Shadow ministers slam ARENA withdrawal

15th Nov 2012

It is just days after the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced it was pulling funding from a large-scale solar project – and the decision has been slammed by shadow politicians. 

ARENA revealed it would not be backing the 250 MW solar thermal plant in Queensland, as well as a different scheme in Victoria, due to its inability to reach a satisfactory financial close on the deal.

And shadow energy and resources minister Ian Macfarlane wasted no time in branding the announcement further proof that the Labor government is failing to address issues in the energy sector.

Submitted by the Solar Dawn consortium, the facility was due to be part of the federal government's $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program, which is designed to provide financial help for large-scale sun-powered schemes.

However, the Solar Flagships has approved just one project of the several that have been submitted – a thin-film development formulated by AGL-First Solar.

Mr Macfarlane said: "Just days after the release of the Energy White Paper, the Gillard government's flawed energy policy platform has again been exposed, with the collapse of a major plank of the government's green energy credentials."

He added that the decision has left a "black hole" in Australia's energy investment plans for the next half-decade, as well as ignoring increasingly important issues such as rising electricity costs.

And he wasn't the only one to berate the government over the announcement – shadow minister for climate action Greg Hunt also weighed in on the argument.

"Solar Dawn has become a solar sunset under this government. It promises a lot but fails to deliver," he claimed, noting that it adds to an ever-increasing list of government bungles in the energy sector.

This will rank alongside the pink batts debacle, green loans and the cash for clunkers scheme, Mr Hunt commented, all of which were mishandled.

Posted by Bob Dawson

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