Renewed hope for renewables, but not business migrants
The Age (Melbourne)
April 2, 2007
HALF of Australia's electricity could be supplied through renewable energy by 2040, according to a report that also recommends limiting Australia's immigration in order to deal with our greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, to be released today by Mark Diesendorf, director of the sustainability centre at the University of New South Wales, states that a combination of renewable energy sources could power all of Australia's grid electricity in about 40 years without having to resort to brown coal or nuclear power.
Dr Diesendorf hoped the report, The Base Load Fallacy, would “blow open the myth that renewables were unable to provide Australia's base load electricity needs”, saying a mixture of bio-energy, solar thermal, geothermal and wind power could provide the answer.
“Some opponents of renewable energy are claiming that renewable energy cannot provide base load electricity but it is a myth put out there by the coal and nuclear industries,” he said.
“After 2050 there could be a situation where the vast majority if not all of Australia's electricity comes from renewable sources. Maybe 20 per cent from wind, maybe 20 per cent from bio-energy, maybe 30 or 40 per cent from solar thermal electricity and solar photovoltaic as well as some from geothermal.”
Dr Diesendorf said the Federal Government should also look at implementing a population policy and cap the number of business migrants.
“Australia has the world's highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases and everyone who comes to Australia as an immigrant is going to increase their greenhouse gas emissions on average so population policy is part of the whole scheme of controlling greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“The issue is immigration, particularly immigration of business and professional people. We could have a situation where we increase our immigration of refugees but we would have to put a limit on our professional and business immigrants, which are quite large.”
An increased population would also limit the amount of land needed for wind farms and bio-energy if they were to provide enough energy to be able to phase out coal-fired electricity.
He said the Federal Government should also look at providing more funding for better training and education instead of trying to solve the skills shortage by importing labour. Dr Diesendorf said Australia needed to move past the cost argument if it was to significantly cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
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