Posted on 01. Sep, 2011 in Greening Victoria

The Baillieu Government has delivered a massive blow to Victoria’s burgeoning solar industry that will cost hundreds of jobs across the State, the Shadow Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, said today.

Ms D’Ambrosio said today’s announcement to abolish the premium solar feed-in tariff scheme was bad news for the solar industry, Victorian jobs and the environment.

“The Premier has again demonstrated a dangerous lack of leadership on clean energy investment in this State,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“In just three days, Mr Baillieu has managed to kill off major investment in wind energy in Victoria and has delivered a major blow to the solar industry as well.

“The decision is particularly damning given Mr Baillieu and his ministers were key supporters of a premium solar tariff in opposition and indeed said it didn’t go far enough.

“But Mr Baillieu has become a carbon-copy of climate-change sceptic Tony Abbott, putting political opportunism ahead of Victorian jobs and the environment.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Clean Energy Council had forecast around 1800 jobs would go from Victoria’s solar industry if the Baillieu Government scrapped the premium scheme.

“The Council has said a price below 35 cent per kilowatt would effectively kill off industry growth,” she said.

“This is damning news for Victorian jobs – given Mr Baillieu’s replacement scheme is priced at a measly 25 cents per kilowatt – barely above the retail price.

“This is a paltry incentive for households to invest in solar systems that can cost up to $30,000.

“We already know that one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, The Mark Group, has now abandoned expansion plans to open offices in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and in the La Trobe Valley – supporting 200 new jobs.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said today’s announcement had seriously compromised a key election promise of the Baillieu Government to investigate introducing a gross feed-in tariff.

“The Baillieu Government has said a VCEC inquiry in to gross feed-in tariffs will report in June next year.

“Mr Baillieu has broken another election promise, this time to keep the existing scheme until his replacement scheme was ready, which is still at least 12 months away.

“Mr Baillieu’s credibility on renewable energy has hit rock bottom and comes as a bitter disappointment to all Victorians who want action on climate change.

“The only certainty this will give the solar industry is the certainty that Victoria is no place to invest in renewable energy.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said confusing transitional arrangements for households needed clarification.

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