Mar 17, 2006

Australia’s first class solar energy research should be commercialised in Aust

Australia’s first class solar energy research should be commercialised in Australia


17 March 2006

Today I visited the ANU’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, a world leader in photovoltaics and solar thermal energy research.

The huge potential of the Sliver technology developed at ANU could transform the uptake of solar technology.

Australia once led the world in solar water heater technology but we faltered and failed to develop and commercialise our technologies. Now we lag behind manufacturers in both China and Europe in technical sophistication and account for only a tiny proportion of world production and installations.

We could have been the Silicon Valley of solar, but when we needed national leadership to commercialise our groundbreaking research, we didn’t get it.

That national leadership is now required to support Sliver technology.

Labor’s policy is to transform Australia’s solar energy sector into a world beating solar industry.

If we are to transform solar energy to the scale required, we need a full set of market-based policies and transition arrangements.

Labor’s plan for the Australian solar industry is a key part of our commitment to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050 and move Australia towards a clean energy future.

As a practical measure, Labor will help Australia have 1.5 million solar powered homes by 2015, and will work to ensure Australia’s ten thousand schools are solar schools. We will work with the public and private schools systems to earmark some of the federal funding for capital works in schools for the installation of solar technology. This is a great way of improving the learning environment for teachers and students alike.

Following the successful UN Climate Summit in Montreal, the course for future global action is now clear – fixed targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions over an extended timetable, with economic instruments driving the move to clean energy.

Labor’s policies are in tune with the world, while John Howard is complacent about climate change.