by Jason Tin
A $600 MILLION climate change "slush fund" driving up NSW power prices is being used to stage talkfests on solar energy, fund studies into the environmental impacts of "lighter coloured" roads and even pay for bureaucrats to attend energy forums.
About $600 million was ripped from energy distributors Ausgrid, Endeavour and Essential over the past two years for the state's Climate Change Fund, with the peak body representing the distributors confirming the costs of the contributions are simply being passed onto consumers.
There are now calls for a review of how the fund, which was established in 2007 and was once used to pay for the now-closed Solar Bonus Scheme, is being operated.
It can today be revealed it is being used to fund "free solar seminars" in rural areas and numerous clean energy "workshops".
The "outcome" for one workshop was a "new partnership between Hawkesbury Council and community energy and environment groups".