SSS campaign end of year party

7 12 2009

Our last meeting for the year will be an opportunity to catch up for drinks on Thursday, 17 December at Tsubu bar, The University of Melbourne. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has announced that the administration decision will be made public on 14 December. We will be discussing where to take this campaign after a conclusion has been reached on Solar Systems. All are welcome. Here are the details:

When: Thursday 17 December 2009
Where: Tsubu Bar in the 1888 Building, The University of Melbourne. 169 Grattan St. (near the intersection of Bouverie St.) Enter from either Swanston or Grattan street.





Next event: Public Meeting

18 11 2009

RSVP on the Facebook event profile here, or join our Facebook group here.





“Dark day for solar” – article on Eureka Street

2 11 2009

Australian website Eureka Street has published an article by Greg Foyster which details the hypocrisy of the Government’s refusal to offer financial backing to Solar Systems. The article raises several examples of companies that the Government has bailed out following financial collapse, including fossil fuel and industrial smelter companies.

The Government’s position is eloquently summed up in the following quote, excerpted from Foyster’s article:

Our politicians suffer from a sort of carbon-induced myopia. Their obsession with digging up fossilised carbon blinds them to our nation’s other abundant energy resource: sunlight.

Obsession? Blinded? Seems like there’s another layer of Government hypocrisy going on here, given that Federal MP Lindsay Tanner is on the record for saying that greenies are “obsessed” with solar energy.

Have your say about the issues at the next Save Solar Systems action, where we will be protesting outside Lindsay Tanner’s Melbourne office during the week when the CPRS will be debated in parliament.

When: 12:30 pm Monday 16 November
Where: Lindsay Tanner’s office, 280 King Street, Melbourne 3000





Media release: Hundreds to rally over Government failure to support solar energy as administration deadline for company Solar Systems expires

30 10 2009

MEDIA RELEASE 30 October 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hundreds of people are expected to rally outside the State Parliament building today to demand government assistance to Solar Systems as the company’s administration period comes to a close. Solar Systems was contracted to manufacture solar arrays for Australia’s first large scale solar project, a 154 MW solar power plant proposed for Mildura which would have been capable of powering 45,000 households.

Former Solar Systems employee David Turner said that the barriers to transitioning to a renewable energy future are political – rather than technological.

“Solar Systems is the world’s leading concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) electricity producer, with large scale solar power stations operating in the field since 2003. Engineers have already largely solved the technological problems that large scale solar CPV faces, the Government must now show the foresight to commit the framework that solves the social and economic barriers that renewables contend against in Australia,” he said.

Sana Bau from the Save Solar Systems campaign said that the climate crisis demands investment in renewable technologies.

“The coal industry is set gain billions in taxpayer funded compensation when the CPRS comes into effect. The $125m committed to Solar Systems pales in comparison, yet the Government won’t spare this amount,” she said.

“Australia has the highest per capita emissions in the world. However, Australia could start to redeem its track record by supporting the development of effective, demonstrated technologies. Solar Systems is at the head of its field for renewables.”

Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero Emissions campaigner said that Solar Systems technology is of enormous value to Australia and the world.

“World leading technology from Solar Systems has a demonstrated track record. Australia must take advantage of its home grown technology to help this nation – and the world – transition to a decarbonised energy future,” he said.

Chris Breen from the Save Solar Systems campaign said that renewables are a better solution to climate change than emissions trading.

“Stuff the CPRS, build the Mildura Solar Power plant. It is likely that building the Mildura solar power plant will have more impact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than Labor’s carbon trading legislation,” he said.

He added, “Instead of supporting renewable energy jobs, Victorian energy minister Peter Batchelor now intends to jail climate change protesters for up to two years for trespass onto coal-fired power stations.”

Save Solar Systems rally – story and photo opportunities

Where: In front of Parliament House, Melbourne 3000

When: Friday 30 October 2009, 5:30 pm





Report from the WWF – five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution

19 10 2009

The WWF has released a news update stating that “The world has just five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable”. Modelling conducted by the company Climate Risk shows that major reforms to industrial practice are urgently required in order to avert catastrophic climate change. The findings call for simultaneous action to radically reduce emissions across all sectors, rather than sequential development of industries. This will require serious policy change, including feed-in tariffs for renewable energy. Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative states: “The transformation will require sustained growth in clean and efficient industry in excess of 20 per cent a year over a period of decades”.

Science has spoken. Now the pragmatic steps that governments need to take have been explicitly laid out. The Federal and Victorian Governments have demonstrated that they are blantantly ignorant to the call for an urgent transition to a low carbon future in their inaction on the impending collapse of Solar Systems. As the WWF analysis advises, governments that are slow to act on the opportunity to develop renewables will end up being hit harder by start-up delays and “constraints on available resources, labour and expertise”.  Sadly though, Solar Systems, a homegrown mecca of “available resources, labour, and expertise” – not to mention groundbreaking technological innovation – is faced with closure due to lack of a political imperative to invest in renewables.





Support letter

13 10 2009

Hi, the Save Solar Systems campaign is asking for your support. The company Solar Systems has gone into administration making 100 workers redundant. This has put the construction of the first large scale solar power plant in Australia in doubt. It was to have been a 420 million project, that would have created 1000 jobs in construction and powered 45000 homes.

We are asking that the federal government immediately intervenes to guarantee (i) that the Solar Systems factory in Abbotsford remains open, (ii) that the redundant workers are reinstated and, (iii) that a large scale solar power plant is built in Mildura.

We are asking you or your organisation to:

1 Support the sign-on statement and here.
2 Endorse the third Save Solar Systems rally, 5.30 pm Friday October 30, Parliament House, Bourke St City (we will deliver sign-on statement with signatories)
3 Publicise the rally, by forwarding this email, place the attached poster on your website.
4 Come to the rally, bring banners, union flags or placards.
5 Let us know if you can provide photocopying, a donation, or other resources for the campaign (for unions, can your union place any practical work bans to stop equipment being moved out of the factory in Abbotsford?)
6 Come to organising meetings, every Sunday 1pm, at the Terminus Hotel, 605 Victoria St Abbotsford.

Send all endorsements of the sign-on statement and the rally to savesolarsystems@gmail.com – if you wish to be added to our email list, send a request with “please add me to you email list” to the same email address.

For those of you on facebook, check out our group ‘save solar systems kevin!’ & our event ‘save solar systems rally’.

You can see an interview with one of the ex-solar systems employees here.

Regards
Chris Breen
on behalf of the Save Solar Systems campaign





Pics from the rally: 1

12 10 2009

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David Turner, ex-employee of Solar Systems delivers a speech to an emphatic crowd. He said that Germany currently employs 50 000 workers in solar energy alone, equivalent to four times the total number of people presently employed by the aluminium industry in Australia! Surprising, given that the conditions in Germany are far less optimal for solar power than here in Australia.

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Adam Bandt from The Victorian Greens spoke about the consequences of the proposed CPRS – no reduction in emissions as Australia will effectively buy pollution permits from less developed countries to warrant the continuation of business as usual by big coal and polluting industries. He drew a stark contrast between the Government’s rapid assistance to banks and financial service companies due to the global financial crisis and the lack of response to the collapse of Solar Systems during a time of climate crisis. Adam will be contesting Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner in next year’s election in the only marginal Labor/Greens electorate in the Country.

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Images by Sana.

The turn-out was fantastic, reflecting the level of community concern over the closure of Solar Systems. Thanks to everyone that made it happen. The movement depends on the actions of each and every one of us.

More pictures to come…