ACT News

Canberra renewable energy industry disappointed by moves against green power

Canberra's renewable energy sector says a change of government could be the only prospect of growing investment, a day after the latest moves against wind and solar.

IT Power managing director Simon Troman said the government's directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop supporting wind energy projects and rooftop solar would hurt the industry, already struggling from other legislative changes and uncertainty from debate over the Renewable Energy Target.

Managing director of ITP Renewable Energy
Consulting Simon Troman says the government's directive to the CEFC to stop ...
Managing director of ITP Renewable Energy Consulting Simon Troman says the government's directive to the CEFC to stop supporting wind energy projects and rooftop solar would hurt the industry. Photo: Graham Tidy

"I am not surprised by it at all," Mr Troman said. "When the Renewable Energy Target dispute was settled and some people thought the attack was all over, I said there would be more blows."

"I am a little bit amazed that our current government is, yet again, interfering with statutory authorities or supposedly independent bodies are operating. They seem to have no problem at all interfering in the governance of independent bodies which is an odd thing for a modern government to do."

Environment Minister Greg Hunt denied the government was trying to close down the $10 billion clean energy finance organisation by stealth. The government has twice tried to abolish the corporation, but has been blocked by the Senate.

"The point of [the Australian Renewable Energy Agency] is to fund though grants and other mechanisms emerging things that wouldn't get up even with zero interest finance," Mr Troman said.

"The CEFC is more for those in between projects, the ones that aren't in full development phase and a bit closer to being ready to roll out."

Despite Mr Hunt saying the government believed in renewable energy opportunities, Mr Troman said ministers were succeeding in rolling back growth in the sector.

IT Power specialises in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon markets. From its Turner office and other locations overseas, the firm consults on private and public projects, including carbon markets and project management.

"If you are an investor and you've got an interesting proposal in front of you but every second day you see the government coming out with something new that makes you think the market is shaky... then you'll find those funders will put a much bigger risk profile on that investment."

Mr Troman said the government had been consistent on the issue.

"They've been attacking renewables since before they came to government and they're still attacking."

He said businesses and investors in the industry did not expect a change in approach without a change in government.

"I can't see the current government changing its mind. I don't know if the Liberal government needs to fall but their needs to be at least a major change up in the key figures.

"Greg Hunt seems to be the only one at a senior level who supports renewables and he is getting sidelined," Mr Troman said.