Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower

Climate Change: Evidence, Dangers, Feedbacks, Solutions, & Australia’s progress.


Australia’s renewable energy potential

Map: Global distribution of combined wind and solar generation potential

Australia glows orange on this map: We have outstanding winds and sun!
We can harvest this energy and …
become a renewable energy superpower.


A 2-minute pitch for the superpower vision

Here’s a 2-minute script:

Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.

Our states and companies have made some amazing progress towards this superpower vision, showing that the vision is realistic. And this progress has brought benefits.

Look at what’s happening in South Australia:

  • Renewables now generate 60% of their electricity.
  • Renewables have:
    • reduced the state’s wholesale electricity prices,
    • increased electricity reliability, and
    • cut emissions.
  • Renewables kept the Whyalla steelworks from closing in 2017:
    • saving 1,300 jobs,
    • stopping Whyalla from becoming a ghost town, and
    • opening the way for zero-emissions steel production, a new industry with a long-term future.
  • Renewables have won over the state Liberals who are planning:
    • a massive expansion of renewables to five times their current electricity usage, and
    • to export energy via a new hydrogen and ammonia export industry.

The Federal Coalition continues to attack renewables, but all three of the Liberal state governments: South Australia, NSW and Tasmania, have ambitious plans for renewables, leaving the Coalition increasingly isolated.

Sun Cable has an amazing plan to supply 20% of Singapore’s electricity from the Northern Territory via a submarine cable.

Also, there are over 30 plans for green hydrogen, including vast plans by Fortescue and the Asian Renewable Energy Hub.

This is the start of a green-energy gold rush, and, arguably, Australia is becoming a renewable energy superpower, despite the Federal Coalition. Our progress shows that the superpower vision is realistic, and the benefits show it would be good for jobs, security, and prosperity.

We need to urgently push ahead with this transition before other nations grasp these opportunities.


(See a slightly longer, 2.5-minute version of this pitch, showing links to articles supporting the above assertions.)


A two-minute challenge

What’s your 2-minute pitch for your vision of a sustainable Australia, a pitch you could use in a discussion or a radio interview? If you’d like to send me your pitch, please do, particularly if it’s short.

There are many other examples of our progress that you could use in such a pitch.


Do read about more of our progress.

An overview of Australia’s progress towards renewable energy superpower


Vision, progress, and benefit

The above 2-minute pitch promotes:

  • an attractive vision for a sustainable Australia,
  • our progress towards the vision, and
  • the resulting benefits.

This solution focus encourages hope and enthusiasm. It counters the fears, denial and despair generated by the necessary warnings about climate dangers.

On TV shows like Q&A and in interviews, I hope to see more people urging climate action with this solution focus.

It can be nearly brief, as my 2-minute pitch shows.


The feedback cycle of vision, progress, & benefits

By reinforcing our progress, we can generate more progress.

More popularity for the superpower vision———->*
^
l
l
v
More benefits <———-More progress towards the vision

While this self-reinforcing feedback cycle is dominant, more progress leads to more benefit, which leads to greater popularity of the superpower vision, which leads to more progress and so on. If we can kick start this self-reinforcing feedback cycle, then a green energy gold rush will be in full swing, e.g., South Australia has:

  • a vision of increasing renewable generation to 500% of local demand.
  • progress, like reaching 60% renewables, and
  • benefits, like retaining their steel industry, which is moving towards zero-emissions steel production.

For more see, the advantages of promoting the superpower vision and our progress

While this “amplifying feedback cycle” can increase climate action, many amplifying feedback cycles escalate global heating.


Vicious heating feedback cycles

Many amplifying feedback cycles result in global heating causing further global heating. Unfortunately, our high levels of greenhouse gases are force-feeding these vicious climate feedback cycles.

More global heating———->More ocean surface warming
^
l

l
v
More carbon dioxide in the atmosphereLess nutrient upwelling
^
l
l
v
Less photosynthesis<———-Reduced phytoplankton population

In the above cycle, heating reduces the phytoplankton population, which increases heating. These sorts of vicious heating feedback cycles could end life as we know it on our planet, so we need urgent climate action.

For more see, The critical danger: amplifying feedback cycles.


A talk on Australia’s progress

The progress presented here has excited people who’ve been discouraged or tuned out of the forever climate wars.

You can request a presentation on Australia’s progress towards the superpower vision.


Slogans presenting vision and progress

Photo: A banner saying "The big tesla battery turns me on"

A brainstorm of slogans for promoting climate action.


Evidence

Graph: Carbon dioxide levels over the past 400,000 years. Since 1950 levels have rocketed.

Evidence of human-caused climate change.


Convergence

Image of convergence: A red arrow and five blue arrows meet point to point

Convergence: The Basis for Scientific Confidence.


Site Purpose:

  • urge action on climate change, and
  • present “amplifying feedback” as a tool for understanding climate change and as a general organising principle.

Amplifying feedback cycles are driving change all around us; this led to this website’s name, “Feedback Reigns”.


Site Author: Andrew Gunner

  • I worked in the petrol and petrochemical industries as an operations researcher for 20 years after gaining a science degree,
  • worked as a counsellor for 17 years, gaining a Master of Social Work by research into my counselling practice, and
  • have urged climate action on this website since 2009.
  • For more, see my background and amplifying feedback.

Visitor Site Map: a compact overview of the website.


Image Source: The global map of wind and solar potential is from the “Beyond Zero Emissions” 2015 publication “Zero Carbon Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower”.


Updated 13 April 2021

3 Replies to “Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower”

  1. Thank you for this useful compilation of information – VERY useful to have on hand if one is having a debate with a denier of climate change
    Regards
    Pat Phair

    Reply

  2. This is brilliant Andrew, love the positive slogans. I do think they are the way to go. Undermines a lot of the antagonistic stance. Perhaps instead of ‘stop Adani’ type comments, there could be calls for a transition program to help fossil fuel employees. That might bring more folk on board.

    Reply

  3. This is a simply brilliant coverage of the issue Andrew, and so straightforward & accessible. It provides a wonderful reference for discussions and helps us remain positive, despite the difficulties we are all facing as the climate warms. Thanks you so much for putting this together and keeping it updated.

    Reply

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