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Clean Energy Council calls for WA feed-in tariff extension

2nd Aug 2011

Australia's peak body representing the clean energy sector has expressed disappointment at yesterday's decision to close the WA solar power feed-in tariff.

In a press release yesterday (August 1), chief executive Matthew Warren said the government should have made an attempt to seek advice on the matter prior to closing applications to the popular initiative.

Yesterday morning, WA energy minister Peter Collier announced that no further applications would be considered after the cap of 150 megawatts was reached ahead of expectations.

Warren says: "We are disappointed that this announcement has been made without any consultation with the solar industry and with no consideration of the future support for this popular technology."

Mr Warren believes that Australians are clearly ready to make the switch to solar power systems, as evidenced by the recent drastic increase in applications.

He says: “The temporary rush by consumers to get access to the best incentives unfortunately appears to have been used as an excuse to shut down an industry which was on track to stabilise under the lower incentives, as was the experience in other states."

Warren believes that unless a new scheme or an extension of the existing one, is introduced soon, many working in the solar sector will lose their jobs.

He notes that the investment of West Australian people is not purely in the purchasing of solar panel technology, but also in the energy sector infrastructure itself through skills training and new jobs.

Warren asserts: "The WA Government should not be turning back on this emerging industry.”

Looking to the future, he added that WA needs to re-evaluate its approach to the scheme with long term sustainability in mind before offering the services of the Clean Energy Council for consultation.

The Clean Energy Council consists of over 500 companies from the renewable energy sector and is Australia's leading not-for-profit authority on solar, wind and other clean energy technologies.

Its aim has been to influence policy-making bodies by advocating clean energy adoption across all of Australia and providing the collective advice of its members.

Recent months have seen a number of policy announcements and changes as state and federal government attempt to reduce the country's reliance on emissions-generating energy sources through funding initiatives and solar credits incentives.

Last month the Australian Capital Territory closes applications for its feed-in tariff ahead of schedule after the cap was reached within two days of being re-opened.

By: Bob Dawson - News Editor

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