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Leadership challenge a "debacle" for Australian solar power

2nd Jul 2013

A week can be a long time in politics, and as Julia Gillard packs her prime ministerial bags and makes way for Kevin Rudd as new Labor leader, one expert has slammed the episode as a "debacle" for Australian solar power.

Nigel Morris, founder of Solar Business Services, said that Rudd's initial comments on the renewable energy industry have already been concerning.

Rudd overthrew Gillard in a leadership coup last week, just over three years after she did the same to him.

"OMG, what a week; what a half-year and what a complete debacle the Australian solar industry is facing," Morris said.

"Whether you are a fan of Kevin Rudd of not, I haven't met a single person yet who thinks this week's leadership change has done anything except create more uncertainty and prove (as if we had doubts) that the majority of our political leaders are completely missing the point."

According to Morris, Rudd is already pushing to scrap the carbon price, a move the solar expert said is bowing to populist ignorance of the facts.

Carbon pricing is having a positive effect on energy consumption reduction, he explained, which has been indicated in a recent Australian Energy Market Operator's Electricity Forecasting Report.

Solar PV is also performing well, Morris said, a fact that Rudd would know if his team had bothered to skim through the research and results in recent weeks.

"If he (Rudd) had called me, or any other analyst watching the market closely, we could [have] also advised him that despite the forecasts, PV installations in the first half of 2013 look likely to be well in excess of 400 MW," he added.

While this is a slowdown from previous years, it is far from the collapse that naysayers had predicted.

Morris blasted those in power for manipulating successful policies as a political weapon and urged the government to examine the evidence rather than pandering to popular opinion just to stay in power.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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