At NQCC, we believe the economic downturn owing to the closure of coal mines in recent times is a great opportunity to kickstart the Queensland renewable energies sector.
Australia is the sunniest and windiest continent on Earth; with 3139 hours of 'bright sunshine' per year, North Queensland even beats Darwin for the best place to utilise solar electricity. We are one of the leaders in domestic solar power uptake with over 29,000 homes powered by rooftop solar in the Townsville electorate of Herbert alone by 2016.
What Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is any endlessly replaceable source of energy. For example, there is no limit to the waves which will wash up on the beach, so by using waves as an energy source, you're using a 'renewable' source of electricity. Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are referred to as non-renewable sources of energy because there is a finite amount of these resources in the ground. Once all fossil fuel sources are used up, we will no longer be able to create energy with them.
There are many different types of renewable energies in the clean energy mix including wind, solar PV, solar thermal, hydroelectricity, wave power, tidal, and geothermal.
Pros and Cons of Renewables and Non-Renewables:
|Fossil Fuels||- Existing Infrastructure
- Cheap Energy Source
|- Difficult To Obtain
- Damages The Environment
- Contributes To Climate Change
- Industry Workers Incur Higher Rates Of Injury And Illness
- Accidents Have Huge Consequences
- Requires Large Amounts Of Transport and Materials
|Renewable Energies||- Free Energy Source
- Minimal Environmental Impacts
- Opportunities For Market Growth
- Many Different Applications
- Low Maintenance
- Technology Is Improving
|- Needs New Infrastructure
- Less Efficient
- Storage Is Expensive
Opportunities In The Renewable Energy Market
In North Queensland, the opportunity to utilise solar technology is overwhelming. The market growth for solar energy is astronomical with the technology creating unprecedented employment growth in the sector. Renewable energy employed over 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015 alone. The price of solar is becoming more affordable every year- in 1975, 1 solar watt cost $101.50; these days it costs about $0.45.
With climate change well underway and the North Queensland economy in trouble, there has never been a better time to begin the renewable transition to renewable energies. North Queensland should be a pioneer for renewable energy technology and applications. Townsville residents have made one of the largest individual investments in rooftop solar out of the rest of Australia. This shows that Townsville residents already know there are benefits in investing in renewables- we just need our government to follow suit.
Have a look at our blog post about NQ jobs in a renewable energy economy here to understand the employment opportunities that come with leading the transition.
We need to replace our current fossil-fuel-based lifestyle with one that relies on clean, renewable energies.
What You Can Do To Get This Movement Underway
By investing in renewable energies, we can create a low-carbon society, and we can do it far more quickly than seemed possible just a few years ago. Here are three easy steps to get North Queensland well on the way:
- Invest in rooftop solar or a community solar project.
- Make a phone call/ write a letter/ schedule a meeting with your local state or federal MP, or a member of council to let them know you think renewables would be a great investment for Queensland.
- Write a Letter To The Editor in your local newspaper about renewables.
Click here for all our blog posts relating to Renewable Energy, and here to check our archive for older posts.
• Last updated 9 Dec 2016; links updated April 2018