of solar panels around the country.
The Turnbull government has confirmed it will retain the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, with plans to refocus part of their activities towards the government’s innovation agenda.