Solar farms approved but NSW lags on renewables
THE Baird Government's approval of four private solar farms in New South Wales has failed to convince Labor it has green credentials.
The four renewable energy projects at Parkes, Glen Innes and two at Griffith will use more than 500,000 solar panels to power more than 56,000 homes, saving 342,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas from being produced each year.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said more than 330 construction jobs would be created from the projects that have a combined capital investment of more than $300 million.
"NSW is Australia's large-scale solar leader, with the country's three largest solar farms and hundreds of megawatts of solar electricity capacity online and in the pipeline," he said.
Mr Stokes's claim was a selective view of the situation, according to the Climate Council's state report card released last month.
The Climate Council found NSW was the worst state or territory in Australia when it came to switching away from fossil fuels; had a falling percentage of renewable energy; no renewable energy target; and low levels of rooftop solar.
South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory were the nation's leaders in the renewable race.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the NSW Budget contained no details on how the government would invest in renewable energy, except for a brief mention saying: "Supporting... renewable energy projects across NSW."
"Despite big claims made in the Budget papers, there is no money for new investment in renewable energy projects," Mr Foley said.
"The Liberal and National Parties claim to support getting 20% of our energy coming from renewables by 2020, but on their watch NSW is slipping behind.
"Under the Baird Government, NSW is not reaching its target and is getting further from it - with no plan to catch up in the next four years."