Opinion pieces

RENEWABLES DO STACK UP - Letter to the Editor

June 06, 2019

Renewables do stack up

Surveyor and planner Robert Monteath writes "it is time for Australia to have an open and pragmatic discussion about our future energy needs", and I agree - Labor has been doing that for years - but I strongly disagree that "renewables are not the answer" (Herald, 4/6). In line with a "pragmatic approach", the two main issues would seem to be cost, and jobs. On cost, renewables stacks up. The Australian Energy Market Operator Integrated Systems Plan found that the lowest cost replacement for the many ageing coal-fired power stations that are due to close will be a combination of solar, wind and storage, complemented by flexible gas plant and transmission investment. On jobs, renewables also stack up. Australia Institute modelling of the above plan shows 70,000 jobs could be created in renewable energy by 2030. Our region was built on the sacrifices of coalminers and mining jobs are important now and will be in the future. I am proud of that. Labor's policies were misrepresented during the election campaign and are still being misrepresented now. We've made no secret of the fact we have to connect better with coal communities about how our policies are consistent with their industry and with their livelihoods. But oversimplifying and scaremongering doesn't lower power prices, or address climate change. Nor does it guarantee jobs.

Pat Conroy, Member for Shortland and shadow minister assisting for climate change