As we hurtle towards the New South Wales state election on Saturday, March 23, renewable energy is a political hot topic. All major parties recognise the importance of taking a stance on environmental issues, and the ‘big three’ outlined their NSW state election energy pledges last month.
Here’s a look at what the Liberals & Nationals, Labor and Greens have planned for renewable energy post-election.
We’ll also have a look at the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, which while not a major party, may have a pivotal role in who forms Government.
Liberals & Nationals: Cutting energy bills
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian believes her Empowering Homes program will deliver a $3.2 billion renewables investment into the state.
The decade-long plan aims to help 300,000 homes receive solar panels. Savings for families with quarterly bills of $500 could reach $285 annually while they repay a no-interest loan. That figure would exceed $2,000 after repayment is complete.
More power-hungry households (with quarterly bills of $875) could save up to $640 per year. That figure would then jump to $2,290 after repayment.
And thanks to home storage batteries, an additional 3,000 MWh of storage will be added to the state energy system once the scheme is up and running.
Labor: Major investment in solar
Any household with a combined income under $180,000 would be eligible for the rebate – up to $2,200. It’s predicted they will save up to $600 annually on energy bills.
Notably, such solar generation would also create a virtual power plant (VPP), generating an extra 2 GW of power.
Greens: Publicly-owned renewable energy corp
Taking a markedly different approach, the Greens will push for a brand new electricity supplier and retailer, dubbed PowerNSW.
Publicly-owned and 100 per cent renewable, PowerNSW would also manage every stage of the funnel – building, distribution and retail.
The aim is to give NSW residents truly affordable electricity. The Greens predict NSW consumers will save $200 a year on average. Those savings will be derived by eliminating corporate profits and advertising.
Additionally, the Greens plan to create renewable energy hubs in regional areas. The Regional Clean Infrastructure Investment – a $5 billion fund – would cover hubs in Broken Hill, Central West NSW, Northern NSW Tablelands and the Murray-Riverina.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party a reactionary force?
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party is a conservative threat to the National Party in many rural electorates, and there is a possibility that it may hold the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly. This may mean that any minority Government may depend on their support.
Their NSW state election energy policies are to:
- Support the exploration and development of coal and mineral resources where appropriate.
- Support the immediate construction of a new HELE (high efficiency, low emission) power plant in the Hunter Valley
- Oppose the use of taxpayers money to subsidise intermittent energy sources, i.e. solar and wind.
- Support the use of nuclear energy
- Oppose further development of interconnectors between adjoining states as such infrastructure would further destabilise our delicate electricity network
When someone starts talking nuclear, you know that they are seriously behind the curve.
NSW state election energy policies: Good news all-round
It’s clear that each major party is taking the country’s environmental challenges seriously, with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party a conservative outlier. Expect more discussion around renewable energy such as commercial and residential solar as the election race reaches a crescendo over the next fortnight.