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Spending on renewables is not a bad thing

18th May 2012

Anything that involves excessive spending also tends to attract criticism - and renewable power is no exception.

The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) has suggested that investing in renewables should be something we celebrate, after all, it is helping secure our future!

These comments were made in response to the Western Australian government's decision to axe its solar feed in tariff scheme after it was deemed too costly to continue with.

Energy minister Peter Collier described the fact that 76,000 homes across the state now have solar panels installed on their roofs as a "terrific outcome" - but some policymakers simply don't agree.

Ray Wills, chief executive of the SEA, pointed out that these solar power systems are benefiting real families from all over Western Australia.

"Contrary to the media reports, the majority are taken up by mums and dads with kids and mortgages who are now using solar power to deliver electricity to their homes direct from their roof tops and to reduce their electricity bill," he explained.

So why is this seen as such a bad thing? Peter alluded to problems in the management of the solar feed-in tariff scheme, rather than the renewable technology itself.

In fact, the SEA offered advice to the government before last year's Budget was delivered, suggesting that the tariff needed to be scaled back in order to remain sustainable.

One of the criticisms of the scheme was that its popularity had been underestimated, leading the group to say that had its recommendations been followed, this situation could have been avoided.

"It is also unfortunate that the media reports exaggerate the potential ramifications of the cost of the overrun to households," Peter added.

Policymakers could learn something from this assessment of government rebates - scale-back the incentives and they will be able to last longer!

Posted by Mike Peacock


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