Well that didn’t take long did it folks? No sooner had Campbell “Can-Do?” Newman adjusted the height of the premier’s chair following his landslide win in the Sunshine state, than the plug was pulled on one of Queensland’s flagship solar projects. In moves that have become familiar to solar supporters around the nation, solar (and other worthy renewable projects) are usually first to go as new governments look to impress their new electorates.
The project in question is the now-inappropriately-named Solar Dawn: a proposed 250 megawatt solar thermal power plant, planned with state and federal government money, to be built near Chinchilla in South West Queensland. According to the (now very sad-looking) website the project was part of the federal government’s Solar Flagships Program and the consortium included private renewable firms AREVA Solar and Wind Prospect CWP. It also had a whole host of very exciting university research projects tied into it which will likely be scrapped, which is kinda sad.
Campbell’s argument in favour of scrapping the state government’s slice of the scheme (along with a threatened whole wave of renewable project cuts) is that the spending cuts are needed to offset the cost of the carbon emissions scheme. This now throws the whole project into jeopardy as the feds check their own purse.
To be fair to the “Can-Do” man, he has won a massive mandate for change and part of that change seems to be to pay off the state’s credit card faster than you can say “carbon tax”. Also the state’s generous feed-in tariff seems to be untouched (for now).
However many people are muttering over their coffees or beers that this is all a load of Can-Do Bollocks and the “quick or you’re dead” cuts to solar power may have more to do with the fact that big donators to the Liberal National Party haven’t exactly come out in favour of renewable energy or the green cause recently. And for the big miners in the sunshine state there is nothing like eliminating renewable energy competition is there?