Letter to Wyong Regional Chronicle re Renewable Energy

Dear Sir/Madam

Please find attached, and, below, our opinion piece written in response to Peter Buckland’s Forum letter, p14, Issue 163, Wyong Regional Chronicle.


We, the Central Coast Greens, are writing in response to Peter Buckland’s, ‘A high level of renewable energy production is not affordable’ Forum May 1st 2019 p14 Wyong Regional Chronicle Issue 163.

Acknowledging the report, ‘Compounding Costs: How Climate Change is damaging the Australian Economy’, produced by the Climate Council of Australia Ltd 2019 authors Will Steffan, Karl Mallon, Tom Kompas, Annika Dean and Martin Rice, we will set out the case for absolute and necessary change from ‘business as usual’.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has told the world:

Every ACTION matters

Every BIT OF WARMING matters

Every YEAR matters

Every CHOICE matters

UN scientists have stated that we have less than eleven years to get global pollution under control.

First, the cost of inaction:-

Following are some alarming and disturbing statistics about the effect on Australia’s economy and way of life caused directly by climate change.

  • Extreme weather events; droughts, floods, heatwaves, cyclones will lead to reduced agricultural yield and productivity projected to exceed $19 billion by 2030; for example the 2009 Melbourne heatwave saw a 30-70% reduction of apple and pear crops due to sunburn (Natural Capitol Economics 2018) and the 2011-15 cyclones destroyed 70-90% of the Queensland bananas while recent floods have killed

664 000 cattle worth $800 million (ABC 2019)

  • 2010-2011 Queensland floods reduced exports by 7.8% and overall the Gross State Product by 2.8% (Queensland Treasury 2011)
  • Previous severe droughts reduce, in the year they occur, Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1%; climate change is set to increase the frequency to yearly (Carroll et al 2007)
  • Estimated $17 billion from 2015-2050 to rebuild infrastructure following natural disasters (Deloitte 2017b)
  • Annual average cost of extreme weather is $85 billion by 2030 to rise to $91 billion by 2050
  • Federal drought assistance since 2000 has cost Australians $6 billion
  • 1 in 19 properties will be unable to afford insurance premiums by 2030
  • 23% Local Government Areas are at risk in New South Wales from flooding and sea level rise
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, all cite risks posed by climate change as a central concern for the economy and financial stability

Now we have a plan and pathway to realise a different future as spelled out in the Renew 2030: Our Plan for a Renewable Economy (Australian Greens 2019)

Stopping the damage means embracing progress and technological solutions.

The Greens would set up Renew Australia, a public authority, tasked with mapping new transition lines to open up Renewable Energy Zones to ensure coal dependent communities can continue to prosper. These zones would attract new industries and create new jobs while minimising the health impacts of burning coal and fossil fuels.  We would manage an orderly closure of coal fired power stations as more renewable and storage technologies fill the gaps.

We would create rehabilitation jobs to clean up mine sites with the company paying their fair share. This will create thousands of sustainable jobs in engineering, heavy machinery operation, environmental landscaping to name a few and take many years to complete.

We would set up a new $1.7 billion Clean Energy Export Development Fund managed by ARENA. Its task would be to build a renewable export industry and create ‘solar fuels’ export hubs. We would phase out coal and build a clean energy export industry to replace it and set an ambitious 100% renewable energy target by 2030.

Currently Japan and Korea are our biggest coal importers; they wish to stop burning coal and substitute it with hydrogen. Wind and solar can be turned in to emissions free hydrogen – ‘bottled solar and wind’, through electrolysis creating hydrogen fuel exports to Asia.

We have a competitive advantage and would build an undersea connection between Western Australia and the Australian South East Asian Nations Power Grid to provide zero emission renewable energy to Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Liquid hydrogen, a means of energy storage and replacement fuel for the transport sector by 2050, is predicted to make $2.5 trillion and create 6 million jobs worldwide. (Hydrogen Council)

Storage for renewable energy will be met by small and large scale batteries, pumped hydro and new technologies. We will boost our ability to store clean energy from 26.65 Gigawatts (GW) to 30 GW by 2040. Overall storage target set to help meet the 419GWh dispatchable power required by 2030.

We would attract energy intensive 21st century industries to Australia like data centres, battery gigafactories, carbon fibre construction and other advanced manufacturing.

To kick start electric car ownership we would place a 17% tax on luxury fossil fuel cars while scrapping registration, import tariffs, GST and stamp duty on electric vehicles. This would be supported by a $2.2 billion Household Solar storage solution.

53% renewable will create up to 70 000 jobs in construction, installation and operations.

Energy efficiency  improvements in homes and businesses, research, agriculture land restoration, retail and rehabilitation of old mining sites would create almost 180 000 full time jobs, 100 000 more than are currently employed in coal, oil, gas and mining combined.


The following financial implications were prepared by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office are costed and current as at 2018-19 Mid-Year Economic Forecast and Outlook.

Cost over Decade ($m) 2018-19 to 2028-19

  • Establish and run the Renew Australia $1,009
  • Planned Transition out of coal exports $652
  • Coal communities Clean Energy Transition fund $1000
  • Restore ARENA’s funding and develop hydrogen export industry $5,245 Grid Transformation Fund** and funding for AEMO $40
  • Grid-Scale Storage Fund $2,203
  • Solar for All, Solar Gardens and Community Renewables program $1,325
  • Establish Power Australia – publicly owned energy retailer $85
  • Establish a National Energy Efficiency Scheme and Clean Energy Solution Centres for Small Business $285
  • Switching off gas campaign and re-establish Clean Technology Innovation Program $227
  • Household Solar Storage Scheme $2,217
  • Small Business Clean Energy Fund $184
  • Remove taxes and registration fees for electric vehicles by increasing the luxury car tax on internal combustion vehicles $800
  • Invest in public fast-charging infrastructure $151
  • Establish and Operate the Environment Protection Agency $1,201
  • Public Debt Interest Impacts $1,772

Total Expenses (including public debt interest impacts) $18,396

Budget improvements on an underlying cash balance basis Savings over Decade ($m) 2018-19 to 2028-19

  • End the Liberal Government’s “Emissions Reduction Fund” $148
  • Expand the investments of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation $1,629
  • Reintroduce Carbon Price and boost household compensation $65,896
  • Public Debt Interest Impacts -$861

Total Revenue $66,812

Net improvement to the budget from the Renew Australia Package to be invested in other public infrastructure and quality public services $48,417 million.

So, far from the assertion that the goal of 100% renewables would cost our economy, we know the change would improve our economy while enhancing our environment, now that’s a ‘win, win’ in anyone’s language.

Sue Wynn

Central Coast Greens