Hunter winery makes big savings with solar  

Drayton’s Family Wines at Pokolbin recently installed a 200 kilowatt solar power system that is expected to save the winery up to $83,000 per annum in their electricity bills costs reports the ABC. Consisting of 800 solar panels the system was funded by the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program, a merit based grants program that assists Australian manufacturers maintain competitiveness with rising energy costs.

Paterson MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin says the result is a positive outcome for all stakeholders. “The desire to lower their carbon footprint, to reduce their energy bills after four years once they’ve had their pay-back period, that $83,000 cost saving will be coming straight off their bottom line,” he said.

The MP is advising businesses in the area to consider renewables like solar when auditing their expenditure. “I think there is a desire to look at alternative forms of energy, solar is but one of them,” he said.

While the government has recently been pressured about their commitment to the Renewable Energy Target, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced he is mindful of the contribution that the RET makes to cutting emissions.

”The principles are maintaining investment and recognising the importance of it towards emissions, but also trying to do whatever we can to help to ensure reducing unnecessary pressure on electricity [prices],” he said.

A proposal from Origin Energy to delay the target by five years and lift it to a 25% reduction of emissions by 2025 will be considered at an upcomming review.

Some factions withing the Coalition including Nationals senator Ron Boswell are calling for the scheme to be scrapped. PM Tony Abbott’s right-hand man Maurice Newman has public denounced the RET and the carbon tax accusing them of diminishing Australian companies competitiveness. It is rumored that Mr Hunt and Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane are leading a vocal faction of supporters of the scheme leaving the industry unclear on the direction of renewable support going forward.