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New laws to deliver solar boost to Australia

29th Aug 2011

Australia's peak solar body has called for the government to speed up its drafting of legislation that will help the country's switch towards renewable solar power systems.

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) wants the Gillard government's Clean Energy Future package to be passed by no later than the end of the year.

John Grimes, chief executive of AuSES, says: "Putting a price on carbon is the most cost-effective way of cutting climate pollution, but that measure alone will not supercharge solar and deliver a clean energy future.

"The Australian Solar Energy Society supports the swift passage of the government’s carbon pricing bills but is concerned draft legislation has not yet been released to establish the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)."

AuSES is concerned that any delays will reduce the effectiveness of the government's plan, as new research shows that the price on carbon will drop in 2015-16.

Bloomberg New Finance Energy has predicted that the carbon price will fall to $16 once the traded market is opened.

The figures are in direct contrast to those released by the government, which believes the price will be $29 instead.

Manager of Bloomberg carbon research Seb Henbest says: "The way the system has been designed means that from 2015-16 the Australian carbon price is likely to be driven by the cost of buying credits from the international market.

"As demand from the EU ETS slows however we expect the international carbon price to fall below the Australian price floor."

According to Bloomberg, lower international prices will affect the amount of revenue that the government can collect from the scheme.

This in turn will limit its ability to fund more solar projects - a key concern of AuSES.

Bloomberg states: "A lower carbon price reinforces the need for complementary measures in the Clean Energy Future Package to achieve domestic emissions reductions and the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target to promote renewable energy sources."

The legislation has been scheduled to be introduced to parliament next month.

Australia's solar future is expected to be dependent on government initiatives, which have proven to be the leading contributor of renewable energy change in other countries.

Consumers in Australia over the last few years have been convinced to install solar panels under such programs as feed-in tariffs, solar credits and the solar bonus scheme.

However, more initiatives will be required to help transition the remaining population to clean, cost-effective energy generation technology.

- Bob Dawson: News editor 

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