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energy sector

energy sector

Talking Clean Energy - 13 June 2012

1y ago
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Broadcast on Radio Print Handicap (RPH) Australia - Segment Nineteen Barry: Hello everyone, and welcome again to Talking Clean Energy. We've been learning a lot about what the carbon price will mean for Australia when it starts on 1 July this year. Emma Jane: My question is: will it work? Will the carbon price help transform our economy? Well, the basis for the price on carbon is that it will create economic incentives for business to reduce their pollution in the cheapest possible way. The kinds of things we can expect to see are: more gas-fired or renewable energy generation; conversions of coal-fired boilers to gas-fired boilers; energy efficient buildings should be more attractive to new tenants, and more efficient motors being installed in industry. Basically, Treasury estimates that growth in Australian-made carbon pollution will slow, while large scale renewable energy will increase 18-fold by 2050. By that time, we can expect total renewable energy generation to be 40 per cent of the market. Emma Jane: It certainly seems that Australians working in the renewable energy sector are enthusiastic about a Clean Energy Future. Let's listen to some of their comments. Video: We need to think through energy beyond just this year or even the next decade. For a long time, coal will remain a significant portion of our generation but we should have a much higher proportion of renewable to reduce the impact of that fossil fuel. Putting a turbine up in the air and letting wind give us power must be a better option. The idea of thinking about it as alternative energy is well and truly passed. Internationally the investment in clean energy is rivalling fossil energy today. Other countries around the world are doing it as they're building huge industries on the back of it and those jobs could just as well be here. We see the amount of money that Germany is throwing towards research and development of solar power and they've got stuff also. There's so much potential there to really become one of the world's leaders in technology. The transformation that we are about to undergo is a similar transformation to the industrial revolution. Emma Jane: Let's talk about the broader economic indicators, Barry. How will these fare under the carbon pricing system? Barry: Treasury has been modelling the economic impact of the carbon price. They say that average incomes will grow strongly under a carbon price, by around 16 per cent by 2020. And in terms of jobs, we can expect that national employment will grow by 1.6 million jobs by 2020. Emma Jane: The public sector is a significant part of the Australian economy. What's government doing to reduce its own emissions? Barry: Well might we ask! The federal government is following a program called 'Energy Efficiency in Government Operations'. It plans to improve its energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of government operations. Brief musical interlude Emma Jane: One thing I've wondered is how a national price on carbon will work in a global context. After all, carbon pollution isn't confined to national borders. Barry: What's proposed is opening Australia's carbon pricing system to the international carbon market. From the start of the flexible carbon price period, in 2015, Australia's system will be open to carbon markets around the world. This will allow reductions in carbon pollution to be pursued globally, at the lowest cost. So businesses that release carbon in one country can be matched with businesses in other countries that can reduce their carbon pollution at lower costs. Emma Jane: I guess that will encourage a global market in carbon reduction and help developing countries adopt clean technology. So, when an Australian business buys a carbon permit from another country, then one tonne of pollution must not be released over there? Barry: That's how it works. But until 2020 Australian businesses will need to meet at least half their annual obliga...