Australia can be the first 100 per cent renewables-powered continent, but it needs the political will to do so, a global solar expert says.
“Australia is not living up to its potential for power generation. It should be aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, but Australia is up against the older, entrenched fossil fuel industry,” renewable energy entrepreneur and the chief executive of energy investor Energiya Global Capital, Yosef Abramowitz, said.
Dubbed "Captain Sunshine", Mr Abramowitz is considered a global authority on the application and commercialisation of solar energy technology and has raised millions of dollars to build solar energy projects in Israel and East Africa.
Currently, solar energy accounts for just over 5 per cent of Australia’s total power generation despite it having the world’s highest average solar radiation – the potential for solar energy – of about 58 million p of energy, or about 10,000 times the nation’s annual energy consumption. The size of a solar farm needed to power all of Australia would cover about 6270 square kilometres or approximately 0.1 per cent of the country.
“It’s a myth that the technology is not quite there yet. The time is now to scale towards 100 per cent given Australia’s amazing solar, wind and land resources,” Mr Abramowitz told Fairfax Media.
Earlier this week, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, also warned of flow-on economic effects caused by rising levels of rooftop solar. She said as more people installed rooftop solar, the proportional costs increased for those who still relied solely on grid power for their electricity.
Mr Abramowitz said while the task of shifting to complete renewable generation seemed gargantuan, it was possible.“In Israel, we wanted the whole southern tip of the country to be 100 per cent powered by solar energy during the day, from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, - it seemed unlikely,” Mr Abramowitz said. “Today, that region is 70 per cent powered by solar energy during the day and can be 100 per cent by 2020.”
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