Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.
We are making some amazing progress towards this superpower vision – and this progress is the foundation of my two-and-a-half-minute pitch for this superpower vision.
To toggle between seeing (1) the “blue pitch” with the “white evidence” and (2) “only the pitch”, use the “Pitch” button below here.
The 3-minute Pitch
Powered by our cheap renewable energy, Australia can radically expand its industrial base, for example, steel production, and become a renewable energy exporting superpower.
We can grasp a prosperous future with sustainable industries and jobs.
You are now viewing both the pitch and the evidence.
This superpower vision is realistic; look at the amazing progress our states and companies have made towards this vision. And this progress has brought benefits.
For example, in South Australia:
Renewables now generate 60% of its electricity.
- (South Australia reaches a world-leading 60% share of wind and solar over the year up to 7 Feb 2021: Renew Economy: 8 Feb 2021)
- This is progress towards the superpower vision.
Renewables have reduced expensive gas generation,
- South Australia has had high electricity costs because gas has become expensive.
- (South Australia had the lowest cost of supply in the east coast grid in October 2019: Renew Economy: 1 Nov 2019)
& reduced the state’s wholesale electricity prices,
- (Renewables dominated South Australia delivering cheaper power than in Victoria and NSW: Renew Economy: 13 July 2020)
- This is a benefit of the move to renewables.
& increased the reliability of electricity,
- With grid-scale batteries, the whole east coast grid now copes better with crises. This is a benefit of the move to renewables.
- (Wind and batteries saved the day when a storm cut south Australia adrift: Renew Economy: 14 Feb 2020)
- (Batteries and renewables will outmatch coal and gas for reliable and cheap power: Renew Economy: 29 March 2021)
& cut emissions.
- This is a benefit of the move to renewables.
- After 51 seconds, you’ve already got a pitch that can stand alone.
Renewables saved the Whyalla steelworks from closing in 2017, saving 1,200 jobs and stopping Whyalla from becoming a ghost town,
- We have this benefit because an investor saw the opportunity of powering the steelworks with renewable energy and making green steel.
- (Whyalla steelworks: How a town saved itself: ABC News: 24 Sep 2018)
- This has also opened the way for upgrading Whyalla steelworks.
- (Plans for new plant at Whyalla reducing coal use: Argus Media: 10 June 2020)
& saved a proven and efficient way of exporting renewable energy, as when we export steel, we also export the renewable energy used in producing the steel
- An efficient way for Australia to export renewable energy is to refine minerals using renewable energy and export those refined minerals.
- We are already exporting renewable energy like this, e.g., when we export (1) steel from Whyalla, where 60% of the electricity is renewable, and (2) aluminium from Tasmania, where 100% of electricity is now renewable.
- See my page industrialise with renewables.
& opened the way for Whyalla to become one of the largest steelworks in the world with zero-emissions steel production: sustainable world-scale industry with a long-term future.
- (Gupta plans for 3000MW of new renewable energy to power Whyalla green steel: Renew Economy: 12 Aug 2020)
- Gupta has ambitious plans, including making Whyalla one of the largest steelworks in the world.
- (Gupta doubles down on green industrial plans for Whyalla powered by cheap renewables: Renew Economy: 10 Dec 2018)
- After 1-min 20-sec, you’ve also included benefits to jobs, community, industry, and energy export.
Renewables have broad support, including from the state Liberals.
- The state Premier Marshall sees the benefits of this transition, saying:
- the 2019/20 fires have changed the psyche of the people of Australia, and
- recent technology creates enormous opportunities for South Australia to:
- improve grid stability,
- lower prices, and
- cut emissions.
- (South Australia to accelerate the transition and emissions cuts after bush fires: Renew Economy: 31 Jan 2020)
The state Liberals are planning a massive expansion of renewable generation to five times their current electricity usage.
- The state is on track to meet its renewable energy target of 100% by 2030 and is targetting 500% by 2050. This is progress towards the superpower vision.
- (South Australia targets 500% renewables in a new climate plan: Renew Economy: 16 Dec 2020)
They’re also planning for green hydrogen production and export, a new industry for the state.
- These ambitious government plans are “progress towards the superpower vision”.
- (South Australia names hydrogen hubs to foster epic growth in wind and solar: Renew Economy: 29 Oct 2020)
- (South Australia backs a $250 million green hydrogen project to kick start exports of hydrogen and ammonia: Renew Economy: 5 Nov 2020)
Like South Australia, the other Liberal state governments, NSW and Tasmania, also have ambitious plans for renewables.
These plans leave the Federal Coalition’s continuing attacks on renewable energy looking increasingly bizarre.
- (Australian states and territories are powering into renewable energy: This site)
- (2020 was a landmark year for renewables in Australia: The Guardian: Holmes a Court: 2 Jan 2021)
We also see the initial implementation of gargantuan commercial plans, for example:
The Australian company, Sun Cable, plans to supply 20% of Singapore’s electricity from the Northern Territory via a submarine cable.
- (The world’s biggest solar and battery project lands a planning deal with the Northern Territory government: Renew Economy: 29 Jan 2021)
- (The Sun Cable website)
- ((Sun Cable submits plans for a gigawatt-scale solar manufacturing plant in Darwin: Renew Economy: 31 March 2021)
There are over 30 plans for green hydrogen, including supersized plans by Fortescue and the Asian Renewable Energy Hub.
Fortescue plans global renewable generation on a scale to match major oil companies’ energy production: 235 GW, five times the current capacity of our east coast grid.
(Fortescue leads a stampede into green energy with stunning plans for 235 GW of wind and solar generation: Renew Economy: 12 Nov 2020)
For comparison, Australia’s most powerful coal generator is Eraring in NSW at 2.9 GW, and total Australian coal generator power is 25 GW. (Note: 1 GW of coal power usually generates more energy than 1 GW of intermittent renewables, e.g., a wind turbine only generates when the wind blows.)
Five Australian projects are in the world’s 13 largest green hydrogen projects (Recharge News: 21 Dec 2020).
The largest hydrogen project globally is the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in the Pilbara, WA, with wind power of 16 GW and solar power of 10 GW. This 26 GW of renewables will power the hydrogen-producing electrolyser of 14GW.
The four other large Australian hydrogen projects have electrolyser powers from 1.5 to 5 GW, and there are many other smaller projects.
Fortescue also plans to set up a green hydrogen industry and a green steel industry in Western Australia.
- These ambitious commercial plans are progress towards the superpower vision.
- (Forrest unveils Fortescue’s green steel plans: Australian Mining: 22 Jan 2021)
This is the start of a green-energy gold rush, and, arguably, Australia is becoming a renewable energy superpower, despite the Federal government.
Our progress indicates 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.
Well, that’s it, the 3-minute pitch
What’s your pitch
What’s your vision for a sustainable Australia and a pitch that you could use in a lunchtime discussion or radio interview?
There’s also a 2-minute pitch on the home page, without the links to articles.
These pitches for the vision emphasise our progress and the resulting benefits. This is because vision, progress and benefits can form a self-amplifying cycle, with progress leading to more progress. See the advantages of promoting climate action by focussing on vision and progress.
And, there’s plenty more progress that you could weave into a pitch.
More progress towards the superpower vision
See more of our progress on the pages under “progress” in the menu.
Our States and Territories already rely substantially on renewable energy and have ambitious plans to expand renewables.
Companies are moving to renewable energy and batteries to cut costs, e.g. remote mines with microgrids are generating 50% of their electricity from renewables.
Australia is industrialising based on our renewable energy and mineral resources, e.g., developing green industries around steel, aluminium, zinc, and manganese.
Australia could generate seven times as much renewable energy as we consume and export the surplus. One way in which we are already exporting renewable energy is via our export of aluminium, steel, and zinc.
See my page: The export of renewable energy from Australia
As the world moves towards renewable energy, Australian enterprises are finding global niches, providing equipment and solutions, e.g., exporting electric vehicle chargers.
See my page: Australia is supplying equipment and solutions
Beyond Zero Emissions (2015) Zero Carbon Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower
Ross Garnaut (2019) Super-Power: Australia’s low-carbon opportunity: La Trobe University Press
Drivers of Australia’s transformation
There are many drivers of Australia’s transformation into a renewable energy superpower.
Driver: The renewables revolution
One driver is that we are in the middle of a revolution in renewable energy:
- the Tesla battery at Hornsdale in South Australia showed the world that big batteries could perform critical roles in running a grid, and now there are over 40 big batteries completed or planned in Australia, and
- wind and solar generation, with battery storage, now provide the cheapest electricity.
Driver: Australia’s competitive advantages
Australia glows orange on this map because we have outstanding winds and sun. Another driver of the transformation is that Australia has outstanding energy and mineral resources and will benefit from the renewable energy revolution.
Driver: The transition is creating quality jobs
- Building renewable infrastructure is creating jobs for engineers and construction workers.
- Our emerging industries are creating enduring jobs for salespeople, production planners, and plant operators.
Accelerating the superpower transition would be a sound economic investment and economic stimulus.
Driver: National Security
Here are two national security issues that support the move to renewable energy.
Firstly, Australia holds low reserves of petrol, diesel, and jet fuel. A 23-day disruption could see us run out of these fuels. So, it is in our national interest to move to electric and hydrogen fuels, to reduce the vulnerability of our road transport, rail transport, electricity generation, and even farm tractor usage.
(Australia urged to move away from oil dependency or risk fuel supply crisis: The Guardian: 17 July 2019)
Secondly, control of energy resources brings political power. The British built their empire on coal. The Americans built their empire on oil. Why are the democracies leaving the Chinese to build an empire on renewable energy, the energy of this century? We should strive to become a renewable energy superpower in the interests of Australian security.
(China: Beware the green dragon not the red one, Crispin Hull: March 2018)
Driver: International pressure
Japan, South Korea, and China have set net zero-emission targets. As they decrease their use of our fossil fuels, to meet their targets, they will be interested in buying our renewable energy.
(Net-zero: What if Australia misses the moment on climate action: The Guardian: 31 Oct 2020)
International pressure is building on Australia from:
- the United Nations,
- Pacific islands nations,
- the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, and
- US President Biden is making climate action a priority.
Driver: Cutting cost of importing fossil fuels
By moving to renewable energy, Australia can substantially reduce the enormous costs of importing fossil fuels; the cost was $41 billion in 2014.
Driver: Australia is benefiting from the transition
Some suggest that the transition to renewables will damage our economy, but the opposite is true.
The global energy transition is underway. It’s an enormous global wealth-generating opportunity, driven by the plummeting costs of renewable energy. The transition will:
- lead to a stronger Australian economy as we export renewable energy and become a renewable energy superpower,
- reduce our carbon emissions,
- assist other nations to reduce their emissions, and
- slow global warming and so reduce the costs of climate damage.
It’s in Australia’s economic interest to make this transition.
We can combat climate change, and at the same time, build a stronger economy & society.
Urgent action needed
Even though Australia is making great strides towards becoming a renewable energy superpower, we still need to do everything we can to accelerate this transition: other nations can seize these opportunities, and climate change is already wreaking havoc, see:
- Organise a presentation on Australia’s progress towards the superpower vision
- A brainstorm of demonstration banner slogans for promoting climate action
- Advantages of promoting climate action by focussing on vision and progress
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Source: Map of wind and solar potential: Beyond Zero Emissions: Renewable Energy Superpower Report
Updated 9 April 2021