“I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100% of its electricity from clean energy within 10 years” – Al Gore, 17 July 2008
You can see what he had to say below, in this remixed video of his speech from the We Can Solve It Campaign.
Now, I know that with some good leadership, they could achieve this goal and go a long way to averting peak oil, and making a big impact on climate change. Hey, they sent lots of men to the moon for goodness sake, just because President Kennedy asked them to!
If the current administration can come up with U$700 billion to bail out greedy investment banks who created their own downfall and wreaked the US financial system, the administration should have no trouble whatsoever producing the funds to meet Al’s challenge. It just takes the political will to do so.
So, if the US can do it, why couldn’t Australia. Once again it takes political will and strong leadership to make it a reality. In the past, we built the Snowy Mountain scheme, the Overland Telegraph, fought courageously in two world wars and many other conflicts, so why can we produce all of our energy needs from clean, renewable energy in 10 years time, just as we met these lofty challenges. We have built massive cities where none stood 200 years ago, so 100% renewable energy should be a breeze!
Just have a look at our interior. We have so much sunshine in inland Australia, that we could power the entire energy needs of the country with a combination of solar thermal and solar PV power stations. Just look at places like Mildura and outback South Australia which all have many hours of uninterrupted sunshine per year, and are close to transmission lines of the national power grid.
We also have some of the best geothermal potential in the world, with hot rock discoveries around Innaminka in South Australia. Geothermal electricity can replace our night time baseload that is currently provided by coal, and can be generated 24/7. The potential is unlimited, we just need to do it.
In southern Australia, the potential of wind power on the west coast of Tasmania is another untapped energy resource, and with the Basslink undersea power cable connecting Victoria to Tasmania, the apple isle has the potential to feed the national grid. Even wave and tidal power are an untapped resource waiting in the wings. If we can connect Tasmania to the mainland, why wouldn’t we think of connecting Queensland to PNG or Indonesia and selling the excess renewable energy? Surely someone must have thought of that before me!
Peak Sun and Peak Geothermal are billions of years away, unlike Peak Oil and Peak Coal, which are just around the corner. These two rapidly closing events have the potential to devastate our economy, our country, and human civilisation as we now know it. We must start to harness the renewable energy potential this great brown land offers us every single day of the year.
Instead of waiting for these peaks to pounce upon us like a crouching tiger, lets act, and urge the government to fund these projects via any funds coming out of the up and coming Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposed to begin in 2010. By utilising part of the available funds, we too, can become a green super power. Both the Australian Conservation Foundation and GetUp! have active campaigns to urge the Australian Government to act now. Please add your voice to the groundswell.
Lets not miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a bright future for this country and lead the world in renewable energy technology.