Where do the NSW parties stand on renewables? -- Solar Citizens

Where do the NSW parties stand on renewables?

Written by Ainsley Kelso, Solar Citizens intern.

With the NSW state election just days away, it’s necessary to take a look back at what energy commitments the parties have made before casting your vote. Each of the following parties have policy commitments in place regarding their views on renewables and the future of NSW. Solar Citizens has three policy asks of the parties; support solar for 100,000 renters, a fair price for solar owners and 4,000 MW of new large-scale renewable and storage capacity. So far, NSW Labor has committed to two out of three of those asks, while the NSW Government has committed to none.

Liberal Party/Nationals have committed to...

  • Assist up to 300,000 households access rooftop solar and battery systems across NSW over the next 10 years by providing no-interest loans;
  • Support a government agency target of 25,000 megawatt hours of energy a year from rooftop solar by 2021 and 55,000 megawatt hours a year by 2024;
  • Change strata laws to make switching to solar easier for people living in apartments;
  • Allocate $20 million to purchase up to 900 batteries with a total 13 MW capacity for schools and hospitals;
  • Add another $20 million to the Emerging Energy Program to encourage private investment in dispatchable generation, taking the total spent on the program to $75 million;
  • Provide $30 million to the Regional Community Energy Program;
  • Create a $10 million program for recycling solar panels and batteries;
  • Change to 10% hybrid or electric government-owned vehicles by 2020 with $5 million allocated for charging stations.

Labor Party have committed to...

  • Implement a fair price for solar;
  • Invest $100 million to install solar systems at 350 schools in NSW;
  • Support a minimum of 50% renewable energy by 2030 including powering all government agencies with clean energy by 2025;
  • Create a rebate of up to $2,200 to support 500,000 households to install solar by 2030;
  • Work towards 4 GW of reverse auctions for clean energy and storage by 2023 and 6 GW by 2030;
  • Create 1 GW of publicly-owned clean energy and storage by establishing a state-owned renewable generator;
  • Provide $11 million to train electricians in solar and battery storage;
  • Review the energy performance of rental properties and bring in minimum efficiency standards by 2025;
  • Change to 25% electric government-owned vehicles by 2025 with $10 million allocated for charging stations.

The Greens Party have committed to...

  • Implement a fair price for solar;
  • Create a publicly-owned renewable electricity supplier and retailer, PowerNSW, to build 100% renewable energy supply by 2030.
  • Advocate for mandatory solar and batteries for all new homes;
  • Introduce a $2000 rebate for the introduction of solar panels and storage for 500,000 homes over four years;
  • Establish a community solar offset scheme for apartment owners and renters, with the aim of involving 200,000 participants over four years;
  • Invest $250 million in all public housing and government buildings to get solar panels, helping 110,000 public housing tenants receive electricity rebates.

Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party have committed to...

  • Support the immediate construction of a new high efficiency, low emission coal power plant in the Hunter Valley;
  • Oppose the use of taxpayers money to subsidise intermittent energy sources like solar or wind;
  • Support the utilisation of nuclear energy.

In summary, the NSW Government’s renewable commitments fall well short of the scale that we need to responsibly transition NSW to clean, renewable energy, and their policies do little to help all NSW households access rooftop solar.

Labor has taken a substantial step forward by aiming to build 4GW of new renewable generation over the next term of government, although again, they have no plan to assist NSW’s thousands of renters and apartment dwellers access cost-cutting solar.

With a wide range of energy policies on the table this state election, the outcome will shape the future of NSW and determine how far we progress towards clean, affordable renewable energy for all.