Solar Dawn Funding Pulled – $1.5 Billion QLD Investment Threatened

solardawnfunding

The Queensland Government’s renewable energy razor gang has delivered on its threat to pull funding from Solar Dawn, a solar thermal project that would have been one of the largest of its kind in the world.
    
Hard on the heels of slashing Queensland’s solar feed in tariff for new applications submitted after July 9, the Queensland Government has torn up a $75 million funding agreement for the 250 megawatt Solar Dawn project in Chinchilla, located approximately 300 kilometres west-northwest of Brisbane.
   
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman had previously reportedly stated green initiatives in his crosshairs “could be revived if the carbon tax was scrapped”. With that not having eventuated, his renewables lynch mob appears to have been granted free rein to maim Queensland’s solar industry.
    
Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson said a huge amount of investment in regional Queensland was now threatened.
    
“The Solar Dawn project offers Queensland the opportunity to be at the forefront of solar thermal technology and home to one of the largest solar power stations in the world.” 
     
“The Queensland Government is putting at jeopardy a project that represents $1.5 billion in economic investment to regional Queensland, 300 construction and local manufacturing jobs and a $68 million solar research and development program at the University of Queensland.”
   
This follows previous funding issues relating to the Federal Government’s Solar Flagships program, but the Solar Dawn consortium had been granted an extension until 30 June 2012 to reach financial close after Minister Ferguson declared it to be “the best value solar thermal project”. 
   
However, the Solar Dawn consortium has indicated it has been unable to meet these conditions.
  
Solar Dawn’s fate will now be determined by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), an independent body that came into effect on 1 July 2012.
   
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will manage $3.2 billion in renewable energy investment and administer a number of programs, including Solar Flagships.