SEXI message resonates in NSW Senate

THE co-ordinator of a proposal to provide renewable energy for inland NSW is buoyed by unanimous support given to the project by the Senate last week.

Matt Parmeter said support for the motion introduced by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon signalled senators understood the long-term importance of renewable energy to inland NSW, "and as an industry that we can develop to produce electricity we can eventually export".

He said it would provide jobs and investment in the region in the future.

The Solar Energy eXchange Initiative (SEXI) was a proposal to install solar PV panels and build concentrating solar power plants in inland NSW, Mr Parmeter said.

The plants would be medium scale, large enough to run a typical country town.

The SEXI proposal involved the co-ordinated efforts of up to 32 councils, covering two-thirds of NSW, all of which were eligible because they received a minimum amount of solar radiation per day.

Of those, 24 councils had written letters and passed motions of support.

Dubbo City Council was not yet among them, but Mayor Mathew Dickerson said it had not gone before Council.

"There's no doubt Dubbo's a supporter of solar energy, we've promoted the installation of solar panels and the city is the number one for solar uptake," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Parmeter said the support of federal parliament followed similar support in NSW Parliament.

"This means we now have the support of every level of government in Australia," he said.

"There are more steps to be taken, more meetings to do, more reports to be produced, but there is no doubt about the popularity of solar energy, and the public's view that it should be part of our energy future."

Despite the Senate's backing, the proposal would need federal government funding to proceed through to development.

"We are seeking funding, and the unanimous in-principle support of the Senate will help us push on with the proposal," Mr Parmeter said.

Meanwhile Mr Parmeter said this month's announcement the AGL/First Solar Nyngan Solar Plant had begun generating power with renewable energy feeding into the national electricity market augered well for the renewable energy industry.

"There are lots of ways to use this energy source, it can provide electricity day and night if we store it, a huge transformation is under way.

" We are moving from coal power to renewables - it's a good sign for solar."