A BORDER environment group has slammed the federal government for its “appalling” attitude to renewable energy.
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health said on Monday the government was “shamelessly supporting the fossil fuel industry instead.
Spokesman Lauriston Muirhead was commenting on the government’s decision to dump wind-energy and solar-energy projects, though the latter is still available for industrial-scale proposals.
The government recently told the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to get out of supporting wind energy investments.
Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann also directed that investments in household and small-scale solar be "excluded" from the $10 billion fund in future.
Mr Muirhead said his group worked “very hard” to be non-political, but that had been severely tested by the government’s recent approach.
“For a long time, governments have supported the fossil fuel industry, but this government seems to be doing its best to destroy the clean, renewable energy future.”
Mr Muirhead said he was dismayed at the comments made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Hockey criticising wind turbines.
“Tony Abbott has said that the government wants to continue to fund the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, but he’s doing his best to destroy it because he’s creating unrealistic economic demands on it.
“And he’s directing what it can and can’t invest in.
“There was never any agreement that it could only invest in emerging technologies.
“It’s there to encourage the transition to renewable energy.”
Wangaratta-based Hire Solar owner Pete Miller said the lack of government support meant the industry was now “a cold market”.
“At the end of the day they’re talking about only funding new technology.
“But what are talking about here – perpetual motion? You’ve got to go with what’s best and what’s the here and now, and that’s best with solar and wind.”
Mr Muirhead said the cost of all this was paid in pollution and finance.
“And apart from the investment, we’re becoming the laughing stock of the western world because it is realising that the future is not coal.”