Costs of Australia’s renewable energy target ‘not justifiable': review, SMH, August 28, 2014 – Lisa Cox National political reporter Tony Abbott has been given cover to break an election promise not to touch Australia’s renewable energy target after his hand-picked review panel recommended the scheme be dramatically cut back.
Clean energy industry leaders said the findings of the review, headed by businessman and climate sceptic Dick Warburton, represented the “worst case scenario” and would cost thousands of jobs and more than $10 billion in investment if the government adopted its recommendations. Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the proposals would “shut down the future of the industry” in Australia………
The panel recommended two options for Australia’s renewable energy target, which is currently set at 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity from large-scale renewable energy by 2020 – now equivalent to about 27 per cent of expected generation.
Under the first option, the scheme would be closed to new investment beyond those under construction or winning full financial commitment within a month of the change. This scenario would slash the target to about 15 per cent.
Under the second option, the target would be set at 20 per cent. The target would be reset each year and new renewable energy power stations be given approval only if electricity demand increased. The target was one of the few climate change-related measures to enjoy bipartisan support before last year’s election………
Any change proposed by the government will set the scene for another parliamentary fight, with Labor, the Greens and Palmer United Party all opposed.
Analysis conducted for the report found coal-fired power stations would be the biggest beneficiaries of a cut in the target. The review acknowledged that the scheme had lowered wholesale electricity prices and that its impact on household bills over time would be “relatively small”. But the panel found the cost for emissions-intensive companies was not justifiable, and called on the government to find lower cost alternatives to cut carbon emissions.
The Greens said it was no surprise that a review led by a climate sceptic had “trashed” the target. Greens leader Christine Milne said both options put forward would destroy the renewable energy sector. “I’m glad this dangerous and ignorant report is finally public so everyone can see it for the climate denier drivel it is,” she said.
It is expected to be at least a fortnight before the government responds. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/costs-of-australias-renewable-energy-target-not-justifiable-review-20140828-109m04.html#ixzz3BoVhIvbL.
Review of Renewable Energy Target helps fossil fuel lobby, aims to close large scale renewable energy schemes
RET Review panel calls for large-scale, solar schemes to close REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 28 August 2014 The RET Review panel appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has effectively rubber stamped the lobbying of the fossil fuel industry and called for the closure of Australia’s renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government.
It is also calling for the immediate closure, or rapid wind back, of the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which supports rooftop solar and solar hot water. It says this scheme should either close now, or by 2020 at the latest. It also says it should be restricted to installations of less than 10kW – effectively cutting out the commercial-scale solar market. (It was previously open to 100kW systems).
As for the large-scale scheme, the panel says the two options are effective closure to new entrants, or a form of modification to restrict it to a “real” 20 per cent of demand.
If the government accepts either of the recommendations, Australia would become the first country to either ditch a renewable energy target, or wind it back – in much the same way as it was the first to scrap a carbon price.
Abbott is said to be in favour of the most drastic action, which is effective closure to new entrants. He personally appointed the panel, rather than follow the statutory requirements to have the review done by the Climate Change Authority, which just 18 months ago rejected the same arguments that the new panel has now accepted.
Although any legislative changes will be resisted and probably stopped in the Senate, the uncertainty will be enough to kill investment in large scale renewables. Changes to the small scale target could be done without the need for parliamentary approval……..
Here is the full list of recommendations:……..
Australia’s Solar Soldiers http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4467 28 Aug 14 The Australian National University says it will seek to commercialise its design of a wearable solar panel system for soldiers after successful field tests demonstrated the technology could easily replace heavy battery packs normally used to power combat equipment.
The Soldier Integrated Power System (SIPS) was developed by scientists at the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. SIPS will dramatically reduce the weight members of the Australian Defence Force must now carry in order to power an increasingly tech-heavy arsenal.
“Much of the equipment carried by Australian soldiers requires heavy battery packs, such as night-vision goggles, lights, GPS devices and communication systems. Currently, soldiers depend on conventional batteries to power these devices,” said ANU Project Development Manager Dr Igor Skryabin.
Energy Matters reported on the ANU’s plan to integrate SLIVER cells into a solar vest for soldiers in 2011, when nations such as the USA and UK were fitting infantry with portable solar panels and inverters for use in combat missions. But the ANU team were primarily focused on designing a simple system that would ensure the mobility of Australian infantry.
The solar panel system is based on the ANU’s SLIVER solar cell – flexible solar cells the thickness of a human hair but with a high power-to-weight ratio of more than 200 watts per kilogram. They are also bi-facial, allowing either side of the cell to convert light to energy.
In a 72-hour field test under real mission conditions, the ANU flexible panels produced sufficient power to maintain battery charge. In sunny conditions the panels fully charged the batteries.
“The trials were performed by soldiers in a real mission environment with normal usage of power,” Dr Skryabin said. “Based on the success of this demonstration, ANU will be commercialising the project outcomes with industrial partners.”
The SIPS project was a collaboration between the ANU, CSIRO and Tectonica Australia, as part of a $2.3 million contract awarded under round 15 by the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Pandering to coal-fired utility companies. Tony Abbott is out to destroy the Renewable Energy Target
Abbott and some in his Cabinet are close to the coal-fired electricity generators whose business model the target is helping to destroy.
Unused to competition, even competition that coal-fired generators knew was coming, they feel wronged.
But their beef is nothing to that of the less well-connected solar and wind generators who would be hung out to dry by a changed or axed target.
They’ve invested $11 billion to date on the understanding that both sides of politics meant what they said when they set the requirement at 41,000 gigawatt hours. Some will go bankrupt if the Renewable Energy Target is abandoned. Others will never invest in Australia again.
Renewable energy target in the spotlight http://www.smh.com.au/comment/renewable-energy-target-in-the-spotlight-20140825-107zn1.html August 26, 2014 Peter Martin Economics Editor, The Age So concerned was Greg Hunt about the future of the solar industry that he went skydiving at Tooradin in his electorate of Flinders to back an industry he said was in freefall.
That was in 2008 when he was shadow environment minister. Labor had means tested its solar panel rebate. More recently, after the 2013 election, he promised $500 million for a One Million Solar Roofs program and a further $50 million each for a Solar Towns and Solar Schools program. He was going to plant 20 million trees and keep the Renewable Energy Target.
The budget killed his One Million Solar Roofs program, shrank his Solar Towns program to just over $2 million and made no mention of his Solar Schools program.
The Renewable Energy Target stands, just. Introduced by the Howard government in 2001, it forces electricity retailers to buy an increasing number of gigawatt hours of electricity from renewable sources peaking at 41,000 a year in 2020 and staying there for a decade.
It’s given foreign and Australian investors the confidence to build $10 billion of new wind and solar farms knowing there’ll be a market for what they produce.
Even better, it’s had bipartisan support. The targets are locked in by law.
Cutting or axing them mid stream would leave the investors stranded with little hope of making good on the money they’ve outlaid. Continue reading
It’s estimated that more than 20,000 people are employed in a variety of roles across the renewable industry sector, from construction to research and development. But the ongoing uncertainty is spooking a growing number of developers.From Adelaide, Matthew Doran reports. Continue reading
The organized opposition to the federal government’s moves to abolish or reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has begun. More than 500 people attended a rally in Brisbane to protest against changes to the RET. The Australian Solar Council launched a campaign against the federal government making changes to the RET. Its first event in the northeastern state of Queensland on Thursday attracted 500 attendees.
The council’s CEO John Grimes said that a clear message has been sent to the government that Australians in key electorates are willing to vote to defend renewable energy in the country.
“Tonight over 500 solar heroes have come forward to send a clear warning to the Abbott government,” said Grimes. He said the message to Abbott’s conservative government has been clear: “We love solar, solar saves us money on power bills [and] we will vote to defend the Renewable Energy Target!”
The Save Solar campaign has also raised the ire of the government. Environment Minister Greg Hunt slammed John Grimes on ABC Radio……..
“The Environment Minister should be attacking the Prime Minister’s radical plan to shut down the solar industry, not shooting the messenger,” said Grimes. “Today’s outburst shows how scared the Government is of this national campaign to Save Solar taking hold.”
There have been a host of surveys showing that Australians are supportive of renewable energy and the RET. With over 1.3 million solar households around the country, certainly a large number of people have first hand experience of solar.
The Australian Newspaper, a Rupert Murdoch owned publication that is generally skeptical of climate change and is often critical of renewable energy has been running a series of surveys about Australian’s attitudes towards renewables. In its most recent survey, it found that 88% of Australians support renewable energy, while only 8% report being “totally against.”
The Australian currently has a second survey live here.
Australia’s Clean Energy Council is also currently campaigning against changes to the RET. It’s CEO Kane Thornton argues that even a reduction of the RET to a “true 20%,” proposed as a compromise measure, would devastate the renewable energy industry in Australia. http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/australia–pro-solar-rally-slams-attack-on-renewable-target_100016170/#axzz3BRV0obrI
Solar giant to close Australian R&D unit August 22, 2014 Peter Hannam ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD A GIANT CHINESE SOLAR ENERGY FIRM, ORIGINALLY BASED ON AUSTRALIAN TECHNOLOGY, PLANS TO CLOSE ITS LOCAL RESEARCH ARM AMID CONCERNS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE COUNTRY.
Suntech, founded by Australian-trained former “Sun King” billionaire Shi Zhengrong, will next month close its Suntech R&D Australia unit with the loss of about a dozen jobs.
The company, now owned by a Hong Kong solar tycoon Cheng Kin Ming and renamed Wuxi Suntech, said in May it invests more than $3 million a year in Australian research and development.
“Suntech wants to continue a relationship with Australia, but it no longer makes the same sense to keep a research team [here],” Renate Egan, managing director of the Sydney-based R&D unit, said.
“Clearly the market’s not going to grow here,” Dr Egan said, referring to large-scale projects.
The government is yet to release the recommendations of its hand-picked panel reviewing the Renewable Energy Target. Clean energy investors fear the panel, headed by former Caltex chairman and climate change sceptic Dick Warburton, will back a cut of the current goal of supplying 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020 – if not scrap it entirely for new entrants……….
Richard Corkish, chief operating officer of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the UNSW, said the loss of the Suntech unit could see significant talent head overseas.
“We hope as big a fraction as possible [of the researchers] can remain in Australia,” Dr Corkish said, adding that there has “not been too much good news” lately for the industry’s outlook in Australia.
While Australia continues to conduct world-leading research into aspects of solar PV research – such as UNSW’s work on increasing the productivity of solar panels – the level of support is likely to shrink because of government cutbacks, Dr Corkish said.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency currently provides grants for UNSW, Monash University and other institutions.
However, the Abbott government has vowed to scrap the agency and is expected to try again in the Senate………
While Australia’s take-up of renewable energy may be about to slow markedly, other nations are likely to press ahead.
A research report out this week by investment giant UBS estimates solar panels combined with storage are likely to be competitive with conventional power grids by 2020. Battery prices are likely to halve by the decade’s end – and continue to fall – giving the solar-storage combination a payback period of six to eight years by then……..http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/solar-giant-to-close-australian-rd-unit-20140822-10758l.html
Australian Solar Council will campaign in marginal seats over Abbott’s broken promises on renewable energy
Australian Solar Council attacks Prime Minister’s ‘broken promises’ on renewable energy support ABC News, By Matt Eaton, 21 Aug 14 The Australian Solar Council is beginning a campaign to target marginal federal seats over so-called broken promises on support for renewable energy.
Solar council CEO John Grimes has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey of breaking a series of election promises by moving to abolish the renewable energy target (RET).
“This comes as a big surprise to many people in the community,” Mr Grimes told 612 ABC Brisbane.
The RET scheme commits Australia to a target of generating 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
“Before the election he [Mr Abbott] was committed to renewable energy, he was committed to the RET, he was committed to a million solar roofs,” Mr Grimes said.
“After the election, promise after promise broken, million solar roofs gone, the RET he wants abolished – he and Joe Hockey are working hard for that outcome……….
Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt and the Government would continue applying pressure to get their way.
“They will destroy any character, to stop this movement, to stop this gaining hold in the electorate,” he said.
“In that call, [Mr Hunt] told me that if I didn’t shut it down, that he would be launching a pointed, public attack at me and my character – that’s what he said to me on that call.”
Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt was under great pressure on the issue and needed to “attack his personal credibility”………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-21/solar-council-attacks-broken-promises-on-renewables/568606
Why the Renewable Energy Target never stood a chance, Smart Company, Thursday, 21 August 2014 GILES PARKINSON THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, CONFIRMED THE WORST FEARS OF THE RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN A FRONT-PAGE STORY ON MONDAY, REPORTING THAT THE PANEL CHARGED WITH REVIEWING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET HAD BEEN “INSTRUCTED” BY PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT TO LOOK AT WAYS TO SHUT DOWN THE SCHEME.
Shutting down the RET would bring to an end a $20 billion industry, cost thousands of jobs and force household and business bills to soar. But that is what the government has wanted from the beginning. It appointed a panel composed of climate sceptics, pro-nuclear advocates and fossil fuel lobbyists.
Killing the RET would satisfy the right-wing ideologues and deep-lined antipathy to renewable energy within the Abbott government. The AFR also confirms what has long been suspected: that Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have been effectively sidelined from the process, despite the issue crossing into their portfolios.
The PM’s office has had carriage of the project since the start, and his intentions have long been clear. The secretarial support has been housed within Abbott’s office — and within reach of his principal business advisers, including climate sceptic and renewables opponent Maurice Newman and Abbott’s own energy adviser, former AGL executive Sarah McNamara.
Government insiders who have worked on the RET Review say the intent of the review has always been to cut the current 41,000GWh Renewable Energy Target to a maximum of 25,000GWh (what might be called a “true” 20% target), and possibly close it to new entrants altogether.
There were glimmers of hope that the RET could be retained, particularly when the panel’s own modeling dismissed the two major arguments to drop the target …….
A report released today by consulting firm Jacobs, on behalf of The Climate Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF Australia, says that the biggest beneficiaries to dumping the RET would be the fossil fuel generators. The Jacobs report suggested $8 billion in additional profits to coal-fired generators out to 2030 and an extra $2 billion to gas generators. The big three retailers, AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, would be the biggest beneficiaries………
Whether the Abbott government finally agrees with a scaled back target or an effective closure, any changes seem likely to be blocked in the Senate, where the Palmer United Party has promised to side with Labor and the Greens.
But it matters not. The large-scale renewable energy industry has already ground to a halt. No new projects have reached financial closure since the election of the Abbott government, and the Abbott government knows that even by doing nothing — apart from allowing continued uncertainty — no new projects will come to market.
Households will also be affected. They have so far contributed $12 billion of the $18 billion invested in renewables over recent years, initially driven by generous feed — in tariffs and then as a hedge against rising electricity prices once those tariffs were removed. The government, though, can remove some of those remaining incentives that defray the upfront cost of the system, without needing legislative changes. Industry experts say that could cause the rooftop solar market to fall by one-third or even half, with the loss of thousands of jobs.
Meanwhile, state governments — with huge vested interests in state-owned networks and generators — continue to act against renewables. The Western Australian government is even canvassing importing coal from Indonesia rather than moving to develop renewable energy projects at home, while in Queensland, businesses have been hit by a whopping $500-a-day service charge (essentially to read the meter) to dissuade them from installing solar………
ome international groups, such as US solar developer Recurrent Energy, have already packed up. Others, including Goldwind and Trina, have warned of the potential fallout, while Australian groups Pacific Hydro and Infigen Energy are directing their efforts overseas.
The Australian Solar Council echoed the CEC remarks. It is taking its “Save Solar” campaign to marginal electorates, with the first stop at the northern Brisbane seat of Petrie, held by the LNP’s Luke Howarth, this Thursday. The ability to make solar a potent political issue — many marginal electorates boast more than 20% solar penetration — appears to be their last resort.
“Solar saves money, creates jobs and shifts votes. The Abbott government is about to find out how much Australians love solar and the Renewable Energy Target,” American Solar Council CEO John Grimes said. http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/economy/43378-why-the-renewable-energy-target-never-stood-a-chance.html#
Abbott’s plan to axe RET Financial Review, PHILLIP COOREY Chief political correspondent, 18 Aug 14 The federal government is moving towards abolishing the Renewable Energy Target rather than scaling it back in a move that will cost almost $11 billion in proposed investment and which is at odds with the views of its own Environment Minister.
The Australian Financial Review understands Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked businessman Dick Warburton, whom he handpicked after the election to review the RET, to do more work on the option of terminating the target altogether. This was after Mr Warburton’s review leant towards scaling back the RET.
Sources said Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who advocated scaling back the RET as a compromise, has been sidelined from the process and is understood to be unhappy. They said Mr Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann are pushing the issue now.
A government source said when the government announced its decision, possibly before the end of this month, it was now “more likely’’ the RET will be abolished under a so-called “closed to new entrants scenario’’ in which existing contracts only would be honoured.
Given Clive Palmer has vowed to block any change to the RET until after the 2016 election, it remains unclear when the government could declare the RET terminated.
Independent modelling commissioned by the Climate Institute and other environmental groups, and which will be released Monday, found that under the termination scenario, coal-fired power generators would reap an extra $25 billion in profits between 2015 and 2030.
There would be no reduction to household power prices and carbon emissions would climb by 15 million tonnes a year on the back of a 9 percent increase in coal-fired power.
Abolishing the RET would diminish investment in renewable energy by $10.6 billion, said the modelling, conducted by consulting firm Jacobs…….
Miles George, managing director of renewable company Infigen Energy, said either scaling back or terminating the RET “would be devastating”.
He said the creation of sovereign risk would be significant and the very issue had been raised by prospective foreign investors, including Canadian pension funds which Mr Abbott sought to woo when abroad in June.
“Infigen’s shareholder base of over 20,000 investors has invested in renewable energy in Australia on the basis of a fixed target of 41,000 GWh by 2020,’’ Mr George said. “This is no different to investors in private public partnerships acquiring a toll road concession, or a port lease.
“If the Government pulls the rug from under institutional investors in renewable energy we shouldn’t expect those investors to come back to buy other infrastructure assets here, including the electricity networks and generation assets that the governments of NSW and Queensland are proposing to sell or lease.” http://www.afr.com/p/national/abbott_plan_to_axe_ret_H2znp8ix2CuwbJe6jyb5ZP
RET review swamped by pro-clean energy submissions, The Age, August 17, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The overwhelming majority of submissions received by the Abbott government’s hand-picked panel reviewing the Renewable Energy Target back its goals.
Analysis by the Clean Energy Council of the 865 detailed submissions found 754, or more than 87 per cent, in favour of the RET being retained or expanded. Of the rest, 55 were mixed or neutral, and 56 called for it to be abolished.
When the 23,272 community submissions are added, support swells closer to 99 per cent, the council said.
“Five years ago when the [RET] was expanded with bipartisan support, Australians overwhelmingly wanted more clean energy – and that is more apparent now than ever,” Kane Thornton, the council’s acting chief executive, said.
Meanwhile, a separate Senate inquiry into the government’s plan to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency found 125 of the 127 submissions in favour of retaining the body, the council said. ARENA provides grants to emerging clean energy technologies…. http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/ret-review-swamped-by-proclean-energy-submissions-20140817-1050j1.html#ixzz3Amte0SEG
Sandi Keane: Citizens unite against Alcoa’s dirty brown coal mine and pitiful power plant
The Victorian Napthine Government’s dismal record on stewardship of the environment is only equalled by its blatant disregard for the health and welfare of some of its citizens — especially the most vulnerable, our children. In May this year, with its smelter operation due to close this month, Alcoa was issued a fresh licence to generate and sell its electricity into the grid. This filthy, sulphur-belching brown coal plant at Angelsea on Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road – now up for sale – operates just over one kilometre from a primary school and 500 metres from residents’ homes.
This is the Government that demanded two kilometre setbacks for clean energy wind farms. In spite of the 2011 Senate finding and twenty reviews since proving no link between wind turbines and illness, the Government’s complicity in fostering these debunked claims saw an estimated $3 billion in wind investment go into free-fall.
So much for Victoria’s slice of the future low carbon economy. That’s the price Victorians and future generations will pay for the lax donor laws in this country that allow vested interests, like mining and developers, to launder millions into Liberal party campaign coffers through so-called trusts (as recently revealed by ICAC in New South Wales) and, thus, dictate policy outcomes. …
Denis Napthine once damned the Labor Government as “hypocritical when it comes to climate change” but has watered down the bilateral agreement with the former Labor Government of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 to just “aspirational” only. As the saying goes: ‘If you take the King’s shilling, you do the King’s bidding.’
Renewable Energy Target cut would hit budget: modelling, The Conversation, 18 Aug 14 Michelle Grattan Professorial Fellow at University of Canberra “……..The current arrangement (including the large-scale RET plus existing hydro and small-scale solar PV panels) would lead to about 28% of national electricity coming from renewables by 2020-21. The modelling looked at capping it at 20% (the “reduced” scenario) as well as abolishing the RET altogether.
Reduction of the large-scale RET as proposed by some power companies would bring $8 billion extra profit to coal and $2 billion to gas generators (net present value of future profits 2015-30).
Under current ownership arrangements, EnergyAustralia is the company that would stand to gain the most. Its potential extra profit would be about $1.9 billion if the RET were reduced (and $2.2 billion if it was abolished).
But “if AGL purchases Macquarie Generation, it would become by far the biggest beneficiary of reducing the RET”, with combined extra profits of $2.7 billion if the RET were reduced.
“Origin Energy’s total extra profit would be about $1.5 billion. Origin owns the power station that would emit the largest amount of additional pollution under a reduced RET.” ……..http://theconversation.com/renewable-energy-target-cut-would-hit-budget-modelling-30598
Greenpeace slams Big 3 “dirty” energy retailers http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/greenpeace-slams-dirty-big-3-energy-retailers-43991 By Giles Parkinson on 15 August 2014 Environmental group Greenpeace has slammed the “Big 3” energy retailers in Australia, accusing them of “greenwash” and doing little to promote the adoption of green energy.
Among the worst greenwash offenders it says are AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy – the biggest retailers in the country with more than three quarters of the national market.
“The ‘Dirty Three’ go to great efforts to advertise their ‘clean and green’ credentials but invest relatively little in renewables,” Greenpeace says in its new Green Electricity Guide.
“The ‘Dirty Three’ are also using their political muscle to try to dismantle the Renewable Energy Target. “This means locking out solar and wind, and locking in higher household bills and climate change driving coal and gas power for decades to come.” Continue reading
View more articles from Kirsten Lawson With the country’s biggest solar farm in Canberra’s south about to go live, Environment Minister Simon Corbell has defended the controversial Uriarra solar farm in the face of bushfire concerns and overwhelming opposition from local residents.
Mr Corbell said the 20MW array off the Monaro Highway at Royalla, which will go live in a couple of weeks, was twice the size of any other solar farm in the country and the largest feeding into the national grid. Its nearest rival was a 10MW solar farm in Western Australia.
He said the Uriarra solar project, now in planning, would also be 10MW and its significance on the national scale should not be underestimated. He rejected residents’ characterisation of the 27-hectare solar array at Uriarra as an industrial site.
“These are PV panels sitting in a field,” he told the ACT Assembly. “They don’t create noise, they don’t create emissions, they don’t create all of those things that are associated with an industrial plant. But, of course, the opponents … want to characterise it as that because in doing so … they hope to attach the emotional language that comes with industrial, manufacturing or mining or other resource-intense facility.”
The solar farm was low impact, environmentally beneficial and simply harnessed the power of sunlight, Mr Corbell said………
The Liberals’ Andrew Wall said the project had a litany of flaws, including the damage it would do to property values in Uriarra and the bushfire risk. Residents were not opposed to solar power but to the site, he said.
But Mr Corbell rejected concerns about the power line, saying the village was already powered by an overhead electricity line through the same corridor as the planned solar-farm line.
The ActewAGL line is 11V, but Mr Corbell said it was “not a big difference when it comes to starting a fire”. “One spark will start a fire, it doesn’t matter about the power of the line,” he said.
Farmers wanted solar and wind farms because it helped them diversify and access a reliable income stream, he said.
The importance of the project should not be underestimated at a time when the federal government was sending a message to companies and countries around the world that Australia was not interested in renewable energy.
When Royalla begins operating in September, ActewAGL will pay it $186 for each megawatt hour fed into the grid. The company is expected to generate about 37,000 megawatt hours a year, and the maximum it will be paid for is 42,293 megawatt hours. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/national-significance-of-uriarra-solar-should-not-be-underestimated-says-act-environment-minister-simon-corbell-20140814-103www.html#ixzz3AcIlV6Od