Clean Energy Week official opening
Yesterday (July 24) David Green, chief executive officer of the Clean Energy Council (CEC), officially opened the week's events in Brisbane.
His speech highlighted some of the challenges that Australia, and the world, are experiencing in the energy sector. High electricity prices, growing levels of demand and the need to curb carbon emissions are some of the issues society is facing.
Of course, being Clean Energy Week, the focus is on how renewable energy can help to solve many of these problems.
Mr Green mentioned some of the positive milestones clean energy has experienced over the last year, such as hitting the milestone of one million homes with solar PV.
As well as this, many large scale renewable energy projects have been initiated, including the completion of the Macarthur wind farm in Victoria, which is the Southern Hemisphere's largest wind farm.
He asserted that Australia needs to maintain its commitment to the investment-grade policy central to making the "transition to a customer-focused, sustainable and competitive energy market."
He also argued against high electricity prices, saying that consumers should not accept the significant costs imposed to compensate for high peak energy demand times, which are rare.
Reference was made to the claims that schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target and solar programs are driving up electricity prices. Recent reports from IPART in NSW and the Queensland Competition Authority have revealed that this is not so, and in fact it is the cost of peak energy and 'poles and wires' that have been propelling prices.
Now, said Mr Green, is the time to figure out how society can relate to the energy sources we need.
"Will many of us continue to take less and less power from today's market as more and more households switch to solar, and get better at using energy more efficiently? Will more communities demand they have the right to decide what sort of energy future they want to see in their community?" questioned Mr Green.
He also questioned what the impact of Australia's rebalance of gas prices will have on the community.
"The old model of disengaged consumers, large remote power plant, and the high-cost poles and wires that go with them is changing. Instead we are beginning to see a more decentralised, demand-focused market underpinned by clean and efficient generation," he concluded.
Clean Energy Week continues in Brisbane until July 26, with a variety of other speeches and functions still to come.
Posted by Charlie Moore