Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green has assured solar power customers that any changes in the feed in tariffs will be fair when competition is introduced next year.
With the privatisation of Tasmanian government owned Aurora Energy, many solar panel users in the state are worried that feed-in-tariffs will be reduced, undermining the investments that they have already made and weakening the incentive for investment in renewables in the future. Aurora Energy currently pay 27 cents per kilowatt hour, which may drop to as low as 8 cents per kilowatt hour next year.
As a result, a new community group has been formed to ensure a strong future for solar in Tasmania. Solar Citizens is a initiative businesses, homeowners and members of the community who are lobbying for feed-in-tariff assurances.
“The government is rushing headlong into the privatisation of Aurora but has been conspicuously non-committal on the future of feed-in tariffs.” said Jack Gilding, a spokesperson for the group Save Solar Tasmania in a media release on April 11th.
Minister Bryan Green has provided an assurance that prices would be fair, but has been non-specific by how much:
“Of course the Government will ensure we put in place a fair and reasonable arrangement around feed-in tariffs, we know how important it is for business in Tasmania,” he said.
The Tasmanian Greens have called for industry confidence via a two year freeze of current feed-in-tariffs after privatisation for new and existing solar customers.
Solar Citizens have started a petition to protect current rates, and push for renewable energy policies. http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/savesolartasmania