More than just emissions on 2009 Budget day

'Australian Governments must use the budget process to support initiatives that will result in real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, not just a slowing in growth of emissions,' says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

o Australia world's 15th largest economy

o Australians world's 13th wealthiest per capita
o Australians world's 9th largest greenhouse gas emitter per capita
o Australia world's 19th largest greenhouse gas emitter by volume
o Australia world's 53rd largest population
o Australia's governments must budget for reducing emissions

'Australian Governments must use the budget process to support initiatives that will result in real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, not just a slowing in growth of emissions,' says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

'Such action needs to be taken now. All Governments must be looking at responses available today, and not just fixate on measures that will take 10-15 years to show benefits.'

'And solutions have been available for many years - what is absent is a lack of will, a lack of commitment,' says Dr Wills.

'While we must continue to look for technology-driven carbon negative strategies, we must also start deploying already available renewable energies that can happen now.'

'And renewable energy provides the only technology available today and ready to build today that can provide real and affordable cuts in greenhouse gas emissions,' says Dr Wills.

'Both the Barnett and Rudd Governments must take decisive action, ensuring all elements of the budget deliver sustainable, best value solutions and commit Australia to effective actions on the enormous challenge presented by global warming.'

'The Premier Colin Barnett's announcement today that the State Government will make a significant investment of $260million through this year's State Budget to improve the reliability of Western Australian's electricity supply is welcome - and would be best achieved through accelerated incentives for the broad development of renewable energy,' says Dr Wills.

'Significant commitment to generating power sustainably will be needed for the State Government to meet its Council of Australian Governments (COAG) commitment of 20 per cent of Australia's electricity being generated by renewable sources by 2020. In reducing carbon emissions into the next decade, and in the absence of commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, the only possibility remaining for coal in energy generation into the future is closing old inefficient coal-fired power stations in a short time frame, and replacing those with supercritical coal-fired power stations with much greater thermal efficiency.'

'However, such an approach is likely to be economically flawed and unsustainable, and will only deliver limited opportunities for emissions reductions.'

'The only effective way to ensure emissions are significantly reduced while relying on fossil fuel technology is with high efficiency combined cycle gas-fired cogeneration power stations replacing coal-fired energy generation to transition to lower emissions technology.'

'Of course the most effective way to reduce emissions and at the same time diversify energy generation and bolster energy security is through the development of distributed generation across regions.'

'Opportunities exist to use sustainable energy projects spread across all regions as a way of restructuring and revitalising towns and cities across Australia, and contributing to the renewal of flagging rural economies, creating business opportunities, local jobs, and local generation of revenue using renewable energy resources and delivering sustainable communities.'

'Budgets in 2009 can take advantage of these opportunities in what will be the growth industry of the 21st Century, or revert to the unsustainable habits of the 20th Century business as usual approach,' says Dr Wills.

WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) Media Release - 11 May 2009

Media Contact:
Dr Ray Wills 0430 365 607

Editors notes:
1. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses boasting a growing membership of 240 industry members from a diversity of businesses, and now the largest state-based industry body of its kind in Australia. www.wasea.com.au.

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