Greens Senate Victory And Australia’s Solar Power Revolution


While Australia starts the working week still not knowing who will take the reins of the country, the Greens having won the balance of power in the Senate is very good news for renewable energy.
The Australian Greens won a Senate seat in every State, including the first ever Greens Senators in Queensland and Victoria. The first lower house Greens Member of Parliament was also elected, with Adam Bandt winning the seat of Melbourne with a massive 13% swing to the Greens on primaries.
On Friday prior to the election, the Greens blasted both Labor and the Coalition  for cutting $416.5 million out of renewable energy programs during the election and promised to continue to use its voice in parliament to increase support for renewable energy. 
One of the cornerstones of the Greens’ renewable energy policies is a national gross feed-in tariff that would pay a uniform premium rate for all electricity generated by systems large and small – from home solar power systems to major wind farms. Currently Australia has a fractured feed-in tariff system with various States having their own programs and most working under the net model; meaning the premium rate is only paid on electricity generated surplus to consumption.
Greens Deputy Leader Senator Christine Milne championed a bill for a national, gross feed-in tariff in July 2008. The bill was supported in principle by a Senate Committee and sent to COAG for consideration, but never acted upon. 
According to Max Sylvester, co-founder of national solar power solutions company Energy Matters, the opportunity has now arrived for the Greens to flex its new-found muscle and push that bill through – and to act on other issues holding back Australia’s solar power revolution.
"The swing to the Australian Greens indicates that the concern for the environment and renewable energy are no longer just for farmers and hippies, they have truly become mainstream. If either of the major parties had shown some real initiative on climate change and renewable energy they probably would have would have won the election outright.”
Energy Matters’ has been active in supporting Senator Milne’s feed-in tariff bill and launched an online petition calling for a national, uniform gross feed in tariff for solar power that has so far attracted over 20,000 signatures. The results of the petition were tabled in Parliament by Senator Milne last year. The petition is still active and can be viewed at