procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Power as a tax

As I've been trying to sift through the debates around energy, I keep coming back to this: the government needs to keep us using energy - their livelihood depends on it.

What do I mean? Well, despite repeated encouragements to buy energy-efficient appliances, turn off appliances that aren't being used, and, until recently, to invest in household solar, things have now reached a tipping point.

Energy use has decreased at over 10% for the last three years, whereas investment in the grid is $50bn, in what they fear are now 'stranded assets'. For every person that installs solar with no government feed-in tariff, that turns off lights, that upgrades to more efficient appliances, there are less kilowatt hours to spread the massive costs of the gold-plated poles and wires on to. And as the costs increase, so too do consumers do all they can to decrease their dependency.

But there are government guarantees (that energy companies can charge what they need to recover costs), there are taxes on privatised energy companies, there are always the jobs (gotta save the jobs!), and there are agreements, back-room or otherwise, relating to coal mines and power generation that need to be honoured.

But if it is a tax, and if decentralised, personal or community-based power generation and storage is the future, then why not just tax us, get involved, and do everything possible to move away from the whole damned coal/gas/petrol/nuclear industry to things which have a future.