Originally published on RenewEconomy.
The head of the Australian Solar Council has hailed the apparent victory of the Labor party in Queensland, saying it would also target the NSW Coalition government if it chose to side with vested interests rather than consumers.
ASC chief executive John Grimes said the solar industry had run a fierce political campaign in Queensland, and would do so federally, given the virulent anti-renewable stance of Coalition leaders.
Deposed Queensland Premier Camblell Newman and his LNP government had backtracked on promises, branded solar households as “champagne and latte” sippers, and even proposed a $200 tax on solar households.
“This was a punishment tax on those who dared to use less energy from the grid,” Grimes told ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program on Thursday.
Prime Minister Abbott had also back-tracked on renewables, dumping his proposed “solar sunrise” policy of one million homes, and instead arguing how much he could cut the renewable energy target.
Little wonder, Grimes said, that both leaders were so unpopular, given more than 400,000 solar households in Queensland, and two million across the country.
“People have seen into the soul of our political leaders, and unfortunately they are covered in coal dust,” Grimes said. Both Newman and Abbott have said they “stand for coal.”
Grimes argued that the Queensland state electricity assets, which include networks and generators, would be better in state rather than private hands. And he was confident that Queensland would deliver on its promises, which included connecting one million houses to solar,
He said the government could look at the interests of consumers rather than that of the power sector, including encouraging more production in homes and business, battery storage, and peer to peer trading.
Grimes said it was clear that the energy sector was going through an “energy revolution”, but many utilities were locked into an out-dated model.
He was confident that the Labor government could deliver on its promises of connecting one million homes to solar, and to lift the share of renewable energy production in the state to 50 per cent by 2030.
“This is a battle between broken business model of electricity companies and new wave of technology being embraced by consumers. Any government that sides with the big power companies and against the community is doomed to failure. If the Labor government backtracks, we will call them out.”
Reprinted with permission.
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