Friday, 30 November 2012

Renewable energy sector grows but barriers remain
26 Nov 2012

The Climate Commission's report on the state of the sustainable energy market, titled "The Critical Decade: Generating a renewable Australia (PDF)", was released as world leaders gathered for global climate talks in Doha this week. "Australia has world-class solar and wind power resources in many parts of the country", said the report, adding that investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power infrastructure could help create jobs, reduce air pollution and save consumers money. "Solar PV and wind could be the cheapest forms of power in Australia for retail users by 2030, if not earlier, as carbon prices rise", the report said.

While China has the most installed renewable energy infrastructure and is the sector's biggest investor, "South Australia's wind power per capita is higher than any major country in the world and wind is now contributing approximately 26% of the state's total electricity production", the report said. Report author and Climate Commissioner , the University of New South Wales' Professor Veena Sahajwalla, said that global investment in renewable energy reached almost $250 billion in 2011.

"A renewable energy future is inevitable we are headed in that direction worldwide", she said. "With these renewable technologies, they are only going to cheaper and cheaper". However, Mark Diesendorf, deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales, said the report failed to discuss the barriers to renewable energy sector growth in Australia, which include fossil fuel subsidies to the tune of over $10 billion a year. "obviously they are trying to put a rosy glow on the situation to avoid criticising federal and state governments", he said.

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