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OPINION: Solar shines as way of the future

UQ's Prof Paul Meredith believes solar is the way of the future but does our Government agree?
UQ's Prof Paul Meredith believes solar is the way of the future but does our Government agree? Contributed

STANDING out in a paddock at UQ Gatton recently, it wasn't difficult to see why the region should become ground zero for Australia's solar future.

I was there to check out construction progress on Australia's biggest solar research project and the searing sun shone down on me for the hour or so I was there.

It was a reminder that Australia does well in the sunshine stakes with the Lockyer Valley averaging eight or nine hours sun a day - so we should be leading the world on solar energy.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth, with 20 years of neglect leaving Australia well behind when it comes to harnessing the power of the sun.

The Abbott Government is particularly myopic, actively shutting down market mechanisms for carbon and apparently destroying the renewable energy target (RET).

Last week a review of the RET - which aims for Australia to have 20% renewable energy by 2020 - found that we should end the program.

But the review result was obvious, given that it was chaired by climate sceptic Dick Warburton, which is a bit like asking Vladimir Putin to advise on whether Ukraine should enter the EU.

When you add the RET Review to the repeal of the carbon tax, the ending of the Climate Commission, the removal of a science minister and the gutting of CSIRO, it is not difficult to draw a picture of a government with no love of renewable energy.

Yes, it does need to be subsidised but, with the industry coming on quickly and battery life likely to be sorted soon, places like the UQ solar plant show the way that clean energy will become profitable energy.

Topics:  opinion solar


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