Murdoch: Climate expert says WA could lead in renewable energy

WA has everything it needs to become a world leader in renewable energy, says a climate expert.
WA has everything it needs to become a world leader in renewable energy, says a climate expert.

WESTERN Australia is perfectly positioned to establish itself as a world leader in renewable energy transformation, according to leading international climate expert Bill Hare.

Dr Hare believes WA could meet all of its energy needs through renewable sources by as early as 2030.

Not only that, the state could also create a green energy industry boom if it takes steps now to harness a global push for renewables.

A Murdoch University graduate with more than 30 years experience in the field of climate change and ozone depletion, Dr Hare returned to his old campus to deliver the 2017 Keith Roby Memorial Lecture last Thursday.

Climate expert Bill Hare.

He used the platform to urge both the State and Federal Governments to take advantage of the opportunities created by the 2015 Paris climate accord, which is a commitment to hold the global average temperature increase to below 2C above pre-industrial levels.

“WA has enormous potential to cost effectively transition to 100 per cent renewables while reducing the electricity costs for consumers,” Dr Hare said. “Along the way, the rollout would also create large scale economic benefits.”

Dr Hare said 100 per cent renewable energy production could be achieved by combining the state’s abundance of sunlight, wind and empty space with existing storage technologies like lithium-ion batteries, pumped storage and molten salt storage.

Dr Hare said Australia was sitting on a wealth of the minerals required to build renewable energy technology such as lithium, neodymium and high-quality iron and steel.

“Australia has massive exportable renewable energy resources and relatively few constraints on their deployment compared with many other countries,” he said.

“Australia also has a highly skilled workforce with strong scientific, engineering and logistical capabilities.“We could make a major economic opportunity by pivoting Australia’s international diplomacy away from supporting more fossil fuel development towards a strategy of developing an export market for new renewable energy carriers and low carbon, hi-tech minerals.”

Dr Hare believes lithium-ion battery efficiency will increase by around 30 per cent over the next decade.

He said WA would also benefit from making a significant investment in the infrastructure required to support electric cars.

“There is already a lot of consumer interest in electric cars and there is an important connection between the renewable power and electric car industries that the State Government could take advantage of,” he said.