A “chilling” of investment in renewable energy, leading to a loss of jobs, has highlighted the need for South Australia’s $550 million energy plan, Premier Jay Weatherill says.
Mr Weatherill says uncertainty surrounding the renewable energy target and other aspects of national energy policy are hurting the renewable energy sector.
“It’s no surprise we’re seeing a fall-off in jobs in this sector,” the premier told reporters on Wednesday, after figures showed renewable energy jobs in SA had fallen from 2360 in 2011/12 to just 710 in 2015/16.
“There has been a chilling of investment in the renewable energy sector because of the uncertain policy environment that been created by the absence of a coherent national policy.”
Mr Weatherill said SA’s energy strategy, which included construction of Australia’s largest battery to store renewable power, would help kickstart jobs in the sector.
He said there were also other large and small scale renewable energy projects that were ready to proceed.
But the South Australian opposition said the loss of jobs in the sector was an example of the premier talking up his green credentials but failing to deliver.
“What this demonstrates is that we have a premier who talks a big game on renewables but doesn’t deliver when it comes to actual jobs,” energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.
According to the ABS figures, jobs in the renewable sector have been in decline across the country.
They peaked at 19,220 in 2011/12 but fell to 11,150 last financial year, largely reflecting the decline in the number of rooftop solar systems being installed.