The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) supports Al Gore's call for the US to replace all electricity generated by fossil fuels with renewable sources of power within a decade, and calls on all Australian governments to begin work on a similar plan for Australia.
The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) supports Al Gore's call for the US to replace all electricity generated by fossil fuels with renewable sources of power within a decade.
WA SEA calls on all Australian governments to quickly begin work to assess the costs and logistics of such an audacious plan for Australia.
Any government committed to a "whole of economy reform" must accept there is always more we can do, according to the business chamber for the sustainable energy industry in WA.
"Using the Al Gore challenge, replacing all of Australia's electricity generation of around 45 gigawatts capacity would require an investment in the order of $200 billion," says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA.
"As a lump sum this sounds like a big number, but picking a date of say 2020 to achieve the goal, spread over 12 years would be a figure of about $17 billion per year - less than the Federal Government's budget surplus," says Dr Wills.
"Of course I'm not suggesting Government foot the bill - the change would in execution only need a small component of financial support from the Federal Government - the reality is that an ambition to meet such an infrastructure and plant redevelopment target would be largely met by private investments on the back of government funded incentives," adds Dr Wills.
"Funds arising from an emissions trading market that will probably have a total annual value less than $12-15 billion could be the source of government funding for such a plan - although this number would fall as we built renewable energy generation because under this plan ultimately there would be no emissions from power generation!"
"I'm not suggesting it would be simple or easy - the logistics alone would be difficult - but nor do I believe it would be unachievable. Nor would it damage the economy - indeed it would create new jobs in new projects and build a more sustainable Australia," says Dr Wills.
"And work could start now - the Federal Government must take immediate advantage of GST windfall revenue on higher fuel prices and cash from higher royalties already flowing into Treasury as a consequence of the continuing resources boom. These revenues that will be additional to Treasury estimates provided in the May 2008 Budget must be used to move up funding for renewable technologies research that the May 2008 Budget had delayed until July 2009. Similarly a share of these funds must also be immediately directed to both support energy efficiency measures and deploy renewable energy in businesses and households."
"Tackling climate change can not rely on measures that are simply convenient - we must be audacious in our ambitions to fix the problem. No one ever won a sporting match by saying "let's try a bit" - anyone in the game knows the only way to win is to want it, to demand it, to live it. We need to approach the solutions to climate change as if we actually want to win the game."
"And substantive measures that support energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption reduce the challenge of delivering all electricity through renewable energy sources," says Dr Wills.
"Inaction - and inadequate action - will condemn us to rely on resource-extraction for energy with increasing demand bound to drive up the price of fuel sources and inflation. Oil prices will continue to spiral beyond $130-140 per barrel with on-going growth in demand from China and India, and no doubt pushing up inflation in Australia, but renewable energy will continue to shine on us, to wash up on our shores, and to blow past us - without additional cost," says Dr Wills.
"We must fundamentally change the way we create energy to power our homes, our businesses and our nation," says Dr Wills.
WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) Media Release - 18 July 2008
Dr Ray Wills 0430 365 607
1. Al Gore's call for the US to replace all electricity generated by fossil fuels with renewable sources of power within a decade sourced via Google - http://news.google.com.au/?ncl=1228133609&hl=en
2. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses variously promoting, developing and/or adopting sustainable energy technologies and services that minimise the use of energy through sustainable energy practices and maximise the use of energy from sustainable sources. WA SEA is supported by a rapidly growing membership of now 175 industry members from a diversity of businesses including the key energy players in WA. www.wasea.com.au.