WA Labor on solar power: trick or treat?

perth at dusk

Is WA Labor’s idea to let Joe Public buy solar on government roofs a goer?

How serious is the West Australian Labor Party’s offer to open up the state’s renewable energy market should it win power in this month’s election? Superb, groundbreaking idea to include all in the solar power revolution? Or as one of our Facebook Page readers succinctly put it; is it a case of “promises, promises”?

We speak of the Opposition’s Energy spokesman Bill Johnston’s speech at a sustainable energy forum last week where he appeared to dally with a scheme to allow all West Australians to invest in the state’s domestic solar energy sector.

He was reported by the ABC as saying:

“What we will do is allow people to invest in PV generation and put it on a government building roof and that will allow them to offset their energy costs and sell back to the system the excess energy they generate.”

“This policy is especially created for renters and people living in apartments who don’t have a rooftop to put solar panels on to. This system will allow everybody in Western Australia to be part of the renewable energy revolution,” he said.

Brilliant idea eh? Ticks all the boxes on supporting renewable energy and allows access for everyone. Well maybe not so much in the Wild West where fossil fuel industries reign supreme and vacillating pollies regularly quake before their bosses’ utterances. Indeed the policy float could probably be described as “courageous” (as Sir Humphrey would say to Jim Hacker in Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister). Strangely the policy doesn’t seem to made landfall on the WA Labor website under their policy section, nor does their Facebook Page or Twitter account mention such an intention.

The lateness of the Opposition’s announcement of the policy (if it is that) and the lack of follow up may indicate a tactical decision to try and lure some Greens voters back into the Labor fold over the issue of renewable energy. Or am I being too cynical again readers? The WA Greens have indeed introduced some solid solar power policies including a proposal to install solar panels on all public housing in the state and recent polls have shown that many voters are deserting WA Labor for the Greens’ more progressive renewable energy policies.

So is the WA Labor proposal kosher or a neat little tactic to attract voters? In other words “Trick or treat”? We’d love to hear your views. Have your say here or over at our Facebook Page.

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