Sunday, June 15, 2008

Coal free by 2030: Greenpeace report

The World Today

16 June , 2008
Reporter: Sarah Clarke

ASHLEY HALL: Greenpeace says green renewable energy can be cheaper, cleaner, and create more jobs than fossil fuels.If embraced now, it could see the phasing out of coal use by 2030.In a report released today, the group says with the right recipe, 40 per cent of Australia's energy could be from a clean source within a decade.Here's environment reporter

Sarah Clarke:SARAH CLARKE: The report is titled "Australia's Energy Revolution", and not surprisingly, it found Australia has a lot of sun and wind. So much in fact, it declares that there's more than enough to power Australia's energy needs long-term. Professor Hugh Saddler who conducted the modelling says his findings are in fact conservative and in just over a decade, 40 per cent of Australia's electricity could be from a renewable source.

HUGH SADDLER: The resource is such that that's quite feasible and the companies that are involved with the various technologies certainly think that is achievable.

SARAH CLARKE: Hugh Saddler is a scientist specialising in energy needs, and using his modelling, he believes Australia could cut its carbon emissions from transport and energy by two-thirds by 2050. The recipe he uses is a large scale roll-out of electric vehicles, setting strict fuel efficiency standards to deliver more efficient cars and cutting aviation demands by improving rail networks. On electricity consumption, he says by enforcing simple efficiency measures, energy use could be reduced by 10 per cent in just over a decade. If this is achieved, Hugh Saddler says renewable power could adequately meet demand and the cost per household would in fact, be cheaper.

HUGH SADDLER: There is so much potential for increased energy efficiency which is cost effective even now, so that although the price per kilowatt hour for each unit of electricity consumed will be higher, the total cost of all the kilowatt hours that are consumed will be less because it's been used more efficiently.

SARAH CLARKE: And by embracing solar and wind, the report has found that coal-fired power stations could be phased out entirely by 2030.It's a bold recommendation, given the Federal Government is yet to legislate its target of 20 per cent of Australia's energy to be renewable by 2020. Even so, Julien Vincent from Greenpeace says this report shows it can be done, and what is in fact needed is the political will to take the next step.

JULIEN VINCENT: It's ridiculous that a country with enough renewable energy resources, it's now half of Asia, still bases its electricity supplies and 30 fossil fuels. And by increasing the amount of renewable energy in the mix, by driving energy efficiency quite significantly, we can start taking the dirtiest fossil fuels such as coal, off the grid.

ASHLEY HALL: Julien Vincent from Greenpeace, ending that report from Sarah Clarke.

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