Support for clean energy growing: survey
Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 9:31 am
A recent survey by Auspoll shows 85 per cent of rural respondents and 82 per cent of urban respondents want governments to make clean energy cheaper quicker.
The executive director of the Australian Coal Association, Ralph Hillman, said governments were making serious investments in renewable and clean energy production.
“People are working on all these technologies because everyone can see climate change science is real and we are facing a carbon constrained future, “ he said.
Mr Hillman said coal industries were working towards methods to address carbon emissions and they have Coal21 Fund, which is dedicated to carbon capture and storage technologies.
“Coal is going to have to address its greenhouse gas emission via carbon capture and storage, which is central to a global solution to climate change,” he said.
Australian Conservation Foundation climate change campaigner Phil Freeman said the survey results released in September would hopefully spark renewed action to promote clean energy.
“What we need next is a boost for the emerging clean energy technologies like large-scale solar, geothermal hot rocks and tidal and wave power,” he said.
Urban and Regional Planning and Sustainability lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Mellini Sloan, said it was significant the survey shows an overwhelming majority of people in both areas care.
“It’s a great challenge for young engineers and it certainly seems like it’s a direction that we are going in,” she said.
“It’s quite exciting”.
‘Expensive to perfect’
The Zero Carbon Australian 2020 Stationary Energy Plan said it was “technically feasible, practical and economically attractive” to have 100 per cent renewable energy in Australia in 10 years.
But Mr Hillman said both renewable energies and cleaner traditional methods would be essential to meeting future energy demands.
Mr Hillman said renewable technologies were expensive and took time to perfect and these costs would transfer to consumers.
However, Mr Freeman said electricity prices would continue to increase regardless of whether or not the energy was being produced by renewable or clean energy sources.
“[Electricity prices have] already doubled in the last 10 years and that’s got nothing to do with clean energy policies or putting a price on pollution,” he said.
The estimated increase outlined in the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan would be an “affordable” $8 per household each week.
But Mrs Sloan said whether homeowners would find this a reasonable amount they are willing to pay was still hard to tell.
“Eight dollars doesn’t sound like a lot but if you are strapped financially [it may be hard],” she said.
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson was not available for comment on the issue.
Energy efficient measures
However, Mr Freeman said there were many measures homeowners could take to reduce their energy usage and there energy bills.
“It’s a smart hip-pocket move to think beyond the next electricity bill, invest some time and money in smart technologies like solar hot-water and better insulation, that will reduce energy use,” he said.
The Queensland GreenHome Guide said the top five things to do to reduce energy were:
- switch to green power;
- install solar hot water system;
- heat and cool homes efficiently;
- have an energy efficient fridge;
- and do not leave appliances on stand-by.
Meanwhile, master plan communities, which offer shared lifestyle centres and self-contained communities, are taking great steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly.
Future master plan community, Rochedale Estates, south of Brisbane’s CBD, began construction this month and will have recycled water for gardening and flushing toilets and 5,000-litre water tanks standard in each home.
The homes are also designed with the housing orientation in relation to sun and wind patterns in mind, which Mrs Sloan said was sensible and could help reduce energy usage.
Brisbane Lord Major Campbell Newman said Rochedale Estates had made outstanding developments in water sensitive design and efficient use of power and water.
“This is a significant master plan community that’s finally on its way,” he said.
Peter Brown CEO of FKP, the property and investment group behind Rochedale Estates, said a great amount of environmental work was done because purchasers appreciated it.
“Within limits buyers are willing to pay a premium for [more sustainable housing],” he said.
- Queensland GreenHome Guide – Australian Conservation Foundation.
- Media Release Survey – Australian Conservation Foundation.
- Zero Carbon Australian 2020 Stationary Energy Plan.
- Ezy Green – Brisbane City Council and The Queensland Government