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QLD: Solar scheme should be privately funded

28th May 2012

It is the job of the private sector - rather than state governments - to fuel solar power investment, the Queensland government has asserted.

Describing the Cloncurry Solar Farm as a "localised climate initiative", state minister for energy and water supply Mark McArdle believes that opting out of solar schemes could save Queensland taxpayers millions of dollars.

Withdrawing its support from the 2.128-megawatt project, the state government is taking efforts to get its finances back on track - although it appears that they may be doing this at the expense of green technology.

"Large-scale solar farms are proven technology and it is up to the private sector to decide whether to invest in, build and operate such projects in Queensland," Mark explained last week (May 24).

However, he encouraged businesses that are keen to develop renewable energy programs to seek out funding from other sources, including the federal government and private investors.

"We are also supporting Queensland businesses to access funding from Commonwealth programs to develop Queensland-based clean energy projects," he said.

This is a second blow to state-funded renewable investment in recent weeks, with the WA government deciding to cease its solar feed in tariff scheme.

But the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) has challenged the perception of some state governments that spending on solar is a negative thing.

SEA chief executive Ray Wills pointed out earlier this month that the bulk of solar panel installations are carried out by everyday Aussies like you and me - people who just want to save a little cash on their electricity bills and maybe do a good deed for the environment too.

And while "no one would have a problem" with taxpayer-funded initiatives that would add more buses to the roads to increase the frequency of public transport, he argued that renewables are not given the same quality of treatment. Hear hear!

Posted by Mike Peacock

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