Green machines: Govt looks for ways to wean electric cars off fossil fuels

The State Government has called in the Queensland Competition Authority to figure out how electric vehicle owners can recharge their cars without using coal or gas-fired energy.

Feb 08, 2022, updated Feb 09, 2022
Australians are losing their concerns about electric power, a study has found. Image: University of Queensland.

Australians are losing their concerns about electric power, a study has found. Image: University of Queensland.

Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said if an EV owner plugged their car into a recharge point at peak times, it was likely to be charged with power generated from high emissions resources like coal or gas.

In Queensland, the peak electricity demand is in the evening when many people would plug their car into the grid for a recharge. During those peak periods, the electricity was likely to be generated by coal and gas.

De Brenni said there was no electricity tariff that allowed EV owners to take advantage of off-peak recharging which would maximise the emissions reduction.

De Brenni said there were now 7000 EVs in Queensland, double the number of last year and from his own experience they had significant benefits, but major changes were needed to allow for the transition from petrol-powered vehicles.

“I’m lucky to drive a Government-owned car. It may be fast and a “head turner”, but the base model Tesla I drive saves taxpayers $400 a month on refuelling costs compared to petrol equivalent.

“And when charged using renewable energy, it creates zero emissions, tailpipe or otherwise.”

He said rising fuel costs meant motorists were paying about 10 to 15 cents a kilometre to fuel your standard car while it costs about 2 cents a kilometre to run a car on electricity.

“So that’s why I think it’s time for EV tariff reform as part of getting our economy EV-ready,” he said.

But reforms were needed to building and planning rules to modernise homes and public places. The electricity grid had to be reformed into a sharing platform and there had to be effective EV tariffs.

“That’s because one way to get the most out of our high renewables penetration in Queensland is to reward helpful EV charging behaviour.

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“It’s critical that we are encouraged as motorists to think of our EVs as more than just the ‘family car’. Rather we should think of them as the ‘family battery’ enabled through bi-directional charging between the car and home.

“What’s called for is clever and effective EV Tariff design. As motorists could we be offered the opportunity for cheaper charging at off-peak times like we were in the 80s and 90s with off-peak tariffs for pool owners running pool pumps, for example.

“What Queenslanders expect is a system that will deliver the cheapest and cleanest energy supply possible for our homes and cars into the future.”

The Queensland Competition Authority has been asked to consider how smarter tariffs could be used to more appropriately price electricity to send a sharper price reward to motorists to charge their vehicles in periods of low network demand and high renewable energy generation.

“The QCA will provide its advice for public consideration during February, and I’m really keen to encourage Queenslanders to take this opportunity to have their say and subject to public consultation. With the QCA’s advice, and our new Energy Plan, there will be the opportunity for EV friendly tariffs in Queensland.”


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