SUN REAL Renewable Energy Systems

Victorian Government cuts back on RE

We have recently learned that Energy Victoria has had further funding cuts that will effect the good work that it has been doing in providing information and advice to the public about energy conservation, renewable energy and the Renewable Energy Assistance Program. Bruce MacKenzie, the person responsible for renewable energy and REAP has had his job terminated from the end of July and it appears that the future for the REAP scheme beyond the end of this year is very grim. We are very disappointed at the way the government is treating Energy Victoria and have written to our local MP and the Minister for Energy & Minerals to voice our complaints. We suggest that you do too!

We think that at this stage of the 20th century it is important to be developing new, sustainable methods of producing power and to encourage and educate people about how to reduce their dependence on energy produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

Australia has a commitment to reducing its levels of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of renewable energy sources is one way of meeting that commitment.

Australia, like most western counties, use a system of national accounting that ignores true values and true costs. For example, the costs to the community of road trauma & repairs to highways due to heavy trucks are not added to the costs of road transport, they are added to our GDP as productive work! Conversely, people who look after their own children - our future - are counted as unproductive unless they get paid for it! Similarly, a magnificent 500 year old Mountain Ash has no 'value' whatsoever until it becomes a log on the forest floor.

Renewable energy is similarly disadvantaged by this system of accounting as most of the costs of pollution do not show up on any balance sheet and those that do are in the wrong place!

Under these circumstances, renewable energy is unlikely to become a player in the larger scale of energy production without government support. A significant amount of which is enjoyed by most conventional fossil fuel power producers. The research and development required starts at home - by supporting the local industries, manufacturers and businesses to get renewable energy on the map. Australia is at the forefront of technological advances in this area but governments are doing very little to help.

The approach of governments is typified by the sort of cost cutting being applied to Energy Victoria. The amounts of money involved are tiny in the scheme of things but the results could do the world of good.