Update: news of our visit to Louise Markus published in the Gazette – leave a comment to show your support the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The Big Solar Poll results are in! An army of volunteers conducted an impressive 12,000 conversations in local communities across Australia, revealing 94% support for building large scale solar power stations, despite only 64%
saying they were aware of big solar plants being built elsewhere around the world. An overwhelming 95% of respondents agreed with government funding of big solar via a mechanism such as the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Read the full report: 12,000 Voices for Big Solar.
As its contribution to the Big Solar Poll, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now volunteers conducted more than 330 conversations across the Macquarie electorate:
- Over 83% of respondents indicated support for building big solar
- 86% supported government funding to help build it.
The results were presented to Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, on 25 May 2012. Our media release to the Blue Mountains Gazette is reproduced below. A full copy of the local report, including a selection of comments from survey respondents, can be downloaded here:
MEDIA RELEASE 25 May 2012
Members of a local climate action group have called on Louise Markus, Federal MP for Macquarie, to support the establishment of a renewable energy fund that will help finance the growth of renewables in Australia.
Legislation to establish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will soon go before Federal Parliament. The Coalition opposes the $10 billion fund, which would provide loan guarantees and competitive interest rates as a catalyst for increased private and community investment in renewables.
President of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, Ms Sue Morrison, told Ms Markus the local community overwhelmingly supports government initiatives that will result in a transition away from coal and gas-fired power stations to big solar power and other renewable sources.
“We conducted polling across the Macquarie electorate over the past couple of months to find out what people know about big solar power and whether they support initiatives aimed at overcoming the existing financial barriers to construction of large solar power stations in Australia.
“We talked at length with more than 330 people from a range of demographic and socio-economic groups and more than 83 per cent said solar power plants should be built in Australia to take advantage of its abundant sunshine and open space.”
Ms Noni McDevitt, who undertook polling in upper mountains villages, said just over half of those polled were aware of concentrated solar thermal power plants being built elsewhere in the world, but many were unaware that molten salt storage tanks can store heat for power generation overnight.
“More than 40 per cent of people were unfamiliar with this 21st century solar technology and many commented the government should be doing more to educate people about renewable energy options.”
Ms Morrison said more than 86 per cent of those surveyed supported the government’s proposed fund to kickstart big solar in Australia, provided it was well managed and projects were well thought out and commercially viable.
“With current subsidies favouring fossil fuels and powerful vested interests entrenching the existing energy mix, it’s very hard for solar power to get a foothold in Australia.
“Australia is being left behind, with countries like the U.S., Germany, China, India and Spain racing ahead with solar techologies.
“It’s time to level the playing field and provide investment funds for solar power stations that will ultimately lower the cost of electricity for all Australians relative to our increasingly expensive and declining fossil fuels.
“Renewable power will also result in creation of thousands of jobs in regional areas currently suffering from a decline in manufacturing industries or over-reliance on mining for new jobs.”
“A site has already been identified near Mudgee which could support a community-owned solar thermal power plant as an alternative to the expansion of coal mining on the edge of our precious World Heritage Area.”