Environment Victoria has welcomed the opening of a 1.5MW solar demonstration project in Mildura today.
But the group claims the opening has highlighted the broken election promise of the Victorian Government to deliver big solar for the state and fears this development could be the last for many years unless the government delivers on its election commitment.
At the 2010 election, the Liberal-National Coalition made the following promise:
“A Liberals National Coalition Government will promote the development of solar power generation with the aim of securing 5 per cent of Victoria’s energy generation from solar power by 2020”1 (equivalent to 2500 GWh)
Since winning the election the government has made no progress on their commitment and currently has no plan to achieve this target. The government has however slashed the solar feed-in tariff twice.
Environment Victoria’s Safe Climate Campaign Manager said today:
“We welcome the opening of the Mildura Solar Demonstration facility today, and look forward to the project reaching its full scale of 100MW. At that size, it will be capable of powering 40,000 homes.
“This is a really exciting project for Victoria, but unless the government changes its tune on clean energy we won’t see other projects like this one for many years.”
Environment Victoria noted that while state government money has assisted the Mildura Development, this was allocated under the previous government.
“Unfortunately the Napthine Government has failed to support this major growth industry, and has in fact put the brakes on instead.
“The Napthine government has completely failed to deliver on a major election commitment for Victoria to get 5% of our electricity from solar power by 2020, and currently has no plan to make this happen.
“Instead of supporting investment in solar from big companies, small business, community groups and families, this government has pulled the rug out from under the solar industry by twice cutting support for those who want to put solar on their roof.
“Victoria is blessed with fantastic potential for solar energy, and we could see billions of dollars worth of investment into this industry and the new jobs it brings right across regional Victoria.
“With a real plan to source our energy from solar power, Victoria could see investment and jobs in big solar right across North East, Northern and Western Victoria.
“This government is stuck in the past with big plans to develop more brown coal, but no recognition of the benefits our state economy could realise with serious support for clean solar power.”
1. The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Plan for Energy and Resources, p.17