Friday, August 8, 2014

Solar Experts Say Australian Renewable Energy Investment Being Stifled by Government Policy

New economy displaces old in Nevada desert
One of the world's most advanced solar power companies has shelved plans to develop electricity plants for the public market in Australia because of the Government's apparent hostility to renewable energy.

Solar Reserve, based in Santa Monica, California, has pioneered a technology that combines mass-scale solar power generation with storage, allowing energy from the sun to be "time-shifted" and used 24 hours a day.

The company hopes the mining industry will take up the technology at remote mine sites which currently rely on polluting - and heavily subsidised - fuel.

But the company has given up on ambitions to generate electricity for the retail market in Australia.

Solar Reserve chief executive Kevin Smith told the ABC's Four Corners program the company had been deterred by a drift in policy and the planned scrapping of the carbon tax.

It was also concerned about the appointment of Dick Warburton, who doubts that carbon emissions are causing global warming, to lead a review of Australia's Renewable Energy Target.

"That policy change pretty much took the life out of the renewable energy sector as far as large-scale projects for utility applications [are concerned]," Mr Smith said.

"Other markets around the world are advancing. Australia is going to get left behind."

On Mr Warburton's appointment, Mr Smith said: "Clearly that appointment was made because they want to move back towards conventional fuels, coal and oil.

"It's pretty clear that the policy in Australia is now being centred around big coal. The coal industry clearly has rallied to move policy away from renewable energies because they view renewable energy as a threat and want to move back to convention coal."


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