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Taking care of the next generation

NSW Government forced to Re-negotiate over Solar

Archived News, Posted on 20 May 2011

The NSW government has been forced to negotiate with the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fisher’s Party over its much-criticised decision to make retrospective changes to its feed-in tariffs. The O’Farrell government needs the support of the minor parties to pass its legislation through parliament, because it is losing support from its own MLCs. Former environment spokeswoman Catherine Cusack has said she will cross the floor, and Kevin Conolly has said he is considering it.

The Australian subsidiary of one of the world’s leading solar PV firms, the German-based Q-Cells, said it was putting all expansion plans in Australia on hold as a result of the NSW decision, and its retrospective nature. “It is clear that we underestimated the sovereign risk of investing in renewable energy in this country,” Q-Cells Australia managing director Oliver Hartley wrote in an opinion piece in the SMH.

Hartley, who undertook a doctoral research in solar PV at the UNSW, where many of the world’s industry leaders have studied, said the state was risking another exodus. “NSW has led the world in solar energy research … (but) the fruits of all the hard work could dissipate abroad once again.” He said the changes in NSW were “virtually unprecedented” in his company’s experience overseas and would create “a level of uncertainty that will have consequences well beyond the borders of NSW.”

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