It has been a rocky few years for the Australian renewable energy industry. In 2014 alone, investment in renewables saw a massive 88% drop. With high levels of uncertainty undermining efforts to pursue a clean energy future it has been a hard business to be in.
And with comments like “Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world”, coming from our former PM Tony Abbot – it is little wonder investment in solar took a swan dive.
But now with the recent change in leadership, the tables could be turning. Not only does our new PM, Malcolm Turnbull, have solar panels on his own private residence, but comments from Mr. Turnbull also appear to bode well for the solar industry. On taking office Prime Minister Turnbull stated:
“The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.”
This indicates a marked philosophical shift in our country’s leadership attitude towards where the future of our economy lies.
Although no one is expecting an immediate about-face in climate change policy the solar industry is expecting a more supportive approach toward renewable investment, especially in the lead up to the Paris climate talks at the end of the year.
With bipartisan support now in place for a Renewable Energy Target of 26-28% by 2030, renewable energy is set to double across the country over the next 5 years. This should provide much needed impetus to the solar industry. Now all that is needed is policy and business certainty.
State governments are already leading the charge with initiatives popping up all over the country. Even the ACT has set a goal of 100% renewable energy in the capital by 2025. Let’s hope that the federal government follows suit and embraces the clean energy future that Australians are asking for.
Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world and positive policy change will lead to large investment and subsequent job generation providing a much needed boost to our economy in the wake of the end of the mining boom.
Renewables are great for our climate and a boom for our economy. It would seem that embracing positive renewable policy is a no-brainer for a progressive leader who wants to embrace the advances and advantages from disruptive technologies like solar.
Things are looking up.