Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

SA and Federal Governments’ power credibility relies on Aurora power station

Friday, 5 April: Solar Citizens National Director Joseph Scales today said that with no future plans for coal fired power projects in South Australia, the State Government had to make sure the Aurora Solar Thermal Power Station succeeds.

“The Government can either fix this problem and get on the solar bus or watch power prices go through the roof on their watch,” said Mr Scales.

“The State and Federal Governments can’t wipe their hands of this, their credibility on power prices is attached to this project – it is simply too big to fail.

“Large scale solar generators like this one are absolutely central to the inevitable transition to provide firm renewable energy.

“This project is a beacon of light for Port Augusta and the whole community because it shows what is possible when people are proactive about the current energy sector transition.

“It gives a community which has relied on coal for generations a new and exciting future, beyond the traditional industries of the town, but aligned so that the jobs can go to the people that need them.”

His comments followed the announcement by the first-choice developer of the project to withdraw – a devastating blow to the local community and the whole state.

“The impact on Port Augusta will be huge but this project is bigger than Port Augusta – it’s about getting together to generate the kind of investments South Australia needs for the future in terms of jobs, innovation and electricity prices.”

The Port Augusta project promises to deliver 650 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs once completed, as well as work flowing to local businesses.

“This project developer was only one of a number of interested parties, so there are others out there and that should be the starting place for an alternative developer.

“We’re calling for the State Government to immediately release an expression of interest to the market to identify alternative project proponents.

“Port Augusta and South Australians need the State and Federal Governments to act – this project is simply too important to South Australia’s energy future to fail.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

Consumers Win in ALP Energy Package

Monday, 1 April: Solar Citizens today applauds elements of Federal Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, although says greater renewable ambition will benefit all Australians.

“There are some really positive policy commitments that will benefit consumers in this package,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“Providing rebates for 100,000 households to get battery storage is a smart policy that will help households get their power bills down close to zero, while also helping secure the grid.

“A target of 50% new electric vehicle sales by 2030 will give this industry a boost and make it more achievable for households to charge their cars pollution-free straight from renewables.

“And the establishment of a Neighbourhood Renewables Program is another great initiative to help all Australian households access clean and affordable renewable energy. This is an important step that will help make our broken electricity system fair for all consumers.”

While Labor’s target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 will assist the renewables boom to continue to boost jobs and investment following the end of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in 2020, more ambition would better position Australia as a global leader and renewable superpower.

“A further $10 billion in funding for the CEFC, with a focus on expanding Australia’s hydrogen industry, will set Australia up to export our extensive renewable resources to neighbouring countries,” said Mr Scales.

“But Federal Labor could aim higher so Australia is on the front foot and gets a bigger slice of the clean energy jobs and investment pie.

“Just last year, our Renewable Energy Across Queensland’s Regions report found that if all the renewable projects in the planning and construction pipeline went ahead, Queensland could be powered by 90% clean energy.

“There’s an appetite in the renewable energy industry – and the community. We can absolutely go further.”

This federal election, Solar Citizens is calling on all sides of politics to keep the renewables boom going in the next term of government by committing to:

  1. Mandate solar on all new homes;

  2. A 5GW renewable storage target by 2025, including a rebate for 100,000 households to install batteries;

  3. Solar for 500,000 renters.

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie 0425543006

 

Apartment Dwellers Enter NSW Election Solar Race

Monday, 18 March: Community group Solar Citizens says the solar energy race between the major NSW parties is now in full swing, with the NSW Government today announcing their plan to change strata laws to make solar more accessible for people living in apartments.


“The NSW Liberals proposal to change strata laws to make it easier for apartment dwellers to get rooftop solar is a sensible first step to address this complex issue,” says Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“We estimate there is up to 4GW of solar capacity available on Australia’s apartments alone, so we should be doing everything we can to unlock this potential mega clean energy power plant.”

In the lead up to this year’s NSW election, Solar Citizens has been calling on all major parties to commit to implementing policies that will allow more residents to access low-cost solar and transform NSW from a laggard to a renewable powerhouse.

“This policy however is only a tiny piece of what is needed – the NSW Liberal National Government has been good on rhetoric about renewable energy, but their policy initiatives don’t amount to enough,” said Mr Scales.

“We are concerned that after eight years of government with little progress, the Liberal National parties still don’t have a major climate and energy reform package.”

Solar Citizens says the Labor Opposition has announced a more comprehensive renewables package, including, rooftop solar subsidies for 500,000 homes, 4GW of large-scale renewable generation in the first term of government, and solar for over 350 schools.

“Labor, however, has yet to provide policy pathways to support renters or apartment dwellers to access solar. We call on Labor to match this strata reform commitment,” said Mr Scales.

“We also call on all parties to adopt a policy to enable renters to access solar, so that all Australians, no matter their living situations, can tackle spiralling electricity bills with clean and affordable renewable technology.”

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie 0425543006

Labor‘s challenge to the Liberals to propel NSW into a renewable future

Thursday, 28 February: Solar Citizens today welcomes NSW Labor's at least 50 per cent renewable by 2030 target as a big leap forward for the state.

"Labor’s target to propel the responsible transition to renewables with storage will reposition NSW as a world-class, forward thinking state," said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens' National Director.

"With an upgrade to smart, renewable technology, NSW can have it all: cheap, affordable and reliable energy.

"NSW voters are calling out for all sides of politics to prepare for the future, but we're still yet to see more than hot air from the Liberal National parties. Currently, the NSW Government has no renewable target to act as a replacement for the national large-scale RET when it ends in 2020.

“Transitioning NSW to clean energy would unlock more than 20,000 full-time jobs and billions of dollars worth of investment,” said Mr Scales.

“The state’s tired coal clunkers will soon be reaching the end of their lives, so we can’t afford to sit on our hands. All parties need to plan for the responsible and inevitable transition.”

This election, Solar Citizens are calling for policies which will enable more New South Wales residents to power their lives with renewables. The campaign has seen some success with all major parties having announced policies for the expansion of residential solar pv; and Labor adopting a plan to see 9GW of new renewable generation installed across the state over a decade.
  

ENDS
Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Labor’s Plan a Massive Kickstart for Renewables in NSW

Monday 18 February: Solar Citizens today applauds NSW Labor’s announcement to commit to 9GW of new renewable energy generation over the next 10 years. The commitment includes 2GW of rooftop solar, 6GW of reverse auctions and 1 GW of state-owned renewables generation.

“Commitments like this are what’s needed to turn NSW from a laggard to clean energy powerhouse,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“Increasing NSW’s large-scale renewable generation by 7GW will mean close to 40% of the state’s current electricity demand could be met by clean, renewable energy.”

Compared to other states and territories, NSW is currently trailing behind the pack when it comes to transitioning to renewable energy. The percentage of renewable energy in NSW is less than half that of Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia – sitting at just over 12%.

“As we get closer to the NSW election the Berejiklian Government has started talking big about renewables, even calling on other states to “lift their game” on energy policy, but over the last eight years we’ve seen more hot air than action,” said Mr Scales.

“It’s time for the NSW Government to walk the walk, so that the state can make the most of its potential for clean energy jobs and investment.

“NSW Labor has taken the first step and shown their hand, now it’s up to the LNP to raise the stakes so that investors can start making the most of NSW’s abundant sun and wind resources.”

Solar Citizens has been calling on all political parties to commit to 4000MW of new large-scale renewable and storage capacity over the next term of government. Labor’s policy announcement today includes an aim to meet this target.

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie 0425543006

Government’s solar plan ‘better than nothing’

10 February, 2019: Solar Citizens today said the NSW Government’s commitment to provide interest free loans to help households adopt rooftop solar was better than the policy shortfall we’ve had until now but fell short of consumer expectations and potentially duplicates existing financing options.

Solar Citizens Director Joseph Scales said NSW households preferred grants over loans and Labor’s policy announced yesterday was a better way to support people to take up solar and tackle high energy prices.

“We know people prefer grants over loans because they are a more effective way of helping households – particularly for people on low incomes who struggle with the upfront investment,” said Mr Scales.

“In fact, there are already commercial providers out there who offer low or no-interest loans for solar installation, so we’re not sure this policy adds much value as a policy on its own, without other targeted measures.

“There is a role for no interest loans, but only as part of a wider suite of policy measures to encourage solar uptake.

“But the positive thing is that we’re having a discussion about how to encourage solar uptake, not whether to do so.”

Mr Scales said there is around 15GW of potential rooftop solar capacity on NSW houses.

“We can massively increase energy supply simply by empowering people to generate their own electricity.

Mr Scales said there was also now clear evidence that rooftop solar not only drives down power bills for solar-homes, but also cuts the price of power for everyone else.

“An increasing amount of power is exported to the grid by solar households, which is a cheap source of power that can be provided to others.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

Solar boost to cut household energy bills

9 February, 2019: Solar Citizens today said NSW Labor’s announcement to support 500,000 households to adopt rooftop solar would drive down energy bills for people for whom solar was previously inaccessible.

Solar Citizens Director Joseph Scales said the solar boost was well targeted and would put the power back in the hands of households.

“There are more than 5 million Australians, living in 2 million households with solar panels,” said Mr Scales.

“Rising electricity costs and a desire to take control back from energy retailers is driving significant growth in new solar but some people have been excluded because of inadequate government policy.

“That will change if Labor’s policy becomes a reality and we will be able to tap into the real potential of rooftop solar.

“There is around 15GW of potential rooftop solar capacity on NSW houses – we can massively increase energy supply simply by empowering people to generate their own electricity.”

Mr Scales said there was also now clear evidence that rooftop solar not only drives down power bills for solar-homes, but also cuts the price of power for everyone else.

“An increasing amount of power is exported to the grid by solar households, which is a cheap source of power that can be provided to others.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

Labor’s Battery Bonanza Win for Solar Households

Thursday, 22 November: Solar Citizens applauds Federal Labor’s plan to offer battery rebates for 100,000 low and middle income Australian households. Labor’s plan also includes investing $100 million in low-cost loans for batteries to help renters, low-income households and social housing residents slash their electricity bills.

“More batteries in the system is exactly what the doctor ordered – it’s good for the grid and great for household power bills. This is an exciting announcement by Federal Labor,” said Solar Citizens’ National Director, Joseph Scales.

“The beauty of this scheme is that it’s targeted at low and middle income households, which is the same demographic that have the highest uptake of rooftop solar, and are of course the people who benefit most from solar savings.

“Australians have turned to solar in droves, in fact, almost 2 million households and businesses now have solar on the roof. This plan will mean that more of those households can use their clean, affordable energy around the clock.

“For too long retailers have been ripping off solar households by only paying a pittance for solar energy that’s exported to the grid, but now more households will be able to make the most of their panels."

Labor also announced that they would directly underwrite renewable generation and resurrect the National Energy Guarantee with a higher emissions reduction target of 45%.

“Labor’s commitment to boost renewable generation is all well and good, but it just doesn’t go far enough,” said Mr Scales.

“Australia could be a clean energy superpower that exports our natural renewable resources to help power the rest of the world, but we’re missing our head start.

“It’s also disappointing to see that Labor wants to fund more expensive gas generation to firm the grid when there are better technologies available.”

ENDS
Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Renters to Join the Renewables Revolution in Andrews’ Victoria

Thursday 8 November: The Victorian Government’s game-changing renewable energy announcements are a win for all energy consumers, says community group Solar Citizens.

Today the Victorian Government committed to expanding the Solar Homes Program by $82 million to make it easier for the occupants of 50,000 rental homes to access the cost-cutting benefits of rooftop solar.

This announcement comes just hours after the Andrews Government pledged to increase the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to 50% renewable energy by 2030. To see the light of day, both of these announcements are contingent on the Government being re-elected.

“Expanding the Solar Homes Program to include rented households is great news for all energy consumers – it’s game-changing,” said Solar Citizens’ National Director Joseph Scales.

“If implemented, this policy would be an Australian-first and would be instrumental in breaking down the barriers that stop renters from slashing their electricity bills with solar.

“This scheme is a win win: tenants will see hundreds of dollars in electricity savings a year, while landlords will increase the value of their property.

"Despite what the big retailers will have you believe, more solar on rooftops helps drive down the price of electricity for everyone.

“More people pumping out their own clean power into the grid, will help reduce peak demand and ease rising electricity prices.”

Solar Citizens has been campaigning for all levels of government to assist renters, people living in apartments and low-income households access rooftop solar – so that everyone in the community can produce their own cheap and clean electricity.

The Government’s commitment to increasing the VRET is also welcomed by the community group, as it’s expected to result in a total of $9 billion worth of investment and more than 11,000 jobs.

“Victoria is one of the state’s leading the nation in the transition to clean, renewable power, but with just over thirteen percent renewable generation, there’s still a long way to go,” said Mr Scales.

“It’s time for the Victorian opposition to get up to speed, just last week Matthew Guy was talking about building a new, uneconomic and polluting coal-fired generator. That would completely take the state in the wrong direction.”

ENDS

Media contact: Joseph Scales 0429033210

NSW Energy Announcement a Step in Right Direction

Wednesday, 31 October: The Emerging Energy Program, announced today by the NSW Government, is welcomed as a step in the right direction by community group Solar Citizens.

“It’s great to see the NSW Government release a plan that will help steer the state towards a clean energy future,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“NSW’s ageing coal clunkers are reaching the end of their lives, so supporting more low-cost renewables with storage is the right move for lower bills and less pollution.”

The program is designed to help replace the state’s coal plants over the next 15 years and will provide funding for eligible large-scale dispatchable projects.

“While the Federal Government has abandoned any policy attempt to support the transition to renewables with storage, this plan shows that the economics stack up and the transition is here,” said Mr Scales.

“Solar and wind are already cheaper, and this plan is the first step to provide the investor certainty needed to repower NSW with clean energy.

“So far this program seems positive, however as more details emerge, it will be disappointing if this scheme funnels money into expensive gas generation.

“NSW has world-class solar and wind resources – tapping into these could provide more energy than all of the state’s coal and gas reserves combined.”

While Solar Citizens applauds the NSW Government's latest energy announcement, there is still more work to do to lock in a clean, renewable future for NSW and assist transitioning communities.

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006