Author: Ashley Bland It’s the storybook naiveite and/or sheer audacity of the federal government’s Net Zero plan that leaves me almost speechless. It’s not that the plan is empty of good ideas – there are plenty in there. Unfortunately, there are also more than a few bad ideas and bad omissions of good ideas. One of the things I can say is that it is aptly named because I think it adds up to approximately nothing.
Fortunately, it won’t matter and perhaps that’s what irks me the most; that the political party with a history of blocking, obfuscation and unwinding renewable energy progress, will now lay claim to the good work of the people, organisations and States that have just got on with it. We will meet our 2030 target not because of this government, but in spite of it. It would be like my kids laying claim to keeping the house tidy.
I say these things not as some lefty, utopian zealot (though many will brand me that way regardless), but as a professional working in the renewable industry. Currently delivering a solar powerplant that will save a large meat processor 1/3 of their current $1.5 million annual bill. Currently pitching for work for a feedlot that knows it needs to be 100% carbon neutral to continue exporting into Europe. Currently delivering renewable energy plans and powerplants to make several local government’s 100% renewable, with positive cash flows.
The fundamentals of renewable power systems are that the energy inputs cost = $0. The sun may not shine, or wind blow all the time, but when it does, it doesn’t send an invoice. And you don’t have to ship it in. Coal, gas and uranium will never have this advantage and that is why they are already losing the race with wind a solar being the most cost-effective new energy source globally for the past few years.
Australia stopped making oil from dead Whales decades ago. Embraced mobile phones and on-line shopping, even though it meant the closure of thousands of businesses and loss of livelihoods. Anyone hired a video lately? Why the Federal Liberal-National Coalition has been quite so uniquely resistant to the renewable energy transition will fill bookshelves and documentaries for decades.
On the positive side, at least we have a plan which says net zero by 2050, and which can be improved and built upon as the inevitable catches up with us. Many of the ideas are useful, even if they were started by someone else and most economists will tell you a carbon price would be more cost-effective. What remains of most importance though is that we just keep getting on with it.