Small-scale Solar and Wind Energy

Government’s ban on rooftop solar and wind energy investment could render several Australians jobless.

Several Australians might end up jobless due to the recent “ideology-driven” resolution to ban investment in wind, and small-scale and rooftop solar projects. The directive has been forwarded to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) by Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Minister of Finance, Mathias Cormann indicating that small-scale solar should not be included in the $10 billion anticipated renewable energy investment. But Chief Executive of Australian Solar Council, John Grimes, has stated that many small-scale businesses might collapse due to the recent decision by the government, indicating the “tragic” directive might affect several thousands of jobs. “There are about 18,000 people in Australia directly employed in the solar industry,” he said. “These are the jobs of rural and regional Australia and these are the jobs that we want to create. So, the Government is sabotaging the whole industry because of its ideology that we should burn more coal and we need to shut down the renewable sector.” Mr Grimes stated that Abbott Government was “completely out of touch with the people of Australia” on the situation and promised to “campaign hard” for amendment of policy. Small-scale and rooftop solar installer shave expressed their displeasure and have described the Government’s strategy as a “stupid” resolution that was making them to “desist from the solar industry”. “It’s a stupid idea to reduce investment in an area where it has the effect of saving our environment,” some installers lamented. Richard de Bruin, the founder of R&R Solar Installations has relied on solar panel installation as his livelihood for five years. He experiences a drastic “bigger drop” in his income due to the decision by the Abbot Government. “The uncertainty that we’ve had for the last six to 12 months has just really hurt the business to the effect that now we’re moving to a new site, trying to find some more work,” he said. Some have dropped as many as 50% of their employees due to this decision by the Government. This situation will significantly have an impact on families, neighbours and a majority Australians in the remote communities. Some have reported that for some time now the CEFC has not given any funding to their small-scale business, and they keep funding larger businesses. The CEFC has now decided to fund the smaller business and the government has decided to ban them. “It is a bad cut for the renewable energy industry as a whole, but for one particular company, in our circumstances, it’s not going to affect us in a huge way.”Craig Balmanno, owner of Free Solar & Solar Farmers said. “They are worried about renewables removing revenue from the fossil fuel industry and tax receipts from the fossil fuel industry,” he said. “As far as a finance corporation, it’s [the CEFC] an organisation that’s actually making money for them. “Why would they want to cut back on how it’s investing and try and limit its investments only to emerging technologies?” Source: Katri U., July 13, 2015. Renewable energy investment: Government ‘sabotages’ thousands of jobs as it ends wind, solar power investment, Australian Solar Council warns: [Accessed July 13, 2015]


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