The Northern Territory can create more than $2 billion in new annual revenue and over 8,000 new jobs by pursuing a target of 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030, new research by Beyond Zero Emissions has found.
The ‘The 10 Gigawatt Vision: How renewable energy can power jobs and investment in the Northern Territory’ report shows that backing renewables can turbocharge the NT economy, cut transportation costs by 80 per cent and reduce electricity bills by 30 per cent.
The report also finds that the mining sector would be one of the big winners from an excess of cheap, clean power. For the first time energy-intensive minerals processing would become viable, opening up employment prospects distributed around the NT.
“Tapping into the NT’s nearly unlimited potential to generate renewable energy is an ideal solution to the territory’s quest to build a strong, resilient economy for its people and give them a good quality of life, ” said Vanessa Petrie, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions.
“Cheap, clean power would make energy-intensive activities like minerals processing and manufacturing feasible, and attract businesses to the territory.
“Switching to solar can provide immediate relief to Territorians in cities as well as remote communities, who pay some of the highest electricity prices in Australia. Access to affordable energy can also catalyse economic development in remote and regional areas.
“An ambitious renewable energy goal, combined with the Territory’s strategic location, can also unlock new opportunities such as meeting the world’s growing hunger for renewable hydrogen,exporting renewable electricity to growing Asian economies and adding significant value to exports through mineral processing,” said Petrie.
Shar Molloy, Director, Environment Centre NT, added: “However you look at it, renewable energy is a strong and stable foundation for the Territory to build its economy on, through our incredible solar resource.”
“The world is waking up to the dangers of climate change and fossil fuels have a bleak outlook as investors move away from them. I fear if we don’t move quickly then the NT will miss out on the opportunity to become a renewable energy exporter.
“The NT is also feeling the impacts of climate change, which is driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas. Keeping fossil fuels in the ground and pursuing low-carbon growth instead will mean that economic growth in the NT won’t come at the cost of people’s welfare.
“Should NT leaders back a resilient economy that has good future growth prospects and is good for people and the planet, or a polluting and financially risky economy that will make life more difficult, expensive, and unsafe? The answer is as clear as day,” said Molloy.
Jeremy Kwong-Law, Investment Manager at Grok Ventures, Mike Cannon-Brookes’ investment company, in the NT to attend the 10 Gigawatt Vision launch, said: “Solar is the cheapest source of energy in most places in the world.
“As one of the sunniest places in the world, NT has a competitive advantage as a global leader in exporting and generating renewable energy. This is a huge opportunity to create a new and growing industry, deliver a lot of quality jobs, and foster long term sustainable social and economic development to the community,” said Kwong-Law.