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Canning vote indicates the next Federal election could hinge on solar

Solar Citizens says the Canning by-election result overnight shows voters want a change from Tony Abbott’s attack on renewable energy and a return to bipartisan support for sensible solar and renewable energy policies.

Renewable energy emerged as a major election issue in the by-election, with Essential Report polling finding renewable energy was the third-most important issue for voters behind economy and jobs.

Almost two-thirds (64.9 per cent) of Canning voters support a 50 per cent renewable energy goal by 2030, with 9.9 per cent opposed to the goal adopted by the Labor Party in its National Platform.

“The results of the Canning by-election have put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government on notice - people love solar and renewable energy and will vote for parties that support it,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“Prime Minister Turnbull would do well to remember that in the top 15 most marginal federal electorates there are more solar homeowners than the number of votes needed to change the sitting member. Solar voters are set to be a game changer in marginal seats.

“Renewable energy allows people to take control of their household energy bills and generate their own clean energy.

“Renewable energy will also drive jobs and economic growth at a time when the mining boom is coming to an end in Canning, Western Australia and other parts of the world.

“It’s time for the Turnbull government to show leadership and invest in the innovation and new jobs of this solar revolution,” she said.


Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

EVENT ALERT: Rally for Solar

12pm-1pm. Thursday, 17 September
Outside the office of Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie
Canning Electorate, Mandurah

CANNING VOTERS SEND CLEAR MESSAGE TO TURNBULL: SUPPORT SOLAR, RENEWABLES

The hotly contested Canning by-election could be decided by solar votes, with close to half of the electorate's homes sporting rooftop pv or solar hot water, according to Solar Citizens.

People living in solar households, solar business owners and workers and their supporters will hold a peaceful rally outside Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie's office on Thursday.

They have been disappointed by Tony Abbott ideological attacks on solar and siding with the big power companies and slashing the Renewable Energy Target.

Now they want new Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull and his government to stand with them and support solar and renewables, said National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“Boosting solar and renewable energy are front and centre in the issues that matter most to voters in Canning,” she said.

“A recent Essential Poll of the Canning electorate showed 48% of swinging voters said reducing the Renewable Energy Target would make them less likely to vote for the Liberal, while only 15% would be more likely to support the government.

“The people of Canning love solar and renewable energy and are concerned about the economy, jobs and the cost of living.

Renewable energy enjoys strong support in Canning, with a ReachTEL poll conducted for Solar Citizens, The Wilderness Society and Conservation Council WA finding that almost two-thirds (64.9 per cent) of voters in the electorate supporting a goal of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Almost half of Liberal voters surveyed (48.6 per cent) support the goal.

“The new Prime Minister designate can show real leadership by taking strong, decisive action and back a goal of at least 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030 - a line in the sand drawn earlier this year by the Australian Labor Party. It’s a realistic and achievable goal that will support an agile economy and Australian families.”

“On Thursday, the community will hand over a super-sized letter from Canning constituents calling on Liberal candidate Andrew Hasting to Stand Up For Solar.

“We will then move across the road to Labor candidate Matt Keogh's office to do the same.

“This is the community’s  opportunity to send politicians in Canning and around the nation a definitive message that will echo nationwide - we love solar and we vote,” she said.

Event details
What: Rally for Solar
When: 12pm-1pm. Thursday, 17 September
Where: Outside the office of Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie, 12 Sutton St Mandurah
More info: http://www.standupforsolar.org.au/canning_rally_for_solar
Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

Authorised by Claire O’Rourke, 338 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000

New PM must return bipartisan support for solar, renewables

Solar Citizens has welcomed the appointment of new Prime MInister Malcolm Turnbull as an opportunity for the Coalition to return to strong bipartisan support for better solar and renewable energy policy.

The Abbott government’s repeated attacks on renewable energy, including breaking its promises to the Australian public by slashing the Renewable Energy Target contributed to the government’s unpopularity and Mr Abbott’s demise.

The Canning by-election was the most recent example of voter displeasure with the government’s attitude on renewable energy, with recent polling showing that people saw renewable energy as a top issue, ranking ahead of national security.

Similar to across the nation, renewable energy enjoys strong support in Canning, with almost two-thirds (64.9 per cent) of voters in the electorate supporting a goal of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Almost half of Liberal voters surveyed (48.6 per cent) support the goal.

“The Liberal Party should be solar’s number one advocates,” said Claire O’Rourke, Solar Citizens National Director.

“Ordinary households generating solar power from their rooftops are a good fit with many core values of the Liberal Party - competitive markets, consumer choice and reward for individual effort. It’s a sensible vision that Australians are keen to support.

“Across Australia, these forward-thinking policies, such as the Renewable Energy Target and feed-in-tariffs have supported a growing number of households to made a choice to put solar panels on their roof and take control of their household power bills.

“The new Prime Minister designate can show real leadership by taking strong, decisive action and back a goal of at least 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030 - a line in the sand drawn earlier this year by the Australian Labor Party. It’s a realistic and achievable goal that will support an agile economy and Australian families.”

“There are many opportunities created through the global solar revolution - thousands of new jobs, new business opportunities and millions in investment - Australia can seize these opportunities now and become a leader and innovator in the industry.

“People want to see a better world for our kids and we can achieve this by using the resources we’ve got, and that’s plenty of sun. Australians want smart, sensible plans put in place and we hope to see this from Mr Turnbull.

Claire O’Rourke available for interviews.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

SOLAR CITIZENS WELCOMES VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT BILL THAT WILL HELP PROTECT SOLAR HOMEOWNERS

Solar Citizens has welcomed a Victorian Government Bill that will amend the state’s Electricity Industry Act and other legislation to the benefit of solar homeowners.

The changes will ban electricity retailers from placing restrictions on customers who have rooftop solar or other renewable energy generation from taking up an offer available to other customers.

There is still flexibility to make electricity sale offers that are specific to solar or renewable households, but not the power to exclude them from the offers made to other customers, said Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook.

“Solar Citizens members have been strong advocates for a fairer go for solar homes from energy retailers and the Victorian government’s new bill could go a long way towards delivering a level playing field,” he said.

“It’s good to see the government keeping its election promise and putting the interests of solar households at the centre of energy policy.

“There are more than 258,000 Victorian households that have transformed their homes into renewable energy powerhouses. They generate more than 980 MW of clean energy and have saved more than $1.4 million on their electricity bills.

“The new bill is a significant step forward but more is needed to lock-in support for solar homes in the state.

“Only last week, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) got it totally wrong by slashing the solar feed-in price to as low as five cents per kWH for energy exported to the grid by 2016.

“This dramatic 20 per cent cut to the minimum feed-in tariff price is extremely unfair and risks undermining increased renewable energy as part of Victoria’s energy mix.

“The Victorian Government should do the right thing and ensure there’s no change in the feed-in tariff until its own current review of a fair price for solar has reported.

“Otherwise tens of thousands of households will lose a large chunk of the already small financial return they receive from providing clean, renewable energy back into the grid,” he said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

Canning voters want renewable energy: poll

  • Almost two-thirds of Canning voters support Labor’s 50% renewable energy target (48.6% Libs)
  • 23% of undecided voters rate renewables as their most important issue
  • Renewable energy third most important issue behind economy and jobs

Renewable energy is shaping up as a major election issue in the Canning byelection in Western Australia, according to a poll conducted on Monday evening.

Almost two-thirds (64.9 per cent) of Canning voters support a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, with only less than 10 (9.9) per cent opposed to the ambitious target adopted by the Labor Party at its national conference in July.

Even among Liberal voters, the 50 per cent renewable energy target is supported by almost half (48.6 per cent) of its supporters with just 15.2 per cent opposed.

Just this week Western Australia’s Liberal Energy Minister Mike Nahan has noted that solar growth in Western Australia is so fast it will completely take over daytime power generation and power stations will have to close. In Canning, 28 per cent of households have solar photovoltaic systems on their rooftops.

The ReachTEL poll conducted on Monday shows Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie leading Labor candidate Matt Keogh by just 2 points on two-party preferred basis, although 7.9 per cent of voters are still undecided. Almost one quarter of the undecided voters nominated renewable as their most important issue (23 per cent).

Almost 80 per cent of voters not voting for the two major parties were directing their preferences to the ALP (79.1 per cent) who have set the more ambitious renewable energy goal.

Of all voters, renewable energy was considered the third most important issue (13.4 per cent) behind the economy and jobs (33.1 per cent) and cost of living (19.1 per cent).

“The people of Canning love solar and renewable energy and are concerned about the economy, jobs and the cost of living,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“Renewable energy addresses all those concerns. Renewable energy will drive jobs and economic growth and drive down the cost of living by helping with electricity bills. Renewable energy is a huge growth industry in Canning and Western Australia, especially with the mining boom coming to an end. This poll shows that the people of Canning will vote for a party that adopts ambitious renewable energy policies.”

Wilderness Society Western Australia Campaign Manager Jenita Enevoldsen said: “The mining boom is coming to an end but Australia can still be the lucky country with its abundant wind and sunshine to cash in on the renewable energy industry.

“Australia has the world's best, cheap clean energy sources like solar and wind so we should make the most of them to create more jobs and help families with the cost of living.

“More renewable, clean energy means a better world for our kids.”

For further comment contact:
Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke on 0410 729 594
Wilderness Society Western Australia Campaign Manager Jenita Enevoldsen on 0405 941 500

QUEENSLAND SOLAR HOMEOWNERS WELCOME GOVERNMENT REVIEW INTO FAIR PRICE FOR SOLAR

Soar Citizens has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that it will conduct an inquiry into a fair price for solar in the state.

Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said the inquiry will deliver on the government’s election promise to look into the contribution of solar households to the grid and how they should be paid for clean energy supplied to the network.

The inquiry will also investigate the public and private benefits of rooftop solar, including social, economic and environmental benefits.

“Queensland’s 422,923 solar households have done the right thing by investing in clean energy and making a growing contribution to the state’s electricity grid. It’s now time for this public inquiry to ensure they’re given a fair go,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

During the Queensland Election, when solar owners were facing attacks by the then Newman Government Solar Citizens throughout Queensland approached political candidates and asked them for their positions on solar. The Queensland Labor party released a “A Solar Future” policy which included a commitment to determining a fair Feed in Tariff and a goal of a million solar rooftops in Queensland by 2020.

“After the state election more than 600 solar homeowners across Queensland wrote to the new State government asking them to keep their election promises of support for solar and renewables.

“We know there are many other people interested in installing rooftop solar power who are waiting on the outcome of this Inquiry for evidence that times have changed and they can get the support they need.

“Queensland is in a prime position as the 'Sunshine State’ to make the most of attracting investment in renewable energy and the jobs and cost savings it can bring.

“Both the Queensland electricity pricing and solar reviews are expected to report in the first half of 2016. The outcomes will be watched closely by solar homes and their supporters for policies that can power up solar investment in the state,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Selected comments from the 662 letters sent by solar homeowners to the Qld govt:

“I have been wanting to get solar for a long time but better tarriffs would make me go ahead and get it. Please, improve the tarriff pay back.”
Carmel

“Dear Premier and minister,
Queensland has HUGE and more reserve of sunshine that any thing else, I would appreciate to see your government starting to help more of us to take advantage of our climatic situation, because our PM with his acolyte's reluctance to do so is becoming an international embarrassment”
Francis

“I am looking forward to you delivering on your promises to the Queensland people for a strong pro-solar energy commitment made in your election pitch. As a private citizen I have invested in solar since the Liberal hatchet job at Federal policy level. I am looking to you counter it giving strong State leadership for the sake of our children and for our national reputation going into the Paris climate negotiations.”
Andy

Minister Anthony Roberts: Reject cuts to NSW’s solar feed-in tariff

Solar Citizens calls on NSW Minister for Energy Anthony Roberts to guarantee the state’s solar homeowners will continue to receive a fair feed-in tariff, without cuts.

It is already voluntary in NSW for new solar owners to be paid for energy they supply back into the grid.

Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said IPART has got it wrong by recommending a cut to NSW’s feed-in price to as low as 4.8 cents per kWH.

“A dramatic 14% cut to the minimum feed-in tariff will make it harder for solar households to bring down their power bills and ease the cost of living,” he said.

“A slashing of the feed-in tariff would be extremely unfair and a disaster for NSW’s 262,301 solar households.

“The State government has spoken of having ambitious plans for renewable energy and making NSW ‘Australia’s answer to California’ in terms of increasing solar energy production.

“Now it’s time for the government to move beyond words and reject any reduction in the solar feed-in tariff that supports existing solar homeowners who have done the right thing and families looking to install rooftop solar.

“It will be hard for individual households to get more than the minimum feed-in from their retailer.

“The cut will obviously make it difficult for individual households to get a good deal from their power company. They simply don’t have the negotiating power. When retailers set the rules, solar owners lose.

“It punishes tens of thousands of households that are likely to lose a large chunk of the already small financial return they receive from providing clean, renewable energy back into the grid.

“NSW’s Solar Bonus Scheme is set to run out at the end of 2016 and the slashing of the tariff now sets a dangerous precedent for those who invested in the scheme and how they’ll be treated.

“Minister Roberts should support solar and immediately reject unfair changes to the feed-in tariff,” he said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

VICTORIA ANNOUNCES CLEAR ROAD AHEAD FOR GROWING RENEWABLES, SOLAR HOMES

Solar Citizens has welcomed the release of the Victorian Renewable Energy Roadmap as a significant step forward for the growth of renewable energy and rooftop solar in the state.

The Roadmap sets out four priority areas of government support:
• Establishing a renewable energy target of no less than 20 per cent by 2020.
• Using the Government’s electricity purchasing power to support the creation of hundreds of renewable energy jobs.
• Ending unfair discrimination and improving access to the grid for solar customers.
• Supporting clean energy jobs through the $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the roadmap announced was significant for people in Victoria who want to take control of their household power bills by going solar.

“NSW has proudly positioned itself as “Australia's answer to California” when it comes to accelerating renewable energy but the Renewable Energy Roadmap means Victoria will give it a keen run for its money,” she said.

“More than 250,000 Victorian homes have already installed solar power to cut their electricity bills.

“Rooftop solar means cheaper power for homeowners and it means new jobs and less polluting power generation for Victoria.

“Earlier this year, at least 550 solar homeowners told a Senate Inquiry they felt like they’ve been unfairly treated by the big energy companies, including being hit with unfair or hidden charges and increases in service charges after installing solar.

“We welcome the roadmap’s commitment to protect solar households from unfair fees and ensure that household power bills come down.

“Solar Citizens urges all State government to follow the leadership shown by Victoria and invest and support in growing renewable energy and rooftop solar,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

AEMC’s Demand Management delay means more discrimination against solar homes

The Australian Energy Market Commission has delayed energy bill savings for all consumers - including solar households - by deferring for four years the implementation of the Demand Management Incentive Scheme Rule Change.

Under the current AEMC rules, electricity network business can make profits on owning and building more poles and wires but lose money if consumers save energy or generate their own power with solar panels. This has led to a perverse incentive with networks trying to discourage solar take-up with ever-growing fixed charges.

The new rule means the networks are rewarded if they help solar households and other customers to reduce energy usage. Both network businesses would have higher profits and consumers would have lower bills as a result.

“Solar Citizens welcomes the rule change that will encourage networks to reward households that move to energy saving mechanisms including installing rooftop solar, batteries and home energy management systems,” said Dan Scaysbrook, Director of Campaigns and Organising at Solar Citizens.

“But they won’t be implemented by the Australian Energy Regulator until 2019 or 2020. It is an unacceptable to delay a commonsense rule change that helps with the cost of living for both solar and other households alike.

“The new rule rewards power companies for encouraging customers to save energy. It provides a fair incentive for power companies to support the installation of more solar with storage technology, helping to lower energy bills.

“The AEMC’s own research shows that household bills could be reduced by $120 to $500 a year by demand management.

“This delay to implementing the Demand Management Incentive Scheme rule means an unnecessary hit to family budgets in households that are making the sensible move to use less electricity at times where there is more strain on the grid.

“Australians overwhelmingly support renewable energy and energy saving both in terms of creating cleaner energy and its role in the future energy mix. We need the big power companies and our political leaders to support the thousands of Australians who want to install solar,” said Mr Scaysbrook.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Solar homeowners targeted in SA Power Networks money grab

Solar Citizens has condemned SA Power Networks for unfairly targeting solar homeowners after it asked the Federal Court to overturn the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) decision to reject new taxes for solar homeowners.

“SA Power Networks’ latest attempt to discriminate against solar homeowners is deeply concerning and utterly unacceptable,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“This is a brazen money grab from SA Power Networks who want to target solar homeowners, and are again trying to push through unfair fees onto the solar community by any means possible.

“When SA Power Networks first proposed these new taxes on solar homeowners there was widespread community outrage.

“South Australians sent a clear message that they would not accept this attack on solar homeowners, and the AER listened and rejected the proposed fees.

“It’s time for SA Power Networks to listen too, and to stop trying to penalise those in the community who are embracing renewable energy.

“SA Power Networks can either attack or embrace the community energy revolution. This latest move indicates they intend to undermine the efforts of thousands of South Australians who have chosen to take control of their electricity bills by making the switch to solar.

“There are more than 184,920 solar homes in South Australia with more people going solar every day.

“Power companies need to stop trying to impose unwarranted charges.

“This is an unacceptable move by SA Power Networks and we call on them to put a stop to this witch hunt,” said Ms O’Rourke.

For more information contact Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004