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Australia 'can do more for solar power and renewables'

22nd Aug 2012

Australia is punching well below its weight when it comes to solar power and renewable energy.

It's fighting talk, but Gerry Hueston - a member of the Climate Commission - believes it needs to be said and he isn't shy when it comes to shattering the country's illusions of its lack of ambition on the global stage.

In an article for ABC Environment, he called on Australians to play a bigger part in reducing emissions and taking advantage of the nation's natural resources and technological expertise.

"Are we leading the world in renewable energy? No. Some 118 countries have policies to grow renewable energy, some far stronger than Australia's," Gerry stated.

"Cloudy Germany has positioned itself as a leader on renewable energy, installing more solar photovoltaic units in 2010 than the entire world in 2009," he added.

His comments followed similar remarks by chief commissioner of the Climate Commission Professor Tim Flannery, who earlier this month said that Australia's solar technology far outranks Germany's - yet the latter country still dominates the industry.

But Gerry wasn't finished. According to him, Australia is not only failing to lead the sustainable power drive, it wasn't the first to act either.

The former president of BP Australasia said costs of most environmentally friendly technologies are plummeting, with the price of solar photovoltaic cells dropping 75 per cent in the last four years, including a staggering 45 per cent in the last 12 months.

"This presents enormous opportunities for Australians given our proximity, influence and experience in innovation," he added.

However, the industry expert wasn't all doom and gloom. He admitted that there is currently "a great deal" happening in the country when it comes to development of solar power and other sustainable offerings.

It is important that Australia keeps its finger on the pulse and maintains its commitment to meeting carbon targets, he concluded.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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