As Prime Minister John Howard and his government are dragged inexorably to accept global warming, it would be timely for the Federal and State Governments to look at policies designed to increase our use of renewable energy sources and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, the primary cause of global warming.
Data from 1999-2000 from the Environment Protection Agency of the NSW Government indicates that the biggest users of electricity are, in order: Industrial (45%), Household(32%) and Commercial (22%) users. The biggest direct users of coal energy are industrial (99.5%).
What policies can be employed across Australia??
- The ALP has promised federal funds to buy solar technology for schools if Labor wins the nest Federal election (due in 2007).
- What about (State) planning policies that specify minimum number of dwellings with solar power, solar hot water systems, or both in new residential developments. Some allowances would be needed for unit developments, or developments in areas wil lesser amounts of sun. Most new homes built have reverse-cycle air conditioning, a hugge drain on power supplies. A 1kW solar panel could reduce the amount of energy drawn from the grid. 1000 homes across the state would represent a saving of 1 million Watts (1 MegaWatt) of electricity! Costs? Solar panels are expensive, but with increased demand and production the cost should fall. Furthermore, the Federal Government (Still) has a rebate scheme in place. It should retain it, not just for energy reasons, but it will help Australian production and manufacture of solar panels. There are ECONOMIC benefits for Australia.
- Why restrict solar panels to residential developments? Surely they can extent to commercial and industrial developments, too.
- Governments should set renewable energy targets for electricity distribution companies. At present the uptake is minimal, to say the least. I believe it's about 7-8% for NSW. A target of at least 20% should be set, rising incrementally over some years.
That's a start. What do you think?? Contact the Prime Minister, your State/Territory leader and local MPs and TELL them they should be acting now! (and remind them there is a Federal Election in the near future)