Media Releases | 6th May, 2009

‘Now’s your big chance Ted’, solar protestors tell Victorian Liberals

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

More than 100 concerned Victorians today gathered on the steps of Parliament to condemn the Brumby Government’s proposed solar feed-in tariff as a fake, and to call on the Opposition and other parties to improve the flawed legislation when it is voted on in the Upper House.

Environment Victoria’s campaigns director Mark Wakeham said today’s protesters called particularly on the Liberals and Nationals, to take the opportunity to deliver the support for Victoria’s solar industry that the Brumby Government has not provided.

“The Brumby Government has failed to deliver clean, affordable solar power for Victorians and new green collar jobs across the State. It’s now the moment of truth for Ted Baillieu’s Liberals and the other Upper House parties. It’s time to improve the scheme and ensure a sunny future for Victoria’s solar industry,” he said.

Damien Moyse, the Alternative Technology Association’s (ATA) Energy Projects and Policy Manager, said the government’s proposed ‘net tariff’ scheme would not make it economically attractive for Victorians to invest in solar panels because it did not value all of the energy they produced.

“The scheme we are advocating for, known as a gross feed-in tariff, involves premium payments to solar panel owners for all the solar energy they produce,” he said.

“Under the Premier’s scheme this won’t happen and community buildings and small businesses, including farmers, will be totally excluded – despite the government’s election promise to include businesses.

“A Sustainability Victoria report tabled in Parliament, found that up to 2000 jobs could be created under the gross feed-in tariff scheme that we’ve been calling for. Today we’re asking why the government is turning its back on 2000 new green solar jobs for Victorians during these tough economic times.”

Moreland Energy Foundation CEO Paul Murfitt said although the government’s tariff had been altered to lift the subsidy cap from a proposed 2 kilowatts to 3.2 kilowatts (kW) an hour, it would still not provide enough support for Victorians to invest in renewable energy.

“The scheme must value energy produced from systems up to 10kW if we are going to encourage families and organisations to invest in solar systems big enough to feed large volumes of energy back into the grid,” he said.

“If the government is serious about supporting community action on climate change, they’d be supporting a real feed-in tariff, and helping communities to make the solar switch.”

Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth said it was disappointing that the Government had missed this opportunity for real action on climate change.

“The ALP has failed to learn from the experience of over 40 nations in designing its solar scheme. Now it’s over to the Liberals, the National Party, the Greens and the DLP to improve the legislation and make it work,” he said.

“This is Ted Baillieu’s big opportunity to demonstrate his green credentials and create a thriving industry and new jobs.”

View the Herald Sun article on Wednesday’s solar feed-in tariff protest

Read The Age article on Wednesday’s solar feed-in tariff protest and Environment Victoria’s views on the State Budget