Tony Abbott with his team has once again generated a conflict on renewable energy by placing a ban on rooftop and small-scale solar investment except the largest commercial scale projects, right after placing a ban on wind energy investment.
The directive has been forwarded to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) by Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Minister of Finance, Mathias Cormann indicating that small-scale solar should not be included in the $10 billion anticipated renewable energy investment.
The tentative directive has addressed the exclusion of “mature and established clean energy technologies from the CEFC’s projects, including existing wind energy, and residential and small-scale solar”.
The CEFC reluctantly responded indicating that it will seek legal directions and has promised investors that the current directive will not have an effect on the existing renewable energy deals.
Not long ago the CEFC agreed an AUD 100 million arrangement with Origin Energy to support a contract on solar energy programme.
Chief Executive of Australian Solar Council, John Grimes has blamed the Abbott Government of exhibiting “cynical politic” after Tony Abbott dictated that his government backs renewable energy but would want to “limit the upward pressure on electricity prices”.
Mr Grimes stated that CEFC had made investment in small-scale solar affordable for low-income residents as well as retirees, to be able to reduce their electricity bills, hence the recent directive will negatively affect the poor in the country.
“Tony Abbott is keeping people trapped paying higher electricity prices,” Mr Grimes told Fairfax Media.
“By prohibiting the CEFC from investing in solar projects, the Abbott government is stopping the most vulnerable from slashing their power bills”.
“The Corporation is taking advice in relation to the draft mandate and will respond to the Ministers in accordance with the procedure set out in section 66 of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 and will be providing any substantive comment on the mandate in that context,” the Clean Energy Finance Corporation stated.
Mr Grime emphatically added, “This is about punishing solar families and businesses that stood up to him during the review of the Renewable Energy Target. Now he is using any means available to him to get even,”making reference to the long-lasting conflicts over the Australia’s renewable energy target, which Abbott was keen to see stop.
The Abbott government has firmly stated that it is solely making changes to funding of less established technologies and nothing more.
Shalailah M., July 12, 2015. Abbott government extends renewable energy investment ban to solar power:http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/12/abbott-government-extends-ban-on-renewable-energy-to-solar-panels?CMP=soc_567. [Accessed July 13, 2015]
Heath A., July 13, 2015. Government pulls the plug on household solar:http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-pulls-the-plug-on-household-solar-20150712-gian0u.html. [Accessed July 13, 2015]
AUTHOR: DOUGLAS YEBOAH