Will the states call the shots in solar power policy?

the states of Australia

The sweep of Coalition victories throughout the land has been abated with the narrow victory of the incumbent Weatherill government in South Australia but what does this mean for solar power policy?

As the always perceptive Giles Parkinson points out in his regular column for RenewEconomy, there is now some push back from state politicians over solar energy policy throughout the country. This (perhaps) as they understand (a) that the rest of the world is already moving towards a renewable future and (b) most importantly, ordinary Aussies have voted with their rooftops for a solar power policy.

“.. the return of the Jay Weatherill Labor government in Adelaide, the election of Will Hodgman in Tasmania, and the ambition of the ACT Labor government means that there are some counters to the apparently ideologically driven opposition to renewables in the federal government,” said Mr Parkinson.

We agree. It seems to have been one of the ongoing themes of the SQHQ blog that most of the “push” for renewables has come from the ground up. Could this be that some state governments are finally listening to the public’s clamour for renewable energy including the massive vote for solar power?

As the redoubtable Mr Parkinson points out, the states where anti-renewable agenda is strongest has been the ones where the fossil fuel industry has held most sway. Think here of Campbell “No Can Do” Newman and his merry bunch of renewable revisionist hordes or elsewhere in this sun burned country of ours where solar narkism representing fossil fuel interests has held sway over a more reasoned and future minded energy policy.

Indeed South Australia already has one of the highest renewable energy mixes in the world (no less!) with 31 percent coming from solar and wind. While the expected election of a conservative government didn’t eventuate, the question is: would this have made any difference to the state’s forward thinking solar power policy?

Perhaps not (your correspondent says cautiously).

The move towards a renewable energy future may be so embedded in SA that any government which shows itself to be anti-renewable may not last. If its one thing the pollies do best is not to bite the hand that feeds (re-elects) them.

Perhaps it may come to pass that more state governments will become like South Australia or the ACT government (which has an incredible 90 percent renewables aim by 2020) to become the leaders in innovative energy thinking over the foot dragging feds?

Dreaming again?

Will solar power policy in one of the world’s most sun drenched lands end up being governed by state governments more attune to the wishes of the people? Or will the dead hand of the grim fossil fuel reaper hold sway? Your thoughts, as always, are welcomed either here or over at our Facebook Page, Google Plus or Twitter accounts.


  1. As a Queenslander I’m ashamed of our government’s lack of foresightedness that is so often on display. I get the feeling that renewable energy sources such as solar is being used as a plaything by Mr.” anti-renewable” Newman and his lackeys .He will flog our fossil fuel industry to death, simply because there is an immediate government income involved. If that doesn’t work, he will sell off the industry to the highest bidder for a “quick quid”. It wasn’t all at long ago that saving fossil fuel energy was promoted and supported by the government. Along with the party change came a radical attitude change. Now, everything is for sale, and if you are from overseas, cheaply too.

    • Great call Peter, thanks for your contribution. Totally agree the “boom and bust” mentality is still alive and well for renewables in many fossil fuelled sates.

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