Report says shifting to renewables would save Australians $20 billion a year

Contributed by Adam Carlton

A report recently released by the Community Power Agency (CPA) suggests, that a shift to powering homes and businesses from renewable energy sources would, within two decades, save Australians $20 billion a year in fuel and power costs. A significant part of it would come from the transformation of the road and off road transport systems.

The savings would come from spending less on expensive fossil fuel energy. The new report says, this peak could be achieved within two decades. Homes and businesses could be transformed by 2030 and by 2035, thirty five percent of all transport could be made emissions free.

The transition would reduce carbon pollution from 450 million tonnes in 2015 to an estimated 196 million tonnes in 2030.

Nicky Ison, the report’s co-author and a founding director of the CPA, said that despite political sparring over energy policy, momentum behind renewables can only be slowed by policymakers, not stopped.

“As the climate and energy wars continue to rage, a central policy that would actually enable rather than stifle the growth of renewables and other clean energy options currently looks unlikely,” Ison said.

“Calling for bipartisan support could really be holding us back, giving more power to those who want to oppose the transition to clean energy.

“Meanwhile, state and local governments, households, communities, farmers, and businesses large and small are getting on with the job of repowering Australia with clean, affordable energy. The going can be unnecessarily tough, as the rules of the game are stacked against them, but progress is happening at a remarkable rate.”

The report is critical of the existing electricity system, dominated by a handful of companies. This is standing in the way of the potential pace of change. It is suggested that  the current rigidity be replaced, by a much more flexible system,  making it much easier for people to opt for renewables.

This would mean that customers would no longer be locked into these companies and the dirty energy they provide. They could, without being penalised and without a prohibitive cost, swap over to another provider.

One means to do this would be for there to be an online system that enables people to have ready access to alternatives.

The plan calls for a speeding up of the roll out of battery technology and assistance to communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry to be able to make a “just transition.”

“Federal and state governments should immediately start to develop community-driven economic renewal plans in areas facing closures. They should work with unions, employers and community groups to retrain workers, fully fund early retirement, and create redeployment options.”

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