Media Releases | 15th Oct, 2006

New solar power welcomed but Hazelwood windfall slammed

Wednesday, 15 October 2006

Environment Victoria has welcomed Federal and State Government funding for a multi-million dollar solar project in Victoria’s north as a boost to the renewable energy sector.

Environment Victoria executive director Marcus Godinho said, “Australia’s potential to capture solar energy is one of the greatest in the world. Countries with much less sun than us – such as Germany and Japan – have embraced solar energy and it’s not before time.’’

“By adopting simple renewable-friendly legislation, Australia’s solar industry could rival world leaders Germany and Japan, bringing with it more jobs and export dollars for the nation.”

“We need more projects like this if we are going to reduce our global warming pollution.”

Mr Godinho said the solar power plant would be the biggest in the world contributing substantial amounts of electricity to the national grid while creating no greenhouse pollution.

However, Environment Victoria said the multi-million dollar gift of taxpayer dollars to Hazelwood power station was a misuse of the public purse.
“Instead of more handouts to the most greenhouse polluting power station in Australia, public money should be spent on new gas power plants and renewable energy.

“The Government’s gift will reduce pollution levels in only one of Hazelwood’s units. The emissions from this unit will still be at least twice the pollution levels of gas-fired power stations and no substitute for renewable energy.

“Hazelwood already receives millions of dollars in subsidies from the public purse, another $80 million is simply adding insult to injury.’’

Environment groups are calling on the Government to phase out Hazelwood, and have the station shut down within 10 years to be replaced by gas and renewable energy sources.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, with the Premier linking it to bushfires, drought and less water in our rivers and dams in recent weeks. Now Mr Bracks needs to take real action to respond to our climate crisis. With an election just weeks away, climate change is a true test of the Premier’s leadership and vision for Victoria.”

Environment group’s number one ask of all political parties in the lead-up to the November state election is to commit to cutting global warming pollution 20% by 2020, based on 1990 levels.

“Unless governments commit to targets for reducing pollution levels then funding announcements such as today appear to be ad hoc.

“The test of any Government’s performance on climate change is whether greenhouse pollution levels are increasing or decreasing. Victoria now produces 6 million tonnes each year more than when Labor came to power – the equivalent of putting 1 million cars on the road.