Pirate Party tackles Australia’s energy crisis

Pirate Party Australia is pleased to announce its signature infrastructure project — a renewable energy rollout that aims to provide Australia with 100% reliance on renewable energy within 10 years[1].

The time when renewable energy was unaffordable, impractical, or technologically unachievable has passed. Renewable energy has evolved remarkably in the last few years. Technology has improved and become vastly cheaper, and credible organisations have produced costed, modeled and technologically sound blueprints for a full transition to renewable energy.

Australia’s leading renewable energy think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), has developed a clean energy plan which features deployment of concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities supplemented with wind and biomass sources. CSP is already in use in Spain and the United States, and Australia is in a uniquely strong position to transition to solar energy due to its size and natural advantages.

The Pirate Party energy policy includes adoption of the BZE scheme, in conjunction with a renewable fuel levy and a curb in new thermal coal exploration.

“Taken together, these steps will drive change in the necessary magnitude to reduce carbon emissions in the timeframe scientists claim must be met to avoid climate change tipping points. While curbing thermal coal exports may result in fewer mining jobs being created in the future, adoption of the BZE plan allows for creation of far more jobs in the long run,” said David W. Campbell, Senate Candidate for NSW.

As part of this broader roll-out, the Pirate Party enthusiastically supports the Repower Port Augusta plan, which will create South Australia’s first CSP facility.

The recent development of large scale solar by AGL demonstrates the affordability and potential of this technology[2]. BZE modeling shows it is well within Australia’s industrial and financial capacity to fully transfer to renewable energy within ten years[3].

“While existing renewable energy targets have supported renewables investment, excessive reliance on such schemes risks constricting the economy through higher energy prices,” Mr Campbell continued. “A carefully planned direct investment in clean energy can work in the other direction, creating over 150,000 jobs and providing essential stimulus to struggling industries including steel, cement, and machinery and equipment manufacturing in the face of difficult global conditions.”

The scheme can also provide social benefit where it is needed most. Creation of jobs and infrastructure can be targeted to our most disadvantaged areas, breaking welfare traps and providing a long overdue ray of hope to our most poverty stricken and remote communities.

The Pirate Party’s renewable energy scheme provides long term savings without the accumulation of long-term debt. The total cost of the scheme (equivalent to around $370 billion over 10 years) will be met through the partial sale of assets on completion, the redirection of existing renewable funds and resources, the incorporation of carbon price revenue, and the replacement of the Renewable Energy Target with a temporary energy levy to directly sponsor the scheme. Assets not sold will be retained under public ownership to ensure consumers have appropriate competition and choice in the energy market.

Completion of the renewable energy grid will avoid the need for the state to contain energy prices through perpetual coal subsidies (which are currently worth $12 billion per year)[4]. The growing costs for repair and upgrade of the deteriorating coal power grid (estimated at over $100 billion in the medium term) will also be completely removed from the nation’s balance sheet.

The plans unveiled by BZE include biomasss co-firing and large scale molten salt batteries, ensuring CSP is capable of providing full baseload power under all conditions. Energy prices will fall over the duration of the scheme to a level well below projected fossil fuel prices. Large scale renewable energy is not a pipe dream any more. Elected Pirate Party candidates will push the political class to give serious thought to the practical, achievable ways we can strengthen our country and meet our obligations to future generations.

“A shift to full renewable power will place the economy on a stronger foundation,” Campbell concluded. “Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels has left it historically vulnerable to persistently rising costs and price shocks. The time has come to free households and businesses from uncertainty and spiralling costs.”

The policy can be viewed in detail at https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Policies/Energy

[1] https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Policies/Energy
[2] http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/1/solar-energy/agl-kicks-age-large-solar
[3] http://media.bze.org.au/ZCA2020_Stationary_Energy_Report_v1.pdf (page xix)
[4] http://www.smh.com.au/environment/billions-spent-on-fossil-fuel-incentives-20110228-1bbsn.html

2 thoughts on “Pirate Party tackles Australia’s energy crisis

  1. First country that really nails 100% renewable energy will be in a fantastic position. It just makes so much sense to avoid the messy part of digging up stuff, importing oil etc.

    Any party that doesn’t aspire to have 100% renewable energy is really kidding themselves if they think they are considering the future properly.

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