Renewables are the solution to the energy crisis
Expensive and unreliable coal and gas plants are driving up our power bills – increasing cost of living pressures for Aussie homes and businesses, especially for vulnerable households. The quickest and cheapest way to increase Australia’s supply of affordable energy is to replace fossil fuels with renewables backed by storage. By making affordable clean technology available to all households we can pave the way forward towards a more equitable, renewable-powered grid.
Accelerate Clean Transport
Transport emissions and petrol prices are rising rapidly in Australia, but we’re still lagging behind the rest of the world on electric vehicles. The Federal Government must implement more ambitious policies like strong Fuel Efficiency Standards to bring more affordable electric vehicle models to Australia, or we risk becoming a dumping ground for costly and polluting petrol cars.
Affordable Storage Solutions
Australians are facing a triple whammy: a cost of living crisis, an energy crisis and the climate crisis. Now the Federal Government has a huge opportunity to address all three by rolling out storage solutions that can help households and businesses make the most of our abundant solar energy. By deploying storage solutions like home batteries and electric vehicles that can feed cheap clean energy back into the grid, we can save households thousands and slash emissions – all while strengthening the grid and saving on costs for larger infrastructure.
Let's Power Renewable Manufacturing
Here in the sunburnt country, we have all the right ingredients to have a bright economic future. We can utilise our abundant renewable energy resources to unlock cheap energy and drive more local manufacturing. But right now some of our leaders are letting these opportunities slip by – clinging to the past and stalling the rollout of solar, wind and storage and derailing our chance to become a renewable manufacturing powerhouse.
Together, we can demonstrate to the Prime Minister and key Ministers there’s strong community support for more local manufacturing – powered entirely by clean, renewable energy.
Stop the Sun Tax
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has ruled that energy networks can now charge solar owners for exporting their energy back into the grid. Big polluting gas and coal generators don't have to pay, and research shows that cheap clean energy pumped into grid by solar owners brings down power prices for everyone and shouldn't be penalised. Sign our petition calling for state and territory Energy Ministers to use their power to stand up against unfair export charges and instead invest in network infrastructure and programs to help more people access cheap solar energy.
WON! National Electric Vehicle Strategy
Petrol prices and transport emissions are skyrocketing, but Australians are being left behind on electric vehicles, which cut pollution and are cheaper to run and maintain.
Over 4,000 solar citizens have signed the petition calling for a plan to accelerate electric vehicles, which Solar Citizens delivered to Energy Minister Chris Bowen in August 2022, and more than 600 made submissions to a consultation on a draft EV strategy. Then in April 2023, the Federal Government finally announced the first National Electric Vehicle Strategy to grow the uptake of electric vehicles. The Strategy also committed to developing a Fuel Efficiency Standard – the key policy championed by our community to unlock a supply of affordable EVs in Australia. Now the next step is to ensure that a strong Standard with no loopholes is introduced so we can fast-track clean transport and emissions reductions.
WON! Large-scale Renewable Energy Storage Target
As fossil fuel prices continue to soar and ageing coal plants close, we urgently need more clean energy storage to get our grid ready for more renewable energy and household electrification. Thousands of solar citizens have taken action, signing the petition and emailing their energy minister to support a renewable energy storage target (REST). Solar Citizens joined with clean energy advocates to lobby Federal MPs in Parliament House in November 2022 to call for a REST.
Then in December, Australia’s Energy Minister’s agreed to a ‘capacity investment scheme’ that would act like a REST to roll out large-scale storage projects.
In June 2023, NSW has become the first state to kick off the scheme with an auction process for renewable storage! Now we just need to roll-out a REST for small-scale and household storage.
WON! Turning Townsville into a Clean Manufacturing Powerhouse
Townsville has all the ingredients to become one of Australia's first clean manufacturing hubs. The region has world-class solar and wind resources, a great port, and is in close proximity to the North West Minerals Province which has deposits of critical minerals needed for clean technology. Over the years we have campaigned for federal and state government support to help set up Townsville as a thriving clean manufacturing hub to power good jobs and the local economy long into the future.
Our community campaign has had a massive impact, and we've played a major role in winning:
- $70 million in bipartisan federal funding for turning Townsville into a renewable hydrogen hub;
- The Queensland Government recently committed to build the $5 billion CopperString 2.0 transmission line to connect Mount Isa to Townsville, unlocking 4.5GW of new solar and wind potential in North Queensland;
- A total of $50 million in federal and state funding to progress the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct – Northern Australia's first eco-industrial precinct for advanced manufacturing, processing, technology and emerging industries; and
- $75 million in state funding for a new critical mineral processing facility!
WON! A Plan to Repower Queensland
From 2020 to the end of 2022, our priority focus was campaigning to turn Australia's most polluting State into a clean energy leader. Thousands of our supporters took action across the Sunshine State and we reached millions of Queenslanders with our advertising demonstrating how clean energy can create tens of thousands of good jobs.
In September 2022, the Queensland Government finally changed their tune and released a plan to close all of the state-owned coal-fired power stations.
In the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan the State Government committed to:
- Increase the State’s Renewable Energy Target to 70% by 2032 and 80% by 2035;
- Replace all the state-owned coal-fired power stations with clean energy hubs by 2035;
- $4.5 billion fund for publicly-owned clean energy and hydrogen;
- Deliver a household program, which includes support for batteries;
- Fast-track vital transmission infrastructure to connect new clean energy projects.
Won! Keep ARENA and the CEFC Clean
The previous Coalition Government tried repeatedly to push through dodgy changes to open the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) up to invest in polluting gas, dirty hydrogen, and unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS). However thanks to thousands of solar citizens who rallied, signed petitions, called and emailed decision-makers, donated and more, Angus Taylor’s dangerous plans to use ARENA to fund fossil fuels were blocked by the Senate and finally scrapped by the new Labor Government in 2022. Our community also defeated Taylor's attack on the CEFC when thousands of solar citizens wrote to and called Senators Griff, Lambie and Patrick, forcing Taylor to abandon his plan.
WON! Save Queensland's Clean Energy Jobs
Investment in large-scale renewable energy projects in Queensland crashed to almost nothing in 2019. The State Government was not on track to reach their 50% renewable energy target by 2030, and federal energy policy uncertainty was driving investors further away. Thousands of jobs and billions worth of investment was at risk across the regions, so solar citizens across the state leapt into action.
In the year leading up to the Queensland state election on October 2020, over 6,000 Queenslanders took action to encourage all sides of state politics to implement more ambitious renewable energy policies. Solar Citizens was in the media 230 times, talking about the job and economic benefits of clean energy projects being built and manufactured in the Sunshine State. We ran bus ads, billboards and reached over 800,000 people with digital advertising.
Some of the key outcomes that we won from the Queensland Government include: $145 million for three Renewable Energy Zones, a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund, and Queensland's state-owned utilities have done deals to help another five solar and wind projects come online. The Sunshine State is now back on track to reach 50% renewables by 2030 – the next step is turning it into a renewable powerhouse!
WON! Supercharge ARENA
Australia's leading clean energy innovation body, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), was on the brink of running out of funding in 2020 after hundreds of millions of dollars of past budget cuts. But nearly 10,000 solar citizens signed our open letter, called their MP, emailed the Federal Energy Minister, and spoke up on social media in support of ARENA. Now we have won half the fight, with the Federal Government pledging $1.4 billion for ARENA in the 2020 Federal Budget.
A Plan to Repower Australia
While the Federal Government drags its feet on national energy policy, Solar Citizens—alongside the Repower collaboration—has got on with the job of creating a real plan for a clean and cheap energy future. The Plan to Repower Australia is a comprehensive policy roadmap for how we can get Australia to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
WON! Stopped the Emissions Reduction Fund from Propping up Coal
Following pressure from coal heavyweights, the rule makers in charge of the federal government's Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) were reviewing whether the public funds could be used to pay for coal station upgrades – keeping ageing and polluting generators on life support.
But after community outcry, including from 600+ solar citizens who wrote submissions for the review process, we were able to stop the polluting Vales Point coal plant from getting funding through this process.
Clean, Cheap Energy For All
Across the country, everyday Australians have cottoned on to the fact that the only guaranteed way to take back control of rising power bills is to invest in cost-cutting rooftop solar. And yet, there are many households that face barriers to accessing solar and storage technology, including renters, people living in apartments and low-income households. Our Rooftop Real Estate report shows just how much solar PV potential there is waiting to be unlocked on Australia's sunny rooftops, and how governments can help all household cash in on the solar savings.
Support Solar Gardens
At the moment over a third of Australian households face barriers to accessing local clean & affordable renewable energy solutions, like rooftop solar, because they rent, live in an apartment or have a low income. That's why, we're calling on State and Territory Energy Ministers to support community Solar Gardens – one of the best solutions for helping everyone enjoy the cost-cutting and environmental benefits of solar!
A Fair Price for Solar
To stop the daylight robbery of solar owners, over 12,800 solar citizens from around the country signed our petition calling for a fair, mandated minimum feed-in tariff for clean sun-power pumped into the grid. This community support helped win a mandated minimum FiT in Victoria, which is now an Australian-first time-varying FiT to encourage exports during times of peak demand. In NSW, solar owners participated in a Keep Solar FiT action outside of NSW Parliament House where both Labor and the Greens attended and pledged their support for the campaign.
New South Wales Election
After eight years of the NSW Government moving at a snail's pace on clean energy, 700 solar citizens from across the state took action to raise renewables on the election agenda. By sending emails to candidates, letterboxing flyers, writing letters to the editor, meeting MPs and attending community events, we managed to increase the Government's commitment to clean and affordable renewable energy. Our pressure helped secure no-interest solar and battery loans for 300,000 households and a change in strata laws to make it easier for apartment dwellers to get solar. Although there is a long way to go to turn NSW from a laggard to clean energy powerhouse, these commitments are a step in the right direction.
WON! Save the SRES
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) was on the chopping block. Following a recommendation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to wind up and then abolish the SRES nine years early, the Federal Government was radio silent on the future of the scheme. Close to 10,000 solar citizens around the country sprung into action: over 9,300 people added their name to our open letter to Energy Minister Angus Taylor, and over 2,000 sent an email to their Federal MP. On the day we were travelling to Canberra to deliver our open letter to the Minister's office, Angus Taylor came out in the media committing to keep the SRES.
Stop the National Energy Guarantee
The Turnbull Government's National Energy Guarantee (NEG) was a slapdash national energy policy that threatened to boost Australia's ageing and inefficient coal plants while slowing down our country's renewable boom. Not only did the policy set renewable energy targets that were so low that they were already effectively met by the current projects in the pipeline, but it was also proposing that retailers could claim the pollution credits from rooftop solar as their own.
Over 3,800 people took action—writing emails to decision-makers, lodging submissions, calling the Federal Energy Minister and more—asking for a more sensible policy that would mean more clean, cheap renewable energy for Australians. Although all this noise meant that Australia wasn't lumped with a anti-renewable national plan, we still don't have any national energy policy to take the place of the Renewable Energy Target when it ends in 2020.
South Australian Election
To keep South Australia on track to be a renewable energy powerhouse, our South Australian community went above and beyond to keep the clean energy policy announcements coming from all sides of politics. In the lead up to the election, over 1,700 people took action either online or in the streets by doorknocking, letterboxing, hosting community stalls and more!
The launch of our Repowering South Australia report acted as a policy roadmap for getting SA to 100% clean, renewable electricity and we saw parties take policy directly from its pages.
A lot was at stake during the Queensland election, with some political parties pledging to bankroll a new, uneconomic coal plant in north Queensland. Solar citizens across the Sunshine State would not stand for it, and in the end, our supporters took over 1,500 online actions. We also hosted community stalls, letterboxed and put up sunny placards all over town. Together, we won some great policy announcements for Queensland.
WON! Stop the Solar Swindle
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) were proposing to charge solar owners to export their clean energy to the electricity grid – for the second time! Our solar-powered community came together and were able to stop these unfair charges by gathering more than 10,000 petition signatures and 2,500 submissions to the AEMC.
WON! Make Solar Thermal Happen in Port Augusta
The Port Augusta community campaigned for more than five years for the Federal and South Australian Governments to back plans for a local solar thermal plant. People power prevailed in the end with the SA State Premier Jay Weatherill announcing that construction of the $650 million plant will begin in 2018.
Life After Feed-in Tariffs
Feed-in tariffs are ending for over 275,000 solar households in NSW, SA and Vic between September and December 2016. Find out if this change affects you and what you need to do if it does.
The Homegrown Power Plan
The Homegrown Power Plan, a joint project between GetUp! and Solar Citizens, shows how we can repower the country with 100% renewable power by 2030. How? By rebooting our failing electricity system, removing the roadblocks holding us back, and investing in the renewables boom.
WON! Save ARENA
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was under threat – again. The Federal Government planned to strip $1 billion in funding from ARENA in an 'Omnibus Bill'. Through our rapid response and targeted campaign, Solar Citizens managed to pull $800 million of that funding back from the brink.
Save the CEFC
The Federal Government was aiming to introduce legislation that would allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Australia’s “green bank” to finance so-called "clean coal", the most expensive and polluting form of new energy generation. Solar Citizens across Australia sent more than 3,400 emails to Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Turnbull to save the CEFC, and so far no new legislation has been introduced.
Fair go for Tassie Solar
Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis. Record low dam levels have incapacitated hydro power, the state has lost the Basslink connection to the mainland grid and deadlines to fix it have been missed repeatedly. The Tasmanian government needed to know that the answer lies in clean, renewable energy, not expensive diesel.
Stop the NSW solar power rip-off
The Solar Bonus Scheme (that's the 60c/kWh solar feed-in price) ended in 2016 and bungling by the Baird Government threatened to cost solar households thousands. These solar owners will have to pay up to $700 each for an expensive change to meters that could actually provide less information about their solar generation than they currently have access to.
Capture the Sun
We invited Instagram users to capture the sun for the chance to win an electric scooter. There were over 2,000 beautiful entries of sunrises and sunsets. The competition has now closed but be sure to check out the beautiful photographs on the Capture the Sun website.
Vote 1 Solar
During the 2016 Federal Election, solar citizens across the country worked tirelessly to get all major parties on board with 100% renewable electricity by 2030. We met politicians alongside our mascot sunny, collected petition signatures and community surveys, and spread our renewable message all over social media.
Fair price for solar in Queensland
Queensland solar owners are getting a raw deal on solar power they feed back to the grid. The Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) undertook an inquiry into what a fair price for solar should be - but their draft report was a dismal failure. Solar Citizens put out a call for submissions to the Principal Commissioner urging him to address this glaring omission in the final version of the report.
WON! ALP commits to 50% renewables by 2030
As part of the Stand Up for Solar campaign, Solar Citizens met with ALP MPs from across the country, asking them to take the ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge, asking for a national goal of at least 50% solar and renewable electricity generation by 2030. At the ALP National Conference, Labor announced a 50% renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030.
Prime Minister Turnbull, It's Time To Shine!
Australia is the sunniest continent on earth, so harnessing solar energy just makes sense.
It's time for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to set a strong course towards a clean, healthy, sun-powered future for all Australians. We delivered 10,824 signatures to the Prime Minister's office in Wentworth, along with a giant 'Room for Improvement' award that was accepted by his staff.
WON! SA Power Networks: drop the solar penalty
Almost 3000 Solar Citizens signed the petition and Adelaide volunteers letterboxed thousands of solar homes. The Australian Energy Regulator has rejected SA Power Network's application to charge unfair fees to solar owners, but SAPN didn't accept this and appealed the regulator's decision in the Federal Court (read more here). However the Court ruled in favour of South Australian solar households. Solar Citizens supported the Total Environment Centre’s intervention in the case. Read more here.
WON! Premier Barnett, Stop the Solar Tax
State owned electricity retailer Synergy, has proposed changes to electricity pricing in Western Australia that would see solar rooftop owners charged an extra fixed fee in their electricity bill. 7,000 Western Australians took a stand against Synergy's proposed unfair 'sun tax.' Now, Premier Barnett has ruled it out in parliament and in a direct letter to Solar Citizens.
WON! Protect the Renewable Energy Target
More than 28,000 Australians signed this petition and in August 2014 we delivered it in Canberra to Coalition MPs Sarah Henderson and Warren Entsch.
The Abbott Government wanted the Target axed entirely, but by joining together and running a strong campaign, Solar Citizens across the country saved the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme and defended the bulk of the Renewable Energy Target.
Save Solar Tasmania
The Tasmanian government is privatising its electricity retailing, to take effect from 1 January 2014. Without strong community action it is highly likely that feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar panels and other small renewable energy technologies will be lost or reduced, undermining the value of investments that have already been made, and weakening incentives for new investment.
Time to Shine
With a final decision form the government on the fate of the Renewable Energy Target due this month Australians are meeting their local federal MP to ask them to protect the Target and Keep Solar Strong.
National Rally for Renewables
2,000 renewable energy workers, businesses, solar owners and supporters descended on electorate offices in every state and territory around the country today to protest the Federal Government’s attempt to hurt jobs and families by attacking the Renewable Energy Target.
Stop Newman's Big Solar Slash
The QLD government has just announced it will slash the feed-in tariff to 40,000 families and make them - and future solar owners - negotiate with their retailer to be paid ANY price for the energy they put into the grid.
WON! Keep Queensland the Sunshine State
Queensland has long been known as Australia's sunshine state, but recent recommendations to the government could see QLD's 300,000 solar homes slugged with new charges of $200 a year that would penalise them for going solar. These measures would undermine the multi-billion dollar investment ordinary Queenslanders have made in solar systems.
WON! South Australian Solar at Risk
The South Australian government is considering cutting the payment made to solar owners for the energy they provide to the grid. This would force solar to deal directly with big power companies, who have no interest in providing a fair price for solar. Submissions are now open for a review of the feed-in tariff program, and now is our time to have our voices heard on why the South Australian government can’t let the big retailers control solar payments in SA.
WON! Queensland Government commits to 1 million solar rooftops
As part of the 2015 Queensland Election, Solar Citizens asked the major parties where they stood on solar, including asking them to set a target for achieving one million Queensland rooftops. The Palaszczuk Queensland Government promised one million more solar rooftops in Queensland and to have the productivity commission investigate a fair feed-in tariff. Queensland Labor also made further commitments directly to Solar Citizens' policy platform.
Inquiry into ‘gold plating’ of power networks
A Senate inquiry into the 'gold plating' of power networks was established, after report of reports claiming up to 60% of electricity bills for some households can be attributed to the cost passed on by electricity companies for maintaining infrastructure such as poles and wires. Solar Citizens called for submissions from members, and was invited to give evidence at the enquiry on behalf of 550 solar homeowners who felt they had been unfairly treated by the big electricity companies.
WON! Don't Tax the Sun
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommended increasing penalties and tariffs to solar owners – in effect, taxing the sun. The AEMC was bowing to big power companies and claiming that solar homes are being subsidised by other energy consumers. Solar is not what is driving up electricity costs. Investment in poles, wires and dying technologies are, and solar owners shouldn't be unfairly penalised.
WON! Barnett's Massive Solar Betrayal
The WA Government has revealed that it intends to slash the feed-in tariff rate which will impact 75,000 WA households that installed solar from mid 2010-2011. This is an arbitrary and deeply unfair decision, targeting ordinary families - a blatant grab for cash by the WA government. The Barnett Government is betraying solar owners and turning its back on people who are taking the right steps for our energy future.