Bold pitch to power Australian homes by Greens

Homeowners and businesses would be offered loans of up to $100,000 to buy solar batteries, and gas would be banned in new housing developments under the Greens’ vision for Australian electricity.

The plan would include the transformation of the retail division of Snowy Hydro into a non-profit, publicly owned energy retailer which the Greens say would drive up competition and lower the costs associated with private power providers.

The party’s leader, Adam Bandt, will pitch his plan for Australians to have the “cheapest, safest and most reliable power in history” to voters in Brisbane on Saturday.

He will make the announcement in the inner-city seat of Ryan, which the Greens are targeting at the upcoming federal election, given they won the state seat of Maiwar it encompasses on a more than 13 per cent swing in 2020.

Greens leader Adam Bandt wants to offer Aussie households cash grants to install solar batteries and ditch gas appliances. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“The Greens’ plan will help people get batteries for their homes and switch from gas to renewables, cutting power bills and cutting pollution,” Mr Bandt said.

Grants of up to $10,000 and loans up to $50,000 will be available to households to install solar batteries under the plan.

The hope is the subsidies would spur activity in domestic battery-related industries, creating jobs in manufacturing, installation and maintenance.

To support transitioning from gas, households and small businesses could also apply for grants of up to $25,000 and loans up to $100,000.

Climate Rally
Supporters say the policy is good for energy prices and the climate. NCA NewsWire/Andrew Henshaw Credit: News Corp Austraxjmtzywlia

As well as working with states and territories to ban gas in new developments, the creation of a 100 per cent publicly owned, non-profit electricity retailer is on the table.

“Electricity is an essential service and it shouldn’t be run for profit,” Mr Bandt said.

The Smart Energy Council has thrown its support behind the policy measures.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Smart Energy Council, said electrifying Australia’s power with renewables was cheaper and better for the environment.

“Smart energy is critical to reducing the cost of living for all Australians,” he said.

“Everyone knows the best way to cut your power bill is to get solar and governments should be making it easier – not harder – for Australians to get solar and solar batteries.”

First Tesla Powerwall
Solar batteries remain out of the price range of many Australians, creating issues for the energy grid at night. The Australian / Renee Nowytarger Credit: News Corp Australia

Owner of Brisbane-based businesses UV Power, Ian Gittus, said the biggest challenge for installing solar batteries remained the cost.

He said the major parties had both helped drive rooftop solar uptake, but more support was needed to take solar usage to the next level.

“A tesla powerwall is more than $14,000. If someone can get an interest free loan, that makes it affordable,” Mr Gittus said.

He explained the current problem was the power grid had too much energy in the day and not enough in the evening

“Australia has the largest uptake of solar in the world. In my area in brisbane, over 40 per cent of the houses have solar. That’s both Labor and Liberal, to their credit. This is taking it to the next level,” he said.

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