Charles MacFarland, Ewingsdale
Council just put a solar roof over 40 car spaces, and good on them, but it highlights the limitations of solar. The roof generates about 0.1 megawatts, at a cost of $380,000. We would need 10,000 such roofs to generate 1000 megawatts, which is about the size of a normal large power plant.
Australia needs about 30 of these.
Besides, solar and wind electricity are intermittent. There are many ideas about how to store electricity, but none are even close to being practical. No one has worked out a way to make the sun shine at night.
About 20 per cent of carbon emissions come from cars. Any change in driving habits is likely to cause problems. For example, every year a million or so people drive down from the Gold Coast to Byron just for the day, a huge source of carbon emissions. Even if we could stop them, imagine the outcry from the tourist businesses.
And what about commuting? Electric vehicles powered by solar are promising but expensive. Imagine the problems if everyone had to buy a new car and a solar facility as well.
The changes needed in our lifestyles are drastic, and very expensive. The reason politicians don’t act is that they suspect they would be voted out of office if they did.
Frankly, I don’t think anything significant will be done until there is a big calamity, like widespread famine, or several cities and islands lost to rising tides. Only then will there be major action. The question is, by then, will it be too late?