Today I read that the state government of Victoria has kicked the renewable energy industry fair and squarely in the goolies. Not once mind you, but two kicks in the same week.
A few days ago, the planning laws for Wind farms became the most restrictive in Australia. There are some details at the Department of Planning and Community Development. This is what Environment Victoria have to say about the changes.
“On Monday, the Baillieu Government announced their new wind policy – banning new wind farms in whole regions of the state, and allowing any resident across Victoria to put a stop to a wind farm within 2km of their home.
This is an unprecedented attack on Victoria’s clean energy industry, and according to industry sources jeopardises up to $3 billion of investment in the state.
With this new policy in place, Premier Baillieu has now made it easier to build a coal-fired power station or coal mine in Victoria than it is to build a wind farm. Read more here, and comment on our blog>“
So today the second kick in the pants, came in the form of the rapid phasing out of the Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff that was legislated in December 2009. Victoria’s premium solar feed in tariff incentive program that currently pays 60c per kilowatt hour for surplus electricity exported to the mains grid will not be accepting applications after the end of this month. A new transitional system paying 25c per kilowatt hour is expected take its place from January.
A statement from the Minister for Energy and Resources.
“Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien said the new arrangement would provide a “fair and reasonable incentive” for Victorian households to install home solar power systems and the new rate will still allow for a reasonable payback time.
“Unlike many other states, which have closed down all feed-in tariff schemes, Victoria’s TFIT will provide a fairer, more sustainable approach which reduces the boom/bust cycle for the industry,” said Mr O’Brien.
The new TFIT will offer participants in the scheme 25 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity that is fed back into the grid from their rooftop solar power systems. The new scheme is expected to be available from 1 January 2012 and will be applicable to systems with a capacity of five kilowatts or less. The Tariff will be available for five years from the scheme’s commencement.
Solar households already participating in the Premium Feed In Tariff scheme will not be affected by the changes.
Mr O’Brien stressed that people who have already paid a deposit or are currently having a system installed must ensure all the required paperwork has been submitted before September 30.
Minister O’Brien also stated people purchasing a solar power system from today would be “very unlikely” to have enough time to qualify for the current premium rate of 60c per kilowatt hour.”
So not only is there a void in schemes for 3 months, the price of electricity is now almost on par with the price of the feed-in tariff. How ridiculous and short sighted of our politicians.
All the while, they still are accepting applications for coal fired power stations in this state, and applications to begin exploratory brown coal mining about 25 km from our town, just over in Bacchus March, which is one of the few remaining salad bowls for Melbourne and prime agricultural land.
Some one needs to kick this government in the goolies. I don’t think they are taking our current climate crisis seriously, do you? Let me leave you with a fitting quote by Winston Churchill who knew what to do in a crisis.
“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong, these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”