PA’s Steve Thornton, a renewable energy expert, is quoted in a story on Australia's renewable energy potential and its renewable targets.
Steve notes that despite some of the best renewable-energy resources on the planet, Australia has been slower than other countries at tapping into its potential. It is currently deriving less than 9 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources and faces challenges in fulfilling its renewable-energy target of 20 per cent by 2020. "Australia has a significant task of turning this around to meet its renewable energy targets," he says.
Steve explains: "Australia has sufficient renewable resources for the targets – the only real question is the cost of meeting those targets and the political acceptability of these price increases. Australia already has 6 per cent of its energy coming from hydro resources, so it only needs to meet 14 per cent with solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.”
On the issue of fossil fuel, Steve comments that the fossil fuel industries perpetuate the belief that climate change is not real and renewable energy lacks viability.He says: "The minerals and mining industry in Australia is very strongly in favour of fossil fuel generation, and it makes up such a significant part of the country's economy."
Steve explains that, in general, Australians see renewable energy sources as a good thing for Australia, but they do not want increases in power prices. Also, many people work within the minerals and mining industry. "The Australian economy is so dominated by fossil fuel resources that anything that could possibly impact those resources tends to come under considerable political focus and discussion," he says.
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