- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Possible clean industries for the Clarence

John Kaye MP
Greens launch 'Zero Carbon NSW' plan in Clarence by-election

Greens candidate for Clarence Janet Cavanaugh and Upper House MP John Kaye launched their party's Towards a Zero Carbon NSW plan in the lead up to Saturday's by-election vote. They were joined by Greg Schubert from Northern Rivers Renewable Energy, a local company that has had to shed jobs due to the downturn in the solar energy industry.
Ms Cavanaugh said: "Premier Barry O'Farrell and the Nationals have played politics with the future of hundreds of jobs in the Clarence by continuing to oppose the price on carbon.
"We want to use the federal government's Clean Energy Future package as a first step towards turning the Clarence into a renewable energy powerhouse, with hundreds of new jobs in Grafton, Casino and the surrounding areas.
"A state-wide ban on new coal-fired power stations, restoring a sustainable feed-in tariff for roof-top solar, stopping the spread of coal seam gas and the other industry policy measures in our package will create a place in the sun for local renewables.
"Turning NSW over to coal and gas mining will destroy jobs in the long run. The future of the Clarence has to be with the clean industries that will grow rapidly with the right state support.
"The Nationals have consistently opposed the development of renewable energy in NSW. They are putting at risk the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs across the state," Ms Cavanaugh said.
Greg Schubert said: "The coal industry has enjoyed decades of government subsidies, including diesel fuel rebates, and it continues to enjoy them. The fledgling solar industry enjoyed a government subsidy for less than two years before it was abruptly removed.
"Obviously, Labor's 60 cent gross feed in tariff was unsustainable and established solar industry players said so when it was introduced. A number of fly-by-night solar installers sprang up and at least they all disappeared as quickly as they came when the Coalition scrapped the feed-in tariff altogether.
"However, at the moment, if you install some grid-connected roof top solar, you get nothing for the power you put back into the grid. You can offset the amount of power you draw from the grid but only by the amount of power you can use during the day. This means it's still a good idea economically for many businesses but not for most home owners who use most of their power first thing in the morning and in the evening."
"All the solar industry is asking for is a one for one feed-in tariff, so that you could sell power to the grid at the same price you pay for the power you buy from the grid. After all, the price of coal will only continue to rise whereas the cost of sunshine remains at a stable zero..."
Dr Kaye said: "The Greens will be introducing legislation early next year to ban the construction of new base-load fossil fuel power stations, stop the development of new gas pipelines and create a new, sustainable set of feed-in tariffs for roof-top solar and community-owned wind generators.
"We want to explore the possibilities for small scale solar thermal plants in the Clarence. Using the heat of the sun to drive turbines makes a lot more sense than destroying the water table and polluting the air with coal seam gas drilling.
"The University of Newcastle identified 73,800 new jobs in clean energy in NSW but none of these will become reality if the O'Farrell government continues its hostility to wind and solar power," Dr Kaye said.
For more information:       Janet Cavanaugh 0429 479 968;
John Kaye 0407 195 455
Greg Schubert 0403 821 076

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