Heat rising on energy future

RENEWABLE energy is set to become an election issue in the New England after the launch of a new group concerned about its future in the region.

New England Energy Futures has already held information nights in Tamworth and Armidale, attended by more than 100 residents, and is calling on member for New England Tony Windsor and Nationals’ candidate for the seat Barnaby Joyce to join a community forum in August.

“We want them to respond to a range of community concerns about energy issues in the region, especially the threats to land and water from coal and gas and the potential for deploying much more renewable energy in the region,” campaign co-ordinator Emma Stilts said.

“New England Energy Futures is about ordinary New Englanders coming together to look at the progress being made both locally and nationally on getting our energy from wind, solar and biofuels and to talk about the future of energy in our region.

“We need to know that our region has a healthy future with high quality of life and access to clean energy.”

Ms Stilts said Mr Windsor had done a lot on this issue already, but “Mr Joyce’s record on protecting farmland from inappropriate mining and promoting renewable energy is less clear”.

“Through this campaign, we will be reaching out to thousands of residents to discuss the renewable energy solutions already being used to power our homes, farms and local businesses and the potential for more of our energy to come from these sources,” she said.

At the launch, the group released statistics showing more than 4500 homes across the electorate had installed solar panels, saving more than $2.5 million on their energy bills.

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