“The government must urgently redress the impending collapse of two major cogeneration plants rendered unviable by government policy that dramatically lowered the price of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs),” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today.
“In the Senate today I asked Minister Wong what action the government would take to assist a failing NSW renewable energy project. The Minister had nothing to offer them.”
“Belatedly changing the program from next year to give clarity and certainty to big projects does nothing to help these plants struggling today to survive.”
“The NSW Sugar Co-op and Sunshine Energy in northern NSW support over 600 farmers, 400 direct workers and more than 300 employees in transport and field sectors. They built two major cogeneration plants with partner Delta at a cost of $220m.”
“A decision on receivership is expected this Friday. I call on the government to take action to prevent the ruin of this major renewable energy project which is directly due to the government’s ill thought out solar credit program.”
“The Coalition warned that this would happen and tried to amend renewable energy legislation but the government would not listen. Now we have a major catastrophe and the government must act straight away, not wait until January.”
“The government has announced changes but these will come too late to save Sunshine Energy. They need assistance today to stop them from going under.”
Senator Boswell said that the project was financed on the basis of REC price levels before the government decided to effectively subsidise solar and photovoltaic pumps to almost 80% of their capital cost and made the schemes eligible for up to 5 times normal REC generation.
“REC prices dropped from over $50 to under $24 making it impossible to meet financial commitments without selling the plants’ RECs at very low prices, thereby reducing the ability to meet future commitments.”
Senator Boswell said that the government must take responsibility for substantially changing the business environment for renewable energy projects.
“The sugar co-op is also at risk of being affected if receivers do not operate the cogeneration plants to supply steam and electricity to the mill in the crushing season that starts in June.”
“The Rudd government has unbelievably mismanaged everything to do with its climate policy programs, from insulation to green loans and now the renewable energy projects.”