Why isn’t Australia leading the world in wind and solar energy? Travelling in Europe last month, there was evidence that other countries are investing heavily. Denmark had extensive wind farms off-shore, northern Spain had widespread windmills and solar farms, and most modern houses in German towns had solar panels. Some of the Spanish windmills overlooked a world heritage archaeological site, contrasting the ruins of Roman technology with modern technology.
Australia has been making positive progress with wind power production, with reports this week that windy wintry conditions resulted in wind power supplying more power than the large brown coal Hazelwood power station in Victoria (this article). South Australia produced almost half of its electricity from wind power alone.
However, this good progress could stall if the Coalition wins, as they have promised to abolish the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Labor would keep the Corporation but not increase its funding. The Greens are promising to triple funding to the CEFC, and to increase the Renewable Energy Target to 90% by 2030, but they would only be able to implement those policies if they hold the balance of power in the Senate.
Where are the visionary plans from the Coalition or the Labor Party for a future based on renewable energy? We need political leaders who see renewable energy as a booming industry, with opportunities for more efficient industries in Australia, new jobs, export opportunities and a chance to demonstrate world leadership in sustainable technologies. We need meaningful reduction targets and far-sighted policies to support investment in clean energy. Put clean energy back on the agenda!