Renewable energy support will reduce emissions, overcomes cost of carbon for low income earners.

The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) welcomes Kevin Rudd's announcement today to fast track the Federal Government's $500 million renewable energy fund over the next 18 months rather than the six years, as previously announced.

The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) welcomes Kevin Rudd's announcement today to fast track the Federal Government's $500 million renewable energy fund over the next 18 months rather than the six years, as previously announced.

The Prime Minister, together with the Minister for Climate Change, Senator Wong, must ensure the release of the white paper supports the talk of the Federal Government commitment to a "whole of economy reform", says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA, the business chamber for the sustainable energy industry in WA.

"Cash injections by government in response to the global financial crisis must ensure full value is obtained from that expenditure to both deploy renewable energy in households and also support energy efficiency measures," says Dr Wills.

"The Rudd Government can also immediately act to make the greatest use of the lead time to a 2010 emissions trading start-up to put in place transitionary measures now, that combine initiatives that deliver renewable energy sources with unbridled support for energy efficiency measures," says Dr Wills.

WA SEA urges the Federal Government to lead the way to establish a Gross Feed in Tariff (FiT) for domestic customers across Australia to support the installation of solar and other renewable energy. In addition, WA SEA calls for more funding to continue the means tested subsidy of renewable energy installation on the homes with income under $100 000. Those householders taking full advantage of the system need never pay an electricity bill again, and so with absolutely no exposure to a carbon price rise on energy."

"Similarly, support for pensioners in the form of funding to convert their homes to be more energy efficient combined with installation of domestic renewable energy systems will ensure pensioners will continue to reap rewards - an enduring tax cut by savings in energy costs, combined with electricity delivered without an electricity bill -and of course reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

"And diversifying electricity generation on roof tops of Australian homes will bolster distributed generation through the regions, and will improve electricity networks, potentially reducing the cost and need for upgrading supply networks, and so bring both energy security and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."

"And in addition to encourage renewable electricity generation, we need to address other consumers of energy - for example, rebates for hot water systems using renewable energy - whether that be solar hot water, or from other green energy sources, must be mandated in all new homes and renovations across Australia."

"And Senator Wong must expand her efforts now to broker even more substantial measures for start-up in May 2009 with next year's budget and ensure the process of adaptation is well and truly underway a year in advance of increased energy prices from an emissions trading system."

"The Rudd Government must revisit measures already announced - for example, in housing, the Federal Government must rethink how a $1.4 billion commitment to homeowners will be applied by directing this to energy efficiency measures that will reduce energy costs to home owners."

"Affordability is generally not about the initial construction costs, but the costs buried over the life of the asset. Handing out the first homeowners grant without an obligation to invest the publicly funded subsidy in an energy efficient home is akin to handing out free cigarettes to smokers to compensate for tobacco taxes (or free emissions permits to the most prolific greenhouse gas producer to compensate for their emissions)" says Dr Wills.

"The best way to fix housing affordability is for the first home owner grant to energy efficient homes, to ensure assistance for the first home owner puts them into energy efficient homes with reduced running costs," says Dr Wills.

"We need joined-up thinking to simultaneously tackle the toxic debt crisis and climate change. A more sustainable approach to the economy deals with both issues at the same time - and with the same expenditure," says Dr Wills."

"Rescuing banks has this year outstripped any investment to stop greenhouse gas emissions by several orders of magnitude. The Rudd Government will spend almost two per cent of GDP using taxpayer money to deal with poor financial decisions by Australia's banks. The financial institutions own an extensive array of assets - the Rudd Government must tie rescue packages to place obligations on those banks to invest more sustainably, so that the assets they control are geared to also do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Dr Wills.

"The Rudd Government must also commit to fund the delivery of renewable energy to Federal government operations. A Government committed to act on climate change must lead by setting targets for whole of government operations - including defence, health facilities, social services, and education delivery - that aim to be carbon neutral by 2015 and take a bigger share of cutting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by aiming to be carbon negative by 2020. Such action will stimulate the construction of new renewable energy projects that create new jobs in regional Australia."

WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) Media Release - 14 December 2008

Media Contact:
Dr Ray Wills 0430 365 607

Editors notes:
1. News report at

2. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses variously promoting, developing and/or adopting sustainable energy technologies and services that minimise the use of energy through sustainable energy practices and maximise the use of energy from sustainable sources.

3. WA SEA is supported by a rapidly growing membership of now 200 industry members from a diversity of businesses including the key energy players in WA.

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