The North Coast is set to become one of five renewable-energy ‘superpowers’ in NSW that could replace the state’s five coal-burning power stations by 2030, a new report by the Nature Conservation Council has found.
The report’s author, Dr Brad Smith, said that North Coast is already the ‘rooftop solar capital of NSW,’ with about 30 per cent households generating their own power with solar, well ahead of the state average of 18 per cent.
‘That’s great, but we think the North Coast could more than double the number of homes with rooftop solar and massively ramp up the amount of power people in this region can feed into the grid,’ Dr Smith said.
‘Currently about 62,800 homes on the North Coast have rooftop solar. Under our plan to power NSW with clean energy that number needs to more than double by 2030.
100 per cent doable
‘It’s a big job, but making the NSW electricity system 100 per cent renewable is 100 per cent doable. The only thing standing in the way is a lack of leadership from the NSW Government, Dr Smith said.
‘Gladys Berejiklian is the only premier in eastern Australia without a plan to clean up our electricity system, which is critical if we are going to slash carbon emissions and protect our climate.
‘If we don’t get the right policies in NSW urgently, clean energy jobs and investment will flow to Queensland and Victoria instead.’
Dr Smith, NCC’s Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner, said implementing the Repowering our Regions roadmap would:
- generate 1,100 jobs on the North Coast
- generate enough electricity to power 310,000 homes on the North Coast, and
- avoid pumping 1.4 million tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere
‘We chose Lismore and Mullumbimby as venues to launch our report on the North Coast because climate change and energy policy are major concerns for people in this region,’ he said.
‘Recent polling in the marginal Nationals electorate of Lismore found more than 60 per cent of people were more likely to vote for a party that established a fund to boost clean energy, permanently banned CSG, reduced coal-fire power and increased wind and solar energy.’
Clean up the grid
The NCC said the state government could slash carbon pollution, increase the reliability of our power supply, and promote jobs by:
- Setting enforceable targets to source 50 per cent of NSW’s electricity from renewables by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030.
- Planning for the quick, orderly closure of antiquated coal-fired power stations, ensuring the transition is fair for power-station workers and communities.
- Creating incentives for storage technologies like batteries and pumped hydro to make our electricity grid more stable and reliable.
The Lismore launch will be at the Lismore City Bowling Club, Spinks Park on Thursday (November 23) from 6pm.
The Mullumbimby launch will be at the Drill Hall, Jubilee Ave on Friday (November 24) from 6pm.