The role of renewables in the Victorian election

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Were Victorians Sick Of the Liberal’s Anti Renewables Agenda?

Sometimes satire says it best. As one superbly entertaining online news company put it, this week saw the Victorian electorate dump “Whatisname” in favour of “Thatotherguy”. Labor’s Daniel Andrews (“Thatotherguy”) gave the federal Liberals a huge shake when he ousted the Liberal Party’s Denis Napthine, the first time since 1955 that a Victorian government has been ousted in one term. However we at SolarQuotes are digging deeper, asking how much the federal government’s prolonged and rasping attack on renewable energy played its part in the Vic Libs’ stunning loss.

It’s always difficult to transpose federal issues into a state election result. As is traditionally the case, the feds will say the state election was fought on state issues (if they did badly) with the Opposition stating that federal issues played a key part. These battle lines are being drawn as we speak and being played out in our media outlets.

However is there a clear point that both major parties are missing? That the federal government’s ideological attack on renewable energy in favour of fossil fuel has put the Australian people offside? If so the Victorian election should be seen as a mid-term report card on the federal government’s lack of support for renewable energy such as rooftop solar, a key consideration as they attempt to dismantle the Renewable Energy Target and other renewable energy mainstays such as ARENA.

Victorian Labor’s promise to contribute funding towards the building of a 100 percent solar energy town in Newstead, near Bendigo, may have been a key factor in highlighting the parties’ support for renewables. While the commitment of $200,000 to a solar town is ahem…modest to say the least, it may reflect how Vic Labor intends to show the way on renewables, perhaps in an attempt to reflect the more progressive policies of neighbouring South Australia.

“Newstead will be a leading example of what can be achieved when locals and government work together,” Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

Add to that the pro-renewables Greens’ success in gaining their first Lower House seat of Melbourne (at time of writing they are ahead in counting) and you start to get an idea that the electorate is sending a pro-renewable energy message to anyone who’ll listen.

Coupled with the federal non existent support for renewables was that an influential report from the Climate Council, released just before the election, showed that the then Liberal/National government was one of the worst performing in Australia over renewables. The report found the state had gone backwards on support for renewable energy and still sourced around 90 percent of its energy from highly polluting brown coal.

The Victorian election result may have finally shown the federal government that its scorched earth attack on renewable energy is not only counterproductive but also toxic at the ballot box. You can be sure that the federal Coalition and Labor analysts are looking at renewable energy such as support for solar power as a key issue in the leadup to the next federal election.

Comments

  1. Rich: “The Victorian election result may have finally shown the federal government that its scorched earth attack on renewable energy is not only counterproductive but also toxic at the ballot box….”

    No doubt our feral government will attempt to scorch Australia with something even more toxic, Rich. 🙁

    • Thanks for your comment Lessor. However i remain an eternal optimist and believe that pressure from ordinary Aussies will win out.

      • Rich: “However i remain an eternal optimist and believe that pressure from our fellow Aussies will win out…”

        Yes, we’re also optimistic regarding clean technologies and the common sense of Australians lied to and betrayed by the very ordinary ones currently in charge.

  2. A fair bit of “maybe” and “possibly” etc. in there, Rich. I find it kind of amusing that each person / group who feels their favourite cause was not being adequately looked after will claim a victory when the government is changed. Their cause becomes THE reason that the opposition has now been voted back in. I’m for solar power and getting out of the grip of the grid-masters, but let’s not overstate things – it may eat into the cause’s credibility.

    • Certainly it’s likely that there are a multitude of reasons why the current LNPs (state and feral) are on the nose right now. What is common about these ‘favourite causes’ we diversely support is that most of them are included in the string of lies we were fed prior to the election.

      Nukepower is, of course, new to the mix. The seat of Curtin, “…bordered by the Indian Ocean in the west and the Swan River in the south…” is geographically-ideal for construction of a nuclear facility and would, no doubt raise employment prospects in that seat. 😉

    • Fair call ScubaDude, appreciate your comment. However it must be said that any article cannot be definitive so closely following an election. Hence the prevarications. But I take your point.

  3. Bah, humbug says

    I’d like to think Rich’s suspicion (hope?) that there is an element of the Victorian electorate sending Governments a message about renewables, particularly solar, but I think it’s just a little optimistic. Regardless, I look forward to the day when the many rooftop solar packages we see advertised typically include a battery pack so we can draw on stored power during peak evening use times. This will help take the top off peak usage and lessen the retailers’ claims about solar homes being of little use in cutting peak load requirements. In our case we have twelve panels on the roof, but also have room to put another ten on the (flat) double garage roof. If in a few years time we could do this, for a combined twenty-two panels, and also have battery storage, as a family of only two we’d be tantalisingly close to being able to leave the grid.

    • Thanks Bah, I think you’ve nailed it when you talk about viable battery packs. Obviously this will be the real “gamechanger” (to quote an overused expression), one that will definitely kick start the next phase of solar homes’ march to energy self sufficiency.

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