Can Aussie solar soar despite sorry policy options?

a graph showing 94% vs 6%

Most Aussies Seem To Like Solar Power

A couple of renewable energy reports released recently have shown how important solar power is to the country and outlined (again) its major potential as an energy source. Unfortunately the studies also reveal how much our politicians still have a lot of catching up to do to reach the general consensus held by most Australians.

Firstly the results of the 100 Percent Renewable poll in which over 40 groups canvassed the opinions of around 12,000 Australians over renewable energy. The results were an extraordinary 94 percent of those polled believe that the government should do more to assist the construction of big solar plants in the country.

The report’s executive summary makes the important, yet almost unbelievable, point that sun-drenched Australia’s largest solar power station emits around 1.2 megawatts (technically known as bugger all folks!). This as countries like China and the United States are falling over themselves to build the new generation solar power stations which clock in at around 500 megawatts.

The report is available from the 100 percent website here.

The study from 100 Percent Renewable comes on the back of a report from the Australian Energy Market Operator which showed that rooftop solar is set to play a major role in Australia’s energy needs. The report found that solar PV accounted for just 187 MW at the end of 2009, a figure which had increased to 1408MW by the end of 2011.

In contrast to the apparent view shared by Energy Minister Martin “Fossil Fuel” Ferguson, solar (even rooftop solar) is set to play a huge role in Australia’s energy future, according to the study, with predictions of 12,000 to 18,000 MW of capacity could be added to the grid from rooftop solar.

This column has been banging on about the apparent slowness of our politicians to respond to the need for renewable (particularly solar) energy to feature more in the Australian energy equation for quite a while now. With these two reports it seems that ordinary Australians are also way ahead of Canberra and our state capitals.

Big solar? Rooftop solar? It appears the calls from the Australian people are getting louder and more demanding. With an election just around the corner, depending on the (mis) behaviour or otherwise of a certain Member associated with the Health Union, surely tapping into the 94 percent of people who support Big Solar initiatives, or accepting the Australian Energy Market Operator’s findings, would be a path to election? Or have I completely lost the plot?

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