#Australia ’s largest #solar farm just the beginning for WA, unless Barnett plays wrecker. @SenatorLudlam

Australia’s largest solar farm just the beginning for WA, unless Barnett plays wrecker

Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Greens WA MLC Robin Chapple. Wednesday 10 October 2012.

WA Greens have welcomed the opening of the nation’s first utility-scale solar farm, using the occasion to urge the Federal Government to keep its renewable energy target despite attacks from Premier Colin Barnett and corporate rivals from the coal and gas sector.

“The Greenough River Solar project – outside Walkaway, south of Geraldton – is just the beginning. Western Australia has massive potential to be a world leader in solar power. We need to see political leadership to ensure that happens, and that means support for a strong renewable energy target,” said Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam.

The joint venture between Verve Energy and General Electric is expected to generate 10 megawatts; enough to power 3,000 homes, with plans already underway to expand generation to 40 megawatts.

Greens WA MP Robin Chapple said the solar energy industry presents great opportunities for the Mining and Pastoral Region he represents.

“Australia is one of the best places in the world for solar power, with the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent. Western Australia, with our flat topography and 300 days of sunshine a year, is ideal for solar power. Yet Australia currently gets only about 10 per cent of our power from renewable sources, and most of that comes from hydroelectricity.

“We have only scratched the surface of our massive solar power potential, yet Colin Barnett – who has already done his best to undermine the renewable energy sector in this state – wants the country to have no target, no ambition whatsoever for the only energy sources that will deliver a low-carbon, environmentally sound future,” said Mr Chapple.

Senator Ludlam urged the Federal Government to stand its ground and promote renewable power.

“Those big coal and gas utilities now calling for the Federal Government to scrap the renewable energy target, with Colin Barnett as their cheerleader, are serving corporate self-interest rather than the national interest. The current target of 20 per cent by 2020 is not only achievable, it’s quite pedestrian – we should be aiming higher.”

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

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