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Scheme rethink

Monday, 2nd May, 2011

Member for Murray-Darling John Williams says the government is committed to renewable energy despite its decision to suspend the state's Solar Bonus Scheme.

The NSW coalition government has put a two month hold on new applications pending the result of its Solar Summit Stage One, to be held on Friday.

Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said on Friday that the cost of the former Labor government's scheme had jumped from $355 million to $1.9 billion, if all existing applications were accepted.

Despite the decision Mr Williams said the NSW Government was committed to renewable energy.

"But our focus will be on sensible, sustained, and affordable progress for renewables," he said.

He said the summit would seek to determine the Solar Bonus Scheme's true cost, as well as identify opportunities to limit cost blowouts through restructuring the scheme.

Stage Two of the Summit, to be held within the Government's first 100 days in office, would work to establish a sustainable future for the NSW solar industry and encompass broader industry involvement. 

The Solar Summit will be chaired by Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer.

"A commitment was made during the election campaign to hold a Solar Summit within the first 100 days of office to examine Labor's bungled Solar Bonus Scheme, and this is exactly what the Government is doing," Mr Williams said.

"The Summit will bring together representatives from industry, government, environmental groups and consumer groups as well as energy experts to manage the Solar Bonus Scheme's costs and ensure the further development of solar energy in NSW.

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