In light of 2013’s acknowledgement as Australia’s hottest year on record and the likelihood of more extreme weather we have already witnessed becoming the norm, Danny Caffrey weighs in to remind us of the importance of renewable energy in the mitigation of further and more damaging effects:
In the recent heat waves, our electricity supply did not fail once due to lack of supply. With a growing population and no additional coal fired generation since the last big heat waves a few years ago when supply did drop out, the contribution from people’s rooftop solar cannot be underestimated. Nor can the growing feed in from wind farms.
Rooftop solar works best right at the time of peak demand and is keeping our electricity prices lower because the power lines and transformers of the grid do not have to be upgraded to cater for an average 6 hours of extreme demand a year. They have also prevented the need for new costly and greenhouse gas producing coal fired power stations. So much so, that there will never be another coal-fired power station built anywhere in Australia, as investors have got the message that these are risky investments because the cost of running them is going up and that of renewable electricity is falling all the time.
Shouldn’t our State and Federal Governments be encouraging the roll out of solar panels to keep costs down and to secure supply? Isn’t it about time the Napthine Government reinstates the 25 cents/kWh nett feed-in tariff and to stop trying to prop up the fossil fuel generated electricity industry with a $90 million taxpayer funded grant to make the Latrobe Valley’s coal “clean”? The last time something like this was accomplished was when a bearded gentleman in sandals turned water into wine.
Danny Caffrey is a resident of the Latrobe Valley region and convenor of the Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group.
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