EnergyAustralia, one of the country's top three utilities, has announced a $ 15 million program to install solar and storage in various charities that create "virtual power plants" – and will fund this from the sale of large renewable energy certificates that should be used to fulfill its renewable energy obligations.
It appears that EnergyAustralia has decided to accept the invitation of the industry regulator, Clean Energy Regulator, to NOT fulfill its obligations under the RET in 2018, and instead cash by selling LGC at higher market prices.
This is within the rules because responsible entities such as large retailers have a "two-year" deadline to cover any deficiencies in a single calendar year.
The controversy comes because, when CER expressed its disapproval of such methods and said it was against the damper in the scheme, it is now actively encouraging retailers and others to apply this practice.
Companies like ERM have made tremendous profits by choosing to pay a "penalty" rather than high prices for LGC's, and bet that as the LGC price falls as RERT is met, they can buy cheap LGC & # 39; is in the future.
The CER call has helped LGC's price drop by half over the last six months – from more than $ 80 / MWh in June to a low $ 34 / MWh in January. EnergyAustralia says it has sold 700,000 LGC & # 39; otherwise it's meant to meet its quota, but won't say at what price.
On average, $ 50 / MWh says it would have raised $ 35 million. In two years, when it becomes necessary to buy them back, the price is likely to be significantly lower.
EnergyAustralia will not be the only one. Government Dealer Snowy Hydro seems to be doing the same thing as AGL and others.
Where EnergyAustralia has tried to be different, it is promising to spend some of the assumed profits by directing money to charities and helping them reduce bills by about half by financing the installation of solar heat and battery storage on the roof.
"The company will use net sales proceeds (of LGC's) to conduct energy audits of participating charities to identify where and how they can use energy more efficiently and sustainably," it said in a statement.
"Based on the audit findings, EnergyAustralia will install batteries, solar cells, and intelligent energy managers and advise on device upgrades."
Andrew Perry, head of the company's NextGen division, says the bills can be reduced by as much as 50 percent, freeing up more of the funds they raise to "move towards what they do best – helping vulnerable people in need."
"We will do well at any LGC deficiency over the next few years, which means that we will continue to fulfill our full responsibility for supporting renewable energy under the RET while generating money today that can help our society and everyone Customers, no, mean their circumstances, to participate in the pure energy transformation, "Perry said in his opinion.
"This initiative will also provide a more flexible demand response to ensure that the electricity market can deliver reliable and affordable electricity to all consumers. The program will add to more than 50MW of demand response portfolio EnergyAustralia has already built to help the network meet peak needs. "
The EnergyAustralia Power for Good program starts with a first $ 5 million commitment in the first year, with a maximum of $ 15 million committed to the program over three years.
Berry Street, the largest independent provider of child and family services in Victoria and one of EnergyAustralia's charitable partners through its workplace program, is working to become the program's core partner.
Perry said that once the program was expanded and more charities joined, it could eventually create one of Australia's largest "virtual power stations", a system where potentially thousands of household or commercial solar and battery systems are connected and controlled externally .