Labor to offer $2000 battery rebates for homes in energy plan


Labor has unveiled its own energy plan after internal division on climate within the Coalition killed off the National Energy Guarantee.

The Labor opposition has promised to help 100,000 householders purchase batteries as part of an energy plan that sets up a major conflict with the Coalition on climate and energy policy. 

If elected, it will invest $200 million to subsidise the installation of 100,000 home batteries to store energy from solar panels. 

From 2020, Labor would cut the upfront costs of buying and installing batteries for homes earning less than $180,000 with rebates worth up to $2000 each.

Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler said the Labor battery initiative would help ease pressure on the electricity grid during peak times.

"It's great for individual households but beyond that, to be able to shift energy from the middle of the day to the early evening is going to be fantastic for the whole energy system," he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

The Smart Energy Council estimates new household battery systems, linked to solar panels, would help homes save more than 60 per cent on their power bills.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
Bill Shorten says backing the installation of more household battery systems helps lower power costs.

But they would also drop costs for other Australians by reducing peak demand in the electricity grid and help improve the grid's reliability.

Labor says its rebates would help battery manufacturers scale up production and reduce their costs, which would aid its goal of reaching one million homes with battery systems in seven years time.

Energy to be election battlefront

The policy announcements from Labor set up a key election battlefront on climate and energy ahead of the 2019 contest. 

While the Coalition has also promised to underwrite loans for new power projects, the Labor policy would rule out investment in coal.

Labor leader Bill Shorten had offered a bipartisan deal on former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's National Energy Guarantee, although he did call the emissions reductions targets inadequate. 

Labor has long promised to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030, down from 2005 levels. 

The National Energy Guarantee disintegrated in the final weeks of Mr Turnbull's prime ministership, with conservatives in the party unhappy with the emissions reduction target. 

It would also spend an extra $10 million over four years on ramping up the Clean Energy Regulator's battery auditing and inspecting regime, with another $10 million going to training clean energy workers.

Spending $100 million on a program allowing renters and social housing residents to benefit from cheaper, renewable energy, is also on Labor's agenda.

The funds would go towards community power hubs, such as solar gardens on apartment rooftops or community wind farms.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said supporting the installation of more household battery systems is the "next big thing" in helping families keep their power costs down.

"This is good for consumers - giving them more control over their power bills, helping them to slash electricity costs, and lowering power prices and improving reliability for all Australians by reducing demand on the electricity grid in peak times."

Mr Shorten said the plan is also good for the environment and would help Labor reach its target of 50 per cent of power nationally from renewables by 2030.

Currently 1.8 million Australian homes are using rooftop solar panels.

The Coalition argues Labor's more ambitious emissions reduction target will lead to higher power bills for consumers. The Coalition's target is set at 26 percent. 

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