Renewable energy misinformation "staggering"

27th Jun 2013

A top renewable energy expert has come out all guns blazing against the media and politicians for obscuring the truth on sustainable technologies.

Giles Parkinson, editor of news provider Reneweconomy, blasted various groups for the misinformation thrown around when discussing green issues.

And it wasn't just the Australian market, Parkinson also attacked other countries for their approach to renewable energy.

He remarked: "It is staggering to observe that even in modern sophisticated economies such as the US, Australia and UK – which are supposed to have modern, sophisticated political systems (no really, don't laugh) – that the role of renewables in the world's future energy systems is constantly underplayed."

Negative media and government influence

Parkinson said the mainstream media could be blamed for obliging delays and inaccuracies promoted by the fossil fuel industry, instead focusing in pushing papers "in it's pursuit of division, fear and controversy".

Renewable energy is frequently portrayed to be expensive and superfluous, he explained – an indulgence, even.

"But the media is not solely to blame. There is a shocking lack of vision at the political level too," he stated.

While the Greens were excused, other parties were given a tongue-lashing, including Conservatives, who Parkinson noted often use sustainable energy as a scapegoat for other issues.

This often included unnecessary and inefficient grid upgrades in electricity markets, he said.

Renewables speak for themselves

But, according to Giles, this campaign against renewables is largely redundant – as the success of the technologies speak for themselves, including solar power.

"Already, solar PV – and the arrival of socket parity in more than 100 countries – is providing an economic rationale for investment in renewables, regardless of climate policies," he said.

Socket parity, also known as grid parity, is when alternative energy sources become so cost-effective that generating power through these systems reaches the same price or even cheaper than buying it from the grid.

Another technology reaching this level of production efficiency is utility-scale wind – and Parkinson suggested that large scale solar is coming up quickly behind.

He cited a recent International Energy Agency report that outlined how renewable energy will dominate global capacity investment, with $2 trillion likely to be pumped into the industry by 2020.

The Australian share of this market is – at a conservative estimate – $20 billion, Parkinson added, largely due to energy efficiency initiatives such as the Renewable Energy Target.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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