Media Release 23 June 2011 FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
Call for governments to divert coal funding to Mildura solar plant
The Federal and State governments should redirect the $150 million they have promised to the polluting HRL coal plant at Morwell to support the proposed Mallee Solar Park near Mildura, Friends of the Earth said today.
“Despite missing out on the first round of funding under the federal Solar Flagships program, the Mildura Solar Park still has huge potential to provide jobs in regional Victoria and clean energy for the state,” said FoE campaigns coordinator Cam Walker.
“We welcome the state government’s decision to keep its promised $100 million on the table, but there is more they can do.”
“The state government could boost its contribution for the Mallee Solar Park to $150 million by redirecting the $50 million they have currently promised to the proposed HRL coal power station at Morwell.”
“Then, Victoria could ask the federal government to do the same with its planned $100 million investment in the polluting HRL coal development. “
“Energy Minister Michael O’Brien has acknowledged the need to diversify Victoria’s energy sources, and recognised that the carbon price will mean coal power is not going to be as economical in the future.”
“Now he should put his money where his mouth is and divert taxpayers funds away from coal and into clean renewable energy projects like the Mallee Solar Park,” Mr Walker concluded.
“The $50 million the state has promised for the HRL coal plant is coming from a so-called low emissions technology fund, so it would be far more appropriate to spend it on real low-emissions technology like solar.”
Mallee Solar Park proponent TRU energy has indicated they are determined to find funding to get the $700 million project off the ground, and will continue to seek government support for the 180 megawatt development.
Cam Walker, FoE 0419 338 047
There is an ABC report on this release available here.