South Australia: Leading on renewables will help lead economic recovery
- 25 March 2009
South Australia's Economic Development Board has published a statement that strongly supports a push by the State to build on its position as a leader in renewable energy.
Advising on the future direction of the state economy in light of the financial crisis, the report adds to the growing international consensus on the need to 'green' investment, by developing cleaner energy sources, investing in low-emissions transport and securing water supply.
The Board, which was established by Premier Rann to provide independent economic advice in 2002, believes that by focusing on the state's comparative natural advantages South Australia can make a significant contribution to local and global emissions reductions. In the short term, by becoming an exporter of renewable energy and know-how to Australia and the world, and, in the long term, by becoming completely self-sufficient in renewable energy.
Premier Rann, who is also chair of The Climate Group's international States and Regions network, said he was delighted to see the strong emphasis on renewable energy in the report. The Premier has overseen a significant deployment of renewable energy in his state. South Australia currently has 32 per cent of Australia's domestic grid connected solar panels, 58 per cent of Australia's wind power and more than 70 per cent of Australia's geothermal energy exploration activity.
"South Australians are strongly committed to tackling climate change and take strength from the Economic Development Board's advice that we're on the right track when it comes to renewable energy," Premier Rann said.
"We have a tradition of leading and learning by example. We know that local actions can and do have a global impact. We're keen to learn from the experience of other state, regional and national governments - and pass on the best of what we've learnt.
"We applaud examples such as Tamil Nadu in India which is leading the way with 50 per cent of the nation's wind power, and the Puglia Regional Government in Italy - another leader in wind - has outlined a renewable energy project in the Adriatic area.
"Manitoba is a leader in the development and installation of geothermal heat pumps for homes and Quebec has became the first North American jurisdiction to introduce a fossil fuels levy.
"South Australia is currently on track to reach a target to boost the proportion of renewable energy we generate to 20 per cent by 2014. This would put South Australia in a world-leading position."
Describing the situation as a 'brief window of opportunity' the Economic Development Board is calling for a concerted effort by government in partnership with businesses and universities to drive research and development and stimulate the renewable energy industry. In particular it is recommending the creation of a Renewable and Low Emissions Energy (RaLEE) Board to secure industry investment, overcome technical and regulatory barriers, and help build the associated manufacturing capacity.
The South Australian Government will respond to the report's recommendations in April. To download the report, click here.
Rupert Posner, The Climate Group's Australian Director, said "It is abundantly clear that now is the time to seize opportunities for low-carbon growth. South Australia's proposed approach has the potential to be a model for cooperation across different sectors of society, pointing the way for other States who want to see rapid acceleration in the deployment of clean energy and technology."