Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

SA Liberal Home Battery Support Welcome But Scrapping SA Renewable Target Leaves SA at Whim of Divided Federal Government

Solar Citizens has welcomed the South Australian Liberal Opposition’s $100 million commitment to supporting South Australian solar households to take up battery storage but says scrapping the state based renewable goal in the face of federal inaction is a major missed opportunity.

“Renewable energy with storage is the cheapest way to cut pollution and power bills so it’s positive to see the South Australian Liberals backing solar households with battery storage and funding for grid scale storage. More solar and storage will support all South Australians with cleaner and cheaper power,” Dan Spencer, South Australian campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“Sadly, Steven Marshall’s Liberals have missed a big opportunity by committing to scrap South Australia’s 50% renewable goal, something that plays into the hands of a divided Federal Government with no plan for renewables post 2020. Scrapping SA’s renewable target is a retrograde move that sends the wrong message and it will be vehemently opposed by the South Australian community,” Mr Spencer said.

“With a strong and sensible state renewable target that drives new renewables and storage, South Australia could be a renewable superpower. Scrapping South Australia’s existing renewable goal just does not make sense and South Australians will not support it,” Mr Spencer said.

Solar Citizens says the Liberals’ plan to replace the state-owned gas plant should instead be a plan for new renewables with storage.

“Rather than replacing the state-owned gas plant with a reverse auction for existing generation, the SA Liberals should commit to run a reverse auction for new clean renewables with backup storage to make South Australia less reliant on uncompetitive, polluting gas” Mr Spencer said.

Solar Citizens says policy to support people on low incomes and renters to access the benefits of renewable energy with storage remains an enormous gap and must be prioritised by all parties in the lead-up to the March 2017 state election.

“Solar Citizens urges all political parties ahead of the SA election to support people currently locked out of the benefits of renewables with storage to have access to clean and cheap power,” Mr Spencer said.

Positives in the Liberal Plan

  • $100 million for household battery storage.

  • $50 million for grid scale storage.

  • Establish a renewable energy zone between SA and NSW with funding for increased interconnection.

Negatives in the Liberal Plan

  • Scrapping the South Australian 50% renewables goal which sends a negative message to investors and leaves policy for new generation with the Federal Government who are walking away from a Clean Energy Target and has no plan for renewables post 2020.

  • A reverse auction that benefits existing private gas generators to supply unused capacity. Solar Citizens recommends replacing this with a reverse auction for new renewables with storage.

For media inquiries: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632

SA Plan to Bring States Together Welcome As Federal Government Refuses to Back Responsible Clean Energy Plan

Solar Citizens has welcomed South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s call for the states to jointly create a Clean Energy Target following reports the Federal Government is signalling it will wash its hands of responsibility for energy policy.

“Australians want sensible policies to deliver clean and affordable energy so it’s welcome to see South Australia offering to work with other states on a Clean Energy Target, given the Federal Government appears to refuse to take responsibility,” Claire O’Rourke National Director of Solar Citizens said.

“South Australia’s leadership on renewable energy with storage is putting the Federal Government to shame and it’s welcome news that South Australia is looking to bring states together around a joint energy plan,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Renewable energy and storage is now the cheapest form of new electricity. The time is now for a plan to use Australia’s abundant sun, wind and waves to power our nation. If the Federal Government walks away from any national clean energy target, this transition will be held back and push up power prices for everyone,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“It’s outrageous that the people running the country can’t come up with sensible policies for clean and affordable power and seem to be to busy playing politics in Canberra to act,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens with GetUp! jointly commissioned the Homegrown Power Plan which puts forward policies to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

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For media inquiries: Steph Gray 0425 543 006

Federal Government Can’t Wash Its Hands of a Renewable Energy Future

Solar Citizens says Prime Minister Turnbull and Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg cannot wash their hands of Australia’s energy policy following reports the government is moving away from implementing a Clean Energy Target.

“Australians want sensible policies to deliver clean and affordable energy and all Australians will be let down if the Federal Government continues to wash its hands of any responsibility to deliver it,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“It’s an absolute outrage that the people running the country can’t come up with sensible policies for clean and affordable power and seem to be too busy playing politics in Canberra to act wisely,” Ms O’Rourke said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill today indicated the states could go it alone with a clean energy target after urging the Federal Government to get out of the way.

“It’s welcome news that South Australia is looking to bring states together around a joint energy plan - what other choice do states have if the Federal Government can’t get it together and make a plan that helps people with rising power bills?,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Renewable energy and storage is now the cheapest form of new electricity. The time is now for a plan to use Australia’s abundant sun, wind and waves to power our nation. If the Federal Government walks away from any national clean energy target, this transition will be held back and push up power prices for everyone,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens with GetUp! jointly commissioned the Homegrown Power Plan which puts forward policies to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

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For media inquiries: Steph Gray 0425 543 006

Queensland’s solar boom leads the country – cutting bills and creating jobs

For the first time, Queensland has overtaken NSW in creating jobs in the renewable energy industry.

The monthly Renewable Energy Index calculates there are almost 6,500 Queenslanders working in the renewable energy sector.

“This is a win-win-win situation for Queensland – the solar boom is creating jobs, cutting power bills and reducing climate pollution” said Solar Citizens Queensland Campaign Manager Louise Matthiesson.

“Right now there are 20 large-scale renewable energy projects under construction in the Sunshine State.

“Those projects are spread throughout regional Queensland, from Normanton to Dalby and they are creating enough jobs to employ 5,203 people full time for a year.

“The Sunshine State is becoming the Sun-powered State. We simply don’t need another expensive, dirty, coal fired power station.

“Families and businesses are also joining the solar boom, with 4000 rooftop solar systems installed in Queensland during August.

The report calculates that these new rooftop solar systems will deliver $47 million in power bill savings for Queenslanders over the next 10 years.

“That’s an average saving of over $1000 a year for every family and business that went solar during August.

The rooftop solar revolution continues to support jobs and small businesses across Queensland, with 1,287 jobs created installing rooftop solar systems last month.

“We know that many people on modest incomes invest in solar because it pays for itself over just a few years, but Government must do more to help renters and disadvantaged households share in the benefits of the solar boom” she said.

Media contact: 
Louise Matthiesson, Solar Citizens Queensland Campaign Manager ph. 0406 041 428

Further information:
The monthly Renewable Energy Index is produced by respected industry analysts Green Energy Markets and funded by GetUp! The full report can be downloaded here.

Fairer access to solar a win for regional Qld consumers, small businesses

Today’s announcement by the Palaszczuk Government to expand the feed-in tariff for rooftop solar in regional Queensland is sensible policy that stands to help consumers and businesses, says Solar Citizens.

Households and businesses on the Ergon network in regional Queensland will be able to receive the mandated feed-in tariff of 10.1c/kWh for rooftop solar systems sized up to 30kW instead of 5kW.

“This is great news for solar and great news for regional Queensland households and businesses,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“Broadening the feed-in tariff program to include bigger rooftop solar systems is a game changer for small businesses and households in regional Queensland who are struggling with the costs of electricity,” she said.

“Installing rooftop solar is the only guaranteed way for everyday Queenslanders to take control of rising power bills.

“This is exactly the sort of policy that’s needed to increase the uptake of rooftop solar and meet the Government’s commitment of 1 million solar roofs (3 gigawatts) by 2020.

“Solar puts downward pressure on power bills because it helps take the stress off the network at peak times, such as when everyone switches on their air conditioners on hot days. This announcement will mean more solar on rooftops all over regional Queensland, helping all electricity consumers in the Sunshine State with their power prices.

“Queenslanders know that harvesting the power from the sun is the best way to go with over 520,000 households and businesses taking power back into their own hands and generating clean, cheap solar power on their own rooftops.

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Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

LNP renewables roadmap a dead end for clean energy

The LNP has come to the table with a renewable energy plan but it’s sorely lacking says advocacy organisation Solar Citizens.

In Townsville at the Solar Council’s Powering North Queensland Summit, the
LNP launched their ‘Powering Renewable Energy 5 Point Plan’ while Premier Palaszczuk reiterated her commitment to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

“This needs to be the start of renewable energy policy announcements from both parties - there is much more to be done,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“The LNP policy is sorely lacking in substance. Queensland has the lowest uptake of renewable energy in the country and there’s no time to waste in getting to 100% clean, cheap renewable energy asap.

“This isn’t a plan that can be taken seriously while the LNP muddies the water with a misguided attack on a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 and insists on pushing yesterday’s technology: dirty, coal-fired power generation.

“The LNP needs to come back with more sensible, detailed policy on the rapid, orderly transition to renewables, to provide the industry with the certainty it needs to bring investment, jobs and affordable renewable power to Queensland.

“Today’s summit makes clear that investment is happening here and now in renewable energy projects and that there is no future in coal-fired power stations.

“To make sure all Queenslanders can benefit from the global renewable energy boom, politicians of all stripes must commit to a robust renewable energy target, invest in large-scale renewable energy projects and ensure that household solar is able to continue its strong growth.

“Queenslanders know that harvesting the power from the sun is the best way to go with over 500,000 households and businesses taking power back into their own hands and generating clean, cheap solar power on their own rooftops.

“That’s more than 1 million solar voters who’ll head to the ballot box at the next election, which is a constituency politicians ignore at their peril.

“In the Sunshine State, going solar just makes sense. The major political parties need to do the right thing by Queenslanders and ensure our Sunshine State is a leader in the race to 100% clean, renewable energy sources,” Ms Tager said.

Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

Victorian Renewable Energy Legislation good news for the state.

Solar Citizens applauds the Victorian Government’s leadership on renewable energy with the introduction of legislation for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) and the largest renewable energy auction in Australia of 650 megawatts.

“The VRET legislation and reverse auction are critical in getting Victoria on the path to 100% clean, renewable energy as soon and as cheaply as possible,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“This is good news for Victoria, more renewable energy means more jobs, more investment and cheaper electricity bills.

“Victorians clearly love solar with over 300,000 households and small businesses generating clean power from rooftop solar, this news means even more households will be powered by the sun.

“We congratulate the Andrews government for their leadership on renewable energy.

“While the Federal Government is missing in action on renewable energy policy, we’re once again seeing the states and territories leading the way when it comes to ensuring Australia has a clean, renewable energy future.

Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

Win for solar owners with solar charges dropped

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has dropped the proposal to let power network companies charge solar owners for feeding their electricity to the grid in the face of community opposition. [1]

“It was an outrageous proposal to begin with and has been rightly taken off the table. 2,500 solar owners across Australia made it very clear to the AEMC that this was an unacceptable approach and they should not be charged for exporting their clean solar power to the grid,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“This is a big win for the 1.7 million Australian households that have stumped up their own money to put solar on their roof and take back control of their power bills.

“Rooftop solar delivers clear benefits across the community and solar owners should not be charged for their clean, renewable power.

“The big power stations don’t have to pay to export the energy they generate to the grid and solar households shouldn’t have to pay either.

“This is the second time that the AEMC have tried to introduce similar charges and have been forced to back down in the face of opposition by solar owners.

For media inquiries: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

[1] http://www.aemc.gov.au/News-Center/What-s-New/Announcements/Distribution-Market-Model-Final-Report

Building Solar Thermal in Port Augusta Shines Light on Australia’s Big Renewable Opportunity

Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government’s sensible decision to back building the one of the world’s biggest solar thermal plants with storage in Port Augusta shines a light on Australia’s opportunity to make an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy, according to Solar Citizens.

“Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government should be congratulated for listening to the community and backing solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta,” Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens said.

“South Australia is showing Australia what is necessary to get on with the job of getting us to a 100% solar and renewable-powered electricity supply. Building solar thermal in Port Augusta, plus the world’s biggest battery shines a light on how we power Australia with plentiful sun, wind and waves,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens said the Federal Government must now produce a plan to repower Australia with 100% renewable energy.

“24 hour solar power is a reality for Australia, right here, right now. It’s time for the Federal Government to help consumers by making an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy sources,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“South Australia will reap the benefits of taking action early to build renewables with storage. Now, it’s up to the Turnbull Government to help the rest of the nation catch up,” Ms O’Rourke said.

For media inquiries: Brami Jegan 0448 276 945

Policy Needed To Ensure All Benefit from Clean and Affordable Solar with Storage

Solar Citizens is urging all sides of politics to commit to policies that support all South Australians, regardless of income, to have access to rooftop solar with storage as it becomes more affordable than ever.

The call follows reports today citing energy expert Bruce Mountain’s analysis that solar with storage is now cheaper than grid electricity in our great state.

“Experts are now saying that rooftop solar with storage is the most affordable power option for South Australians, which is good news but our politicians must make sure all citizens can access the benefits of the rooftop revolution,” Dan Spencer South Australian campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“There’s never been a better time to go solar and all across South Australia households have recognised this with solar installations booming and over 210,000 solar systems installed across our state” Mr Spencer said.

“Building an energy system that is clean and affordable starts with everyday South Australian’s rooftops. South Australian politicians should be putting forward policies like putting solar and batteries onto public housing to be used as a virtual power network for tenants and the broader community, a public interest retailer to support people on low incomes through the transition and to incentivise landlords to invest in solar and storage for renters,” he said.

“Already we’ve seen the government trial solar on public housing so some of the groundwork is underway - and that’s a good thing.

“We need policies and regulation that ensure a flexible electricity system where households can trade their cheap, clean sun-power with their neighbours and help power our schools, hospitals and small businesses.

“South Australia has a choice, get through the transition to clean energy or use it as an opportunity to secure a fair, clean and affordable power supply for all of us,” Mr Spencer said.

For media inquiries: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632