May 082007

As part of the climate change measures, the solar rebate scheme will be doubled to up to $8,000 per household.
ABC News

In years past, especially in election years, the Howard government hasn’t been too keen on ‘leaking’ budget details to the media before post time.

This year, however, Peter Costello is doing an admirable impression of a kitchen sieve. Over the past week, more details on tonight’s budget have been released than ever before. The doubling of the Solar Rebate Scheme from $4,000 to $8,000 is one of those leaks. It strikes me so very much expected that this would be one of the tacks taken by the Howardians in their battle against the Labor lead in the alternative energy stakes, not to mention the general polls.
Kevin Rudd’s announcement of ‘zero-real-rate’ loans to householders who wish to green up their homes is the catalyst to Costello’s leak today. Neither is very realistic, although Labor’s approach is a little more generous. Their approach is designed to target around 200,000 homes, whereas the government’s is only likely to benefit some 14,000 to 20,000 homeowners. Both are mere spouçons. In Australia currently, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 1.4m to 1.5m households which could benefit from assistance to reduce this country’s dependance upon fossil fuel generated electricity. Even at 200,000 households, the dent into greenhouse gas production is highly unlikely to be noticed.
Of course, it’s easy to understand just why these green initiatives aren’t embraced holus-bolus. Imagine. If every householder had a bank of solar cells on their roof sufficient even to satisfy their own domestic needs without returning anything to the grid, power generators would go the way of the dinosaurs. As nice as it might be to have a government really embrace alternative energy generation, it’ll never happen on any appreciable scale because our economy is too heavily geared towards digging coal and pumping natural gas out of the ground. Collectively, we’re just victims of our own greed.
Still, who-ever get’s back into the big house in Canberra, I’ll be looking long and hard at installing a few photo-voltaic cells. Why not, especially if I can get some help to assuage the costs. First in-best dressed.

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