Tim Roberts with Margaret Williams
We need regional solutions for our sustainable future.
A sustainable future is one in which we have jobs, our grandchildren will have jobs, where the society is a just and fair one and where our work and play is such that we leave a positive environmental legacy for our grandchildren.
Right now, our legacy looks to be one of a world that is shrouded in a warming blanket of near 400ppm carbon dioxide; rising sea levels and extremes of weather, and an economy that is turning from manufacturing towards service. It is timely to look at the opportunities a move to renewable sources of energy might bring.
At the recent renewable conference in Kurri Kurri, we heard about big organisations such as AGL building two massive solar power plants in Nyngan and Broken Hill, which could power 50,000 homes between them, and communities who were aiming to make energy by alternative means.
Leslie Williams, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy, reported that $700,000 was available for communities to investigate sourcing renewable energy. Uralla has received a grant of $105,000 for a feasibility study on combining renewable energy to enable the town to become green – the first zero net energy town in NSW.
Meanwhile, Germany puts us to shame. In the early ’90s, the German government realised that global warming could have catastrophic consequences if nothing was done and so strong incentives were used to kick-start a renewable energy economy. Germany has become a green leader in the world. Soon 30per cent of their power will be obtained from renewable sources. Power production, from renewables, has tripled in the past 10years.
With such a change in energy generation comes the invention of new products and manufacturing procedures, and Germany is further benefitting through the export earnings of selling these ideas and products overseas.
Companies such as Ceramic Fuel Cells, which originated from Australia’s CSIRO, have relocated to Germany to benefit from the strong support offered todevelopers of green technologies. Renewables really do offer us a regional solution to our sustainable future.