Australia has an amazing opportunity to lead the world in renewable energy. With significant mineral wealth, we are one of the richest countries in the world and while we don’t have the market size necessary to develop large scale industry for renewable energy, we do have an abundance of wind, geo-thermal, tidal and free solar energy on our doorstep.
Many countries around the world have successfully developed models that not only play a substantial role in energy generation but also build a long term sustainable industry (something our government has struggled with). Scotland for example, is attracting substantial investment from renewable energy companies around the globe together with interest from localised manufacturing facilities, as its government policy drives towards achieving 100% of its energy supplied from renewable sources by 2020.
According to Reid Smith and Lisa Cohen as quoted in the June edition of Sun and Wind Energy, “Scotland is in a good position to make aggressive renewable energy targets because the country has abundant renewable resources”. With significant natural resources at our disposal, it is exactly for this reason that Australia has an opportunity to become a world player in the renewable energy market.
The German Renewable Energy Act which came into force in 2000 was an incredible catalyst in propelling Germany to become a world leader in renewable energy. Their shift away from fossil fuels and centralised electricity supplies combined with a political push toward a decentralised renewable energy approach has been touted as one of the most influential shifts since the industrial revolution.
Germany has long been viewed as a high quality engineering and industrial leader and its recent policy vision now sees it once again leading the world. Energy efficiency on a broader scale, as well as local power generation is at the heart of government sponsored project research, further cementing Germany’s reputation rank among the world’s best.
As a leading designer and manufacturer of power electronics in Australia for over 40 years, Setec’s CEO, David Bayliss suggests that Australia no longer needs to ‘ride on the sheep’s back’. “We have substantial mineral wealth on our side and can’t expect the mining industry to be our saviour. The time has come for Australia to build long term policies that enable us to forget the “fads” and to create a world leading reputation and lasting renewable energy industry which will prosper into the future”.