A scheme that would help more than one million Australian households install heavily discounted battery storage over the next five years has been announced by the Greens, as part of a new policy aimed at accelerating the shift to renewables.
The nearly $3 billion policy – which would “redirect” money from fossil fuel tax breaks – was unveiled by Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt in Canberra on Thursday.
The five-year program would see individuals get up to half the cost of their battery storage system covered, up to a maximum of $5000 in the first year of the program, with the amount of the credit tapering off to $1,500 by 2021, to reflect the projected decline in technology costs.
A grant scheme targeting low income homes would also be made available. All up, the policy would support as many as 1.2 million households over the five years of the program, the Greens said.
The scheme would also cater to as many as 30,000 businesses, with a measure allowing battery storage assets to be depreciated for tax purposes over an accelerated period of three years.
The policy seems to acknowledge that while interest in battery storage uptake is taking off in Australia, and prices of the technology are coming down, the economics don’t yet stack up for the vast majority of households or small businesses.
Currently in Australia, the City of Adelaide offers a $5000 rebate per storage system to residents and the ACT has a $25 million program to support the roll out of storage to 5000 homes.
“Now is the time to jumpstart the battery industry, encourage the take up of storage and help make Australia a renewable energy leader,” said Bandt.
“With public interest high, now is the time for a targeted, 5-year support package to drive down costs and put battery storage in reach of every household and business.”
The Greens said both programs would be funded by savings, including $2.75 billion from the reform of accelerated depreciation concessions for fossil fuels intensive industries.
According to Parliamentary Budget Office costings, the household policy would cost $2,850 million, while support for business would cost $38 million over the forward estimates.
Senator di Natale said that driving battery uptake would also generate economic growth and jobs.
“Australia has some of the best battery technologies in the world and increasing battery uptake will help create advanced manufacturing jobs in regional communities,” he said.
“We will accelerate the take up of clean energy by redirecting money from fossil fuel tax breaks into support for battery storage in homes and businesses.”