Eight trillion dollars will be invested in renewables globally over the next 25 years according to Bloomberg and those who move first stand to gain the most from this front-ended investment boom in energy.
But still, the tens of billions invested annually in the Western Australian liquified natural gas (LNG) industry pose a stark contrast to multiple recent reports, from Beyond Zero Emissions to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, which reveal the massive scale of the transition to renewable energy infrastructure and investment underway right now.
At the same time, we are alerted to new dangerous climate hazards of methane, stemming from the chronic systemic under-reporting of fugitive emissions combined with its sheer potency as a GHG.
So, the pressing question for the Perth launch of the Renewable Energy Superpower report was “Will Western Australia maximise the competitive advantage it has in renewable energy and become a renewable energy superpower? Or will it dwindle over time as a fossils-based client state?” In particular, could Western Australia take the first steps and both halt its LNG expansion plans and create a state renewable energy innovation fund?
This launch was BZEs first in Western Australia for 5 years and it was a pleasure to join this event with SEN and a 250-strong audience. We were pretty delighted to discover that one of our favourite reports is also being well-received by Hon Josh Wilson MP who in his keynote address revealed to everybody present that he has been reading the renewable energy superpower story of the RESP report to his family. It turns out the report was also quoted in both the dissenting report and speech in the House of Representatives as part of the Opposition’s response in the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (Paris Climate Agreement) in The Australian Parliament just as the UN COP22 was getting underway on November 7th:
“The evidence is mounting to show that Australia has much more to gain than to lose from our position as a nascent renewable energy superpower’
“Australia should implement a proper market mechanism to achieve an appropriately ambitious emission reduction target. And Australia should get back on the path to being a ‘renewable energy superpower’—that is our destiny—and it is the title of the latest report from Beyond Zero Emissions, and I would like to finish by quoting from that report:
“A global transition to renewable energy is an unavoidable condition to ensure a safe climate in the future. It is in the interest of the planet. It is in the interest of Australians today, and of generations to come. The dimming fossil energy past can be let go with confidence because the renewable energy future is bright.”
“It is good and it is right that Australia will ratify the Paris Agreement. It is a shame that our participation through treaty action in this global cause has been set so weakly on this occasion—with no rigour and very little courage. That is not in keeping with our recent history; and it is not in keeping with our national character.”
In addition, independent daily paper The West Australian carried a supportive letter to the editor, and we are grateful as always to Guardian Sustainable Business Australia for publishing our Op-ed on this vital issue of renewable energy investments and exports.
Many thanks to everybody who joined BZE for this report launch event: thank you to Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) for hosting and running the event, the University of Western Australia for supplying the venue,the Perth BZE team and of course fellow panelists and speakers for a stimulating discussion:
- Hon Josh Wilson MP Federal Member for Fremantle (keynote)
- Associate Professor Linda Selvey MBBS(Hon), MAppEpi(ANU), PhD(Qld), FAFPHM (MC)
- Ian Porter Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) CEO
- Hon Robin Chapple MLC Western Australian Greens Spokesperson for Energy and & Member for Pastoral and Mining
- Hon Chris Tallentire MLA Western Australian ALP Shadow Minister for Environment
- Michael Lord Acting CEO of BZE
- Alastair Leith Yes2Renewables (Event Coordinator)
- James Eggleston Curtin University
Thank you SEN!
Renewable Energy Superpower Key Findings: The vast size of the economic renewable energy resource will provide Australian industry and manufacturing with powerful long term economic advantages – provided we take steps now to maximise these advantages.