Debate rages over Budget 2012 and solar power

Wayne swan putting the 2012 budget together

Wayne Swan's budget was good for solar

Debate continues to rage in the press over the last week as to whether or not Treasurer Wayne Swan’s much lauded Budget 2012 is good for the future of solar power in this country. The Treasurer’s delivery and demeanour gave no real hint of the speech being one that could be considered pro or anti renewables and solar pundits have split over what the Budget will mean for the Australian solar industry.

One of the first cabs off the rank was the Australian Solar Energy Society’s (AuSES) John Grimes who delivered a glowing assessment of the Treasurer’s work. Here’s a snippet:

The Federal Budget delivers on the Government’s commitment to a clean energy future. If fully implemented as outlined in the Budget, the Clean Energy Future package will supercharge solar through the combination of a carbon price, renewable energy target and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Mr Grimes went further saying the Budget “… provides the basis for investment in Big Solar right across Australia.”

Great to hear eh solar fans? However as the week wore on, more (some would say better reasoned) analysis pointed to the fact that, far from a new dawn, this may be yet another lost opportunity for the government to support renewables. As that well-known barometer of reason the Solar Quotes Facebook Page began to reflect some disquiet and disbelief, so did other highly-regarded columnists.

Giles Parkinson, in an article in Renew Economy, described the Budget as a “revenue and renewable neutral” document. He explained for for all its bluster over renewables, the federal government has failed to deliver one major solar project that it can call solely its own and hinted that this budget didn’t seem to be about changing that outlook anytime soon.

While the Government was under tremendous pressure to deliver a budget in surplus, a task in in which it succeeded, the cost of balancing the books may well be at the cost of any meaningful investment in the future. High on the list of these are meaningful investments in the future of the country such as solar and other renewable projects.

Or am I being too harsh readers? Your thoughts?

About Rich Bowden

Rich Bowden is a freelance journalist specialising in working for the green sector. His interests are renewable energy, organic gardening, his family and writing, though not necessarily in that order.

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