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Solar sector announces five-year plan

12th Sep 2011

Clean Energy Council (CEC) chief executive Matthew Warren has declared that Australia should focus on developing solar power infrastructure over the coming five years in order to take advantage of "a huge economic opportunity".

Speaking at the CEC's Large-Scale Solar Policy Roadmap in Melbourne on Friday (September 9), Warren says billions of dollars in investment will be needed in the immediate future.

The event aims to influence policy in the renewable energy sector by providing the relevant authorities with a report detailing case studies from countries around the globe, as well as recommendations from some of the country's leading authorities in the solar sector.

"Australia has a proud history when it comes to scientific breakthroughs. We need to harness this and apply it to the new challenges facing us in the global effort to avert dangerous climate change," says Warren.

He believes that the country could see itself eclipsed by foreign nations who are beginning to commit more investment into solar technology.

"Once again, we are not at risk of leading the pack, but of falling behind. We need to put an end to the brain drain and keep our brightest solar minds delivering local innovations," he asserts.

Warren cites the federal government's $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program as a step in the right direction, but added that more needs to be done.

"The critical thing is to get projects built so that we can develop local skills and expertise. This will enable us to learn and innovate, identifying ways to bring the technology down in cost while increasing its effectiveness," he says.

Globally, $41.7 billion dollars was invested in clean energy technology in the second quarter of 2011, with the US accounting for $12 billion of this.

CEC has released an action plan for the next five years containing recommendations concerning a number of programs, including the creation of stable policy which will assist the development of large-scale projects.

Substantial growth in larger projects has been the key focus of the policy roadmap, as they will provide the long-term, sustainable energy infrastructure that the nation can depend on.

CEC have also called for an improvement in the amount of solar resource data, with the dissemination of quality information identified as a key factor in creating energy resources.

Warren believes that the next five years are critical for the country as a whole and urges policymakers and stakeholders to look beyond opportunities in the mining sector when planning to build national productivity.

Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent  

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