- By: Rachel Avery
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If Australia’s renewable energy target was changed to 50 per cent by 2030, 28,000 jobs would be created, according to a report released today by the Climate Council.
CEO Amanda McKenzie said the report looked at economic modelling and compared Australia’s current trajectory of 34 per cent renewable energy by 2030, to a future where 50 per cent of the nation’s energy came from renewable sources.
“So nationwide if we had a 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, there would be 28,000 new jobs.
“And the story’s the same across the country in every state and in rural and regional Australia.”
The modelling was carried out by independent analysts Ernst and Young and indicated that many people in coal industry jobs could be retrained and redeployed.
Ms McKenzie said Australia was the “sunniest country in the world and one of the windiest,” so there were opportunities for renewable energy across the country.
“But for communities like the Hunter Valley or the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, we need to make sure that the transition away from coal to renewable energy is planned and there is a clear repurposing of roles in those areas,” she said.
She said while the renewable energy options were there, the question of ensuring the policy setting was right was important.
“The good news is that rooftop solar PV, for instance, is jobs that would already exist in the area that people live and work today,” Ms McKenzie said.
“There’s also then jobs in regional and rural Australia with large scale renewable energy, and that sends construction operation maintenance of those plants in the longer term.
“So there is a huge potential for jobs in a whole range of areas around Australia.”
Strong political support is critical: Clean Energy Council
Kane Thornton, from the Clean Energy Council, said a decline in investment in the renewable sector had seen jobs recently lost.
“It has been a difficult couple of years for the renewable energy industry, but I think we’re starting to see a real shift in attitudes towards renewable energy and a lot of momentum come back into the sector,” Mr Thornton said.
“And obviously strong political support is critical to that continuing into the future and unlocking those thousands of jobs in the sector right around the country.”
The local community of South Australian city Port Augusta made the move to renewable energy to save its future, after it was left devastated by the coal plant closure in May in which 150 jobs were lost.
Daniel Spencer, from the Repower Port Augusta Campaign, said Port Augusta’s rebranding could be replicated across the country.
He said they had a tomato farm under construction and development, which created a couple of hundred jobs and was powered by a solar thermal plant.
“As well as that we’ve also got a couple of other solar thermal proposals in the regions which would create another couple of hundred jobs, as well as thousands in the construction phase.”
Mr Spencer said Australians knew renewable energy created jobs.
“When governments actually take action and set more ambitious targets, like 50 per cent or even 100 per cent renewable, there’s going to be a whole lot of new jobs created through that.”
Originally posted on ABC Online
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