Monday, 27 September 2010 11:34

The Climate Spectator has an article on concern in Western Australia that it is missing out on federally funded solar power projects – Will Solar Rise in the West?

The solar energy industry has virtually given up on the federal government providing a mechanism for the roll-out of utility-scale solar installations across the country, and is instead focusing its efforts on individual states.

Buoyed by the recent decisions of Victoria and the ACT to offer large-scale feed-in tariffs (FiT), a new coalition of solar technology companies, renewable energy groups, engineering companies, universities and regional councils, is calling for WA to do the same. Other states are likely to be similarly lobbied.

The WA coalition argues that the state with the best solar radiation in Australia should be leading the country in solar generation and argues that a 5 per cent solar target for 2020, underpinned by an FiT set by auction, would unlock more than $4 billion of investment to install some 1060MW of capacity.

This particular group has been frustrated that none of the 10 WA-based proposals – many of them around 200MW each – made the federal government’s Solar Flagships shortlist, and it fears now that Victoria and the ACT will steal the initiative and projects will be forced to migrate to less ideal conditions in the eastern states.

The group, which comes under the folksy banner of “the sunniest state, the solar state,” is going public this week after failing to gather much traction in their private lobbying efforts with the WA government.

“If you are looking at the renewable technology that works best in WA, it has to be solar,” says Richard Harris, the head of Midwest Energy. “The south-west grid is very, very peaky. We don’t have as much heavy industry, it’s very much summer oriented, day time peak that’s geared for solar power.”

Harris says a solar-gas hybrid could be particularly effective in the state, including in the Pilbara for mining projects. In any case, he says, it’s embarrassing that the state with one of the best radiation levels in the world has just 100MW of installed solar capacity, when countries such as Germany have more than 8000MW.

Source: Peak Energy.