Australia’s capital leads country in commercial solar

Canberra sign

Stop The Press! Something positive out of Canberra!

The feverish activity in Canberra continues. Kevin Rudd (aka The Milky Bar Kid) is PM this week apparently. But we thought we’d pop down the road to the seat of the far more interesting ACT territory government for this week’s solar news. For it is here that Australian commercial solar history is being made. (See our previous rant on the development of this solar farm).

Overshadowed by the shenanigans of their Fed cousins, the ACT government recently passed legislation which will see the country’s largest commercial solar farm built at Royalla. The facility, just outside the nation’s capital, has been the subject of bitter debate but the ACT’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon “Solar” Corbell, in standing his ground against well-organised protests, pointed out the many benefits the farm will bring to the territory.

“The solar farm proposal will contribute to a reduction of around 560,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over 20 years, generating the equivalent amount of energy to power 4,400 Canberra homes,” Mr Corbell told reporters in a statement.

The implications of the ACT government’s support for commercial solar is profound. Other state and territory governments around this country have caved into fossil fuel lobby demands that support for domestic and commercial solar be wound back. (See here for Finn’s cool headed information on the South Australian government’s feed-in tariff reduction folks.)

However Corbell and his team appear to have stared down fossil fuel interests and invested heavily in solar schemes. Already the ACT resembles Germany with its generous support for commercial solar and domestic solar.

Will the feds take commercial solar on board?

So (I hear you ask), any chance of the type of thinking that results in the ACT’s commercial solar leadership being injected up the road into the federal building? The answer is there’s a glimmer of light there folks. While The Queensland Kid’s new Energy Minister is West Australian Gray Gary (a type of Martin “Fossil Fuel” Ferguson-lite who once served on the board of Woodside Petroleum) there is some encouraging news. This is that the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment is the young, enthusiastic (he’ll learn) and telegenic Mark “Smiley” Butler.

Smiley represents the seat of Port Adelaide, just a hop, step and forward feed-in tariff from SQHQ. Word has it that Finn has set off from SQHQ in the direction of Smiley’s office. His mission? To er…teach the kiddie a bit of solar technique. We’ll keep you posted on how he goes 🙂

Maybe we’ll see commercial solar being discussed more readily in the feds’ House of Reps and the Senate after the ACT government’s heroics? Or maybe not as the latest “most important election in our lifetime” draws nearer? Have your say on this either here or over at our Facebook Page.

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