Businesses, community groups and politicians gathered outside Victoria’s Parliament House yesterday to voice their dissatisfaction at draft solar feed-in tariff laws they say will do nothing for jobs or the environment.
A feed in tariff is a premium rate paid to consumers for electricity generated by their solar power systems. In Germany, feed-in tariffs have created a booming solar industry.
However, under the Electricity Industry Amendment (Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff) Bill 2009, Victoria’s feed in tariff will have little in common with the successful German program, or even other feed in tariff programs in Australia.
Grid connect solar power system owners in Victoria will only receive 60c per kWh for surplus electricity generated, but this will be applied as a credit time-limited to 12 months; unlike other states where cash payments are made.
The rally, attended by several hundred people, called on opposition and independent MPs to move amendments to the draft in the legislative council. According to the rally’s organiser, Environment Victoria, the draft legislation fails to achieve its objectives due to a myriad of flaws.
Critics say the proposed tariff, which provides limited incentive to invest in solar, demonstrate the government’s dependence on heavily polluting coal power and failure to grasp the challenges of climate change.
Victoria’s Labor government postponed debate on the contentious laws yesterday, continuing uncertainty for consumers eager to make the switch to renewable energy systems and the Victorian solar power industry.