Greens launch Renewables Legislation; Hopeful of ALP, Nationals support

July 2nd 2010 - The Greens have today launched their legislation to massively boost the uptake of renewable energy in WA.  The legislation proposes a comprehensive “gross feed-in tariff”* for all forms of renewables, based on the successful models from Germany, Denmark and Spain.

“A ‘comprehensive gross feed-in tariff’ is quite a mouthful to say, but we know that those are the magic words when it comes to stimulating the renewable energy sector and therefore the whole economy,” said Greens MLC Robin Chapple.

Mr. Chapple, the spokesperson for the Greens on the Energy portfolio, introduced the Bill into Parliament on the last sitting day before the July recess.

Mr Chapple said that the party is optimistic about getting support from both the ALP, who proposed a gross feed-in tariff at the last State election, and the Nationals, who have subsequently indicated their support for such an approach.  If such support was received, the Bill would pass both Houses of Parliament.

“WA needs massive growth in the renewable energy sector to make a real contribution to driving down Australia’s greenhouse emissions,” Mr. Chapple said

“Germany in particular has blazed a trail that Western Australia – and thereafter the rest of the country, we hope – must follow, introducing back in 2000 the feed-in tariff we are largely looking to emulate with this Bill.”

“Since that year Germany has become a powerhouse for renewable energy development and deployment, tripling the share of renewable energy in that country from 5.4% in 1999 to more than 16% in 2009, with the result that more than 300,000 people are now employed in their local industry.”

The Greens said that the possible support for this Bill from the National Party would be critical.

“Renewable energy sources are, by their very nature, broadly distributed across the landscape and even into the ocean,” Mr Chapple said.

“Properly stimulating the development of those sources is a great source of economic development for regional WA.”

“We know that the Nationals passed a motion at their national conference last year supporting gross feed-in tariffs, and we hope that will translate into support for this Bill in particular.”

  • Media contact:  Robin Chapple MLC - 0409 379 263

* The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) proposed by The Greens is a gateway to affordable and clean energy for Western Australia.  The proposed ‘gross’ feed-in tariff involves a system of long-term price guarantees for different forms of renewable energy generation, where the operator of the generator is paid for all of the electricity they generate, irrespective of how much electricity that same operator uses themselves.

The tariffs are proposed to be customised according to different technology types, and even according to different potential locations of generator, to ensure all technologies are provided access to this economic stimulus mechanism, and to encourage broadly-distributed power generation across regional areas.

The Barnett Government is implementing a net feed-in tariff, only for small systems installed on households, and only involving a payment for electricity if the householder exports more power than they use in any given half hour timeslot.  Such an approach provides no investment certainty for households, a very limited stimulus for industry, and will have only a very limited impact on the total renewable power put into the grid due to its application only to small domestic power systems.

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