THE NSW government’s decision to withdraw support from clean energy schemes was criticised yesterday as a retrograde step that would threaten billions of investment dollars.
The acting chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, said it was a “worrying sign that the NSW government would seek the removal of one of Australia’s most significant energy policies without considering the impact this would have on investors who have put billions of dollars into clean energy projects in NSW. The renewable energy target is scheduled to run until 2030 and these projects would face collapse if it was removed.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Hartcher said yesterday the government supports the increase in use of energy from renewable sources as a key component of its broader energy strategy. She said NSW Labor had set network charges for the five years to 2014 and was responsible for the failed solar bonus scheme.
”Labor and the Greens keep ignoring the truth, which is that green energy schemes are hurting consumers because they all need subsidies – and those subsidies are hidden in their electricity bills,” she said.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre said yesterday rural and regional customers would be among the hardest hit by the electricity price rises. It has called for energy rebates that target people most at risk of poverty.
A senior policy officer, Carolyn Hodge, said rebate rates were uniform despite the fact consumers were charged different electricity rates.
”PIAC is particularly concerned about people in rural and regional areas who are paying approximately $600 per year more than the average Sydney household,” she said. ”Not all of the assistance available to vulnerable people has kept up with power prices.”