Solar Farms: Re-election chance sees government invest in ‘very, very large’ projects

solar farming

Clearing the land for a solar farm!

Never underestimate the power of an election to get our pollies moving on environmental issues folks. Thanks to opinion polls showing the Ruddslide bringing both major parties neck-and-neck in the latest “Most Important Election Since the War” even solar farm policy is on the move. Or so it seems.

Perhaps some bright solar spark in the government re-election team has pointed out that being seen to do something on such an important issue as renewable energy may swing the election? Kicking in some moolah for solar farms in marginal seats might be a wise electoral investment?

I speak here of the announcement this week of the news that AGL’s two major solar farms are set to proceed. The photogenic Mark “The Man” Butler (the newly-installed Ruddite Minister for the Environment) has reached deep into the government’s (read our) pockets to the tune of $166 million. This from the feds Australian Renewable Energy Agency (with the NSW government kicking in some $40 million).

The combined projects (one a 102-megawatt capacity solar farm at Nyngan, near Dubbo, the other a 53 megawatt plant near Broken Hill) were described as

“…very very large”

by The Man who appears to have grasped his portfolio’s language very well.

Later, a more specific description said the plants would equal a size four times the area of Sydney’s CBD (which would put it in Alan Jones’ ego size territory) which is indeed, “very, very large”.

NSW Energy Minister Chris “The Hatchet” Hartcher was a little more erudite.

“When you think about it, it’s brought the state government together, the federal government together, the universities and the private sector through AGL and First Solar, so it’s really all of Australia coming together for what is a common Australian objective,” he said.

Fantastic then. Isn’t that what we fork out for? (solar reader’s voice). Yes it is. However as our regular Facebook Page contributor Mark Bailey pointed out, it would’ve been happier had our dollars gone towards local companies getting a larger piece of the pie. We at SQHQ agree. Couldn’t local solar operators be encouraged by all this sudden dosh flying about? We’d like your opinion on this.

Just a reminder you can discuss this (and all things relating to AGL’s solar farms) with Finn at the Capri Theatre, Goodwood, Adelaide. The show Chasing Ice is a charity fundraiser and you can obtain tickets here.

Comments

  1. Yes Minister says

    The incumbent Queensland government is openly hostile to solar farms, particularly if the intent is to reduce retail electricity cost to consumers. I recently investigated establishing such a venture to operate on a strictly not for profit basis for a smallish / compact community & found obstacle after obstacle placed in the way. Among other issues, a certain dumbcluck bureaucrazy who claimed to be boss-cocky of the ‘renewable energy office’ advised that no enterprise conflicting with the billion dollar rip-off from Energex / Ergon would **EVER** be approved regardless of how much renewable energy was involved. Hmmmmm One can only hope that Big Clive gets up on September 7th as he’s the only possible PM with a will to kick the $*(*#&%^# LNP / ALP duopoly in the privates.

  2. Earl de Blonville FRGS says

    Are you aware of Aero Island?
    Nestling in Denmark’s southern archipelago, Aero is totally green and self sufficient in energy.
    Six wind turbines supply 110% of the power needed by the island’s almost 7,000 residents, while the three towns each have a large solar panel array to supply hot water for heating of homes.
    I understand that experts form around the world come here to study the setup, a brilliant example of Just Do It green power self-sufficiency. They also treat all their water before it goes back into the Baltic. And you will now that Denmark’s emission control policies on cars is extremely tough and expensive.
    The place is stunning, and people wonderful, making Aero worth a visit to see how easily energy self sufficiency can be done.
    Of course, we have similar here on King Island. And New Zealand goes even further.

  3. Yes Minister says

    One can only assume that politicians elsewhere demonstrate a tad more honor than the duplicitious parasites with which Australians are inflicted. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I recently made inquiries about establishing a non-profit solar farm for the local community however the Newman government made it quite clear that every possible obstacle would be put in the way as it would reduce the profitability of state owned wholesaler Energex, currently being fattened up for sale to asian interests. Its obvious that reducing the cost of electricity is contrary to the interests of General Disaster & Co, mind you neither the red nor the green teams are any less bent. Another proposal to establish a big solar farm on flood plain at Carrara has also apparently fallen flat on its face, probably for exactly the same reason. Even if such a facility could be built in Queensland, network charges would be imposed to an extent that nobody in their right mind would proceed past pre-planning stage.

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