NSW to push COAG for solar reform
New South Wales has flagged its intention to push for a single federal tariff scheme for solar rebates following a tense week for the O’Farrell government after its plan to cut the state rebate from 60c to 40c per kilowatt was met with widespread public resistance.
NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher announced his intentions to take the policy proposal to the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in June. His announcement comes as over 160,000 NSW residences have installed solar generation units, backed by the NSW solar scheme, causing a blow out of the costing to $1.9 billion from the original $355 million. The government aims to stem the funding hemorrhaging in the scheme’s costing by reducing tariff payments.
However, it is unlikely that the federal government will adopt a nationwide scheme, after it announced its view that such a move would be inefficient and would increase electricity prices for consumers.
The federal government has shown its preference for large-scale industrial solar energy generation after announcing plans to spend $5 billion on such projects across the country.
This includes the construction of solar plants that feed energy directly into the grid in areas that receive more sunny days than large population centres such as Melbourne or Sydney.