State-based RET scheme needed as Abbott threatens clean energy targets

The Greens are calling on the NSW Coalition to join a cross-party commitment to a state based scheme that fills any holes that changes to the RET will create in the renewable energy investment environment.

('Solar installers face another boom and bust' Sydney Morning Herald 30 August, p. 15,

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "Just the announcement of the findings of the Warburton review has inflicted untold damage on the confidence of the renewable energy industry.

"Uncertainty about the future of the RET scheme will drive investors out of the market.

RET report bad news for Hunter clean energy future, jobs growth

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has said that the Report into the Renewable Energy Target is bad news for the Hunter and should not be implemented.
"The backward attitude of the Liberal/National government on renewable energy plus this out of touch politically motivated RET Review will bring uncertainty to the industry in the Hunter and limit jobs growth," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The Hunter has benefited from the renewable energy industry with more households turning to clean energy, business opportunities thriving and a jobs growth this region badly needs.

New regional solar power industry in Western NSW - Labor/Coalition reverse position

The Greens have expressed dismay that their Senate motion in support of the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative in western New South Wales was voted down by the Coalition and Labor after a similar motion was passed by the NSW Upper House.
Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said: "Federal Coalition and Labor have failed to back their own colleagues in the NSW Upper House who voted for a motion in favour of the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative, which is supported by 31 regional councils.
"The failure of Labor and the Coalition to back the NSW Upper House and the western NSW councils support for this project is insulting.
 "Western NSW is the ideal place to harness the power of the sun to benefit local residents, the economy and the environment. The backers of this project know they are on a winner here.
"This project, known locally as 'the SEXI Proposal', would boost local economies, create local jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the need for investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure and, in the long run, reduce power bills.

Rooftop solar industry about to take another blow

The NSW independent pricing regulator has today suggested to electricity retailers that they slash the amount paid for rooftop solar energy by up to 25 percent because of the imminent repeal of the carbon price, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "The solar industry is about to become a victim of both IPART's methodology that undervalues electricity from rooftop panels and the Abbott government's repeal of the carbon price.
"Despite the environmental and economic benefits of clean energy generated close to the load, solar installers have struggled with hostile policies from both levels of government for more than three years.
"Now they face yet another hurdle as potential customers see the already meagre benchmark tariffs cut by between 17 and 25.8 percent.
"IPART has refused to price solar power at anything like the retail tariff.

World Environment Day: Greens Call for Government to stand up for the Environment

On World Environment Day, Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called on the NSW Government to stand up to protect the Environment. Dr Faruqi will host a World Environment Day forum at 6pm at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts focussed on conserving our Marine Environment, with speakers from the diving, sailing and nature conservancy community.

"Yesterday, on the eve of World Environment Day, I stood with hundreds of people outside the Environment Ministers office, calling on the Government to cancel the special conditions granted to Whitehaven coal to clear the Leard State Forest over winter, and stop the onslaught on our native wildlife.

"This year's World Environment Day theme is 'Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level' and is an urgent reminder of the need to combat climate change, end the CSG and coal rush and transition to an 100% renewable energy economy.

Newcastle Light Rail Route a Gift to Property Developers

Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called the announcement of the light rail route in Newcastle further confirmation that the truncation of the rail line is more about property development than public transport. Newcastle residents will hold a community rally to protest the decision next Wednesday (28/5/2014) at 12pm outside NSW Parliament.

"When Minister Goward talks about opening up significant areas of the rail corridor for public use, I find it highly unlikely she means parks or public infrastructure.

"Where is the consultation report that contains the supposed endorsement of this route? Today's announcement is just a coloured line on a map, with no mention of where all the associated infrastructure will be placed.

"People's suspicions that this is just a land grab for property developers could be coming to fruition.

"It is clear they are now fast-tracking the process to make the removal of the rail tracks a fait acompli before the next election.

"It is highly offensive that that public infrastructure like Newcastle port was sold to pay for ripping up rail lines that the community wants and needs.

Baird: just another cut-it-down premier

The Coalition's determination to push ahead with burning native forests for power shows nothing has changed despite NSW having a new premier, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Commenting on the defeat of an Upper House disallowance motion to overturn the Coalition's native forestry biomass regulation, Dr Kaye said: "The Coalition and their allies on the conservative crossbench have made sure that this state's native forests are now open to a new source of exploitation.

"As the market for Australia's native forest wood chips is collapsing, the Baird government had the perfect opportunity to end the destruction of critical habitat and the millions of dollars of subsidies that pour into the industry each year.

Bike licensing not the answer to making NSW roads safer

Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has criticised Roads Minister Duncan Gay's suggestion of introducing a bike licensing scheme.

Dr Faruqi said: "This is simply a thought bubble from the Roads Minister, which distracts from the primary solution for making our roads safer for cyclists: a comprehensive bicycle infrastructure strategy for New South Wales.

"A bicycle registration scheme would be costly, difficult to enforce, and enormously damaging to accessibility.

"There's no evidence that bike licensing schemes help in reducing accidents and tragic deaths. In fact, in places like Los Angeles and Switzerland they have been abolished a short time after being introduced.

"We should be encouraging people to choose sustainable and healthy forms of transport, not discouraging it.

Greens warn of power privatisation risk

The election of Premier Mike Baird will put public ownership of the state's electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure at risk, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('I am in the game to make a difference, says new Premier', Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April, p. 7,

Dr Kaye said: "Selling public assets is part of Mike Baird's DNA.

"He will inevitably plunge NSW into another divisive power privatisation debate which is likely to end with high electricity bills, more greenhouse gas emissions and a weaker state financial position.

"Despite the $1.8 billion annual returns to the state government from electricity distribution and transmission corporations, it was impossible to have a budget conversation with the then Treasurer that did not end up with an impassioned but futile plea for support for a sell-off.

"Mike Baird is first and foremost a merchant banker who sees critical infrastructure through the prism of next year's budget bottom line.

"He has never demonstrated any understanding of the long-term social or environmental consequences of private ownership of the wires and poles," Dr Kaye said.

Climate report challenges O'Farrell government's hostility to wind power

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's demand for action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions should put yet more pressure on the NSW Coalition government to drop its irrational antagonism to wind energy generation, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Listen to John on ABC 702 this morning here.

Commenting on today's release of the IPCC's Working Group III report, Dr Kaye said: "Wind power, along with energy efficiency, is the most cost-effective emissions abatement measure available in the NSW electricity industry.

"Despite the opportunity to build a new industry that creates jobs and economic growth in rural and regional NSW, the O'Farrell government has done everything it can to stymie the development of wind farms.

"The threat of the draft wind planning guidelines has created huge uncertainty for potential investors who are running away from NSW.

"Dumping existing development proposals into a much more hostile planning regime has convinced international wind companies that, under the O'Farrell government, NSW is open to every business except renewable energy.

"There are 27 wind farms proposed for NSW and almost all of them are stalled.

"The technology could create 4,000 new jobs, bring $7.2 billion of investment and cut 28 percent off the carbon footprint of the state's electricity industry.