As I sit at my desk in front of my computer, the sun is shining and my pool looks very inviting outside my office window, but I am driven to write. Australia gets a lot of bad press internationally about our love for fossil fuels and how we are dragging our feet on climate change action. I would ask our readers to not judge the average Australian on what our purported leaders are doing — especially as we come up to Glasgow and COP26.
Coal-o-phile Dundee does not represent the majority of Australians, especially those who have voted with their wallets and installed solar on the roof. While the federal government does everything it can to keep the coal mines open and the political donations coming in, many others are working hard to save the planet. Ordinary citizens are putting solar on the roof (over 25% so far and increasing at about 3 GW a year). Local councils are buying electric buses. Businesses like Coles and Woolies are going green. And big miners like Twiggy Forrest are teaming up with Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes to build the largest solar array in the world and export power to Singapore.
Comedians are even raising money to spread the message in Times Square and in Glasgow. The people representing Australia do not represent Australians.
The best thing for me, though, is thanks to reneweconomy.com.au I can live track the electricity generation in every state in Australia in real time. See: Live Supply & Demand Widget, sponsored by RenewEconomy. In sunny Queensland now 3.7 GW is from coal; 162 MW from gas; 243 MW from hydro; 25 MW from wind; 1.1 GW from large solar; and 2.6 GW from small solar — that means that in the middle of the day 50% of the electricity in Queensland is generated by renewables. We don’t do so well at nighttime, as we don’t have many wind turbines installed — yet!
Western Australia is creating about 30% of its electricity from renewables (mainly solar); Tasmania is at 100% (mainly hydro); South Australia is at 80% (mainly solar, but at night they can power up with massive wind resources); New South Wales is over 60% (mainly solar); and Victoria is 50% (mainly solar).
Massive numbers of solar farms, wind farms, and batteries are in the process of being installed. Given a bit of help from the federal government, Australia could be self-sufficient with renewables by 2030.
Might be time for a swim now.
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