Renewable Energy & the Latrobe Valley by Lorraine Bull

Loraine Bull Letter

(letter in Latrobe Valley Express 28.1)

NASA reports that 2015 was the hottest year on record globally. This is attributed to increased greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Increased carbon dioxide comes from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas).  Many people query how we can overcome this dependence on fossil fuels.

As with coal-fired power stations, alternative sources of energy will take time to construct, but unlike our current centralised national electricity grid, the future power will come from many sources.  Well over one million homes have PV solar panels.  AGL has just opened two large scale solar plants at Nyngan and Broken Hill, bringing the Australian large-scale solar capacity to 245MW feeding into the national grid.   Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has shortlisted 22 large scale solar projects vying for $100 million funding to produce about 767MW capacity.

The recently commissioned 106MW Bald Hills Wind Farm near Tarwin Lower [has] contributed to Victoria’s 12% renewable energy in 2014.  In December Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio released a ‘Guide to Community Owned Renewable Energy’ to encourage development of grassroots projects, and the jobs associated with manufacturing and installing new energy production.

Exciting technologies under development include wave power, bioenergy, concentrated solar thermal storage and battery storage. Australia is forecast to attract $36 billion in renewable energy investments by 2020.  It is vital that Victoria, especially Latrobe Valley, captures a share of this.  Indeed, I feel that a Government body with authority to finance the transition of the Latrobe Valley is vital for our future.