Australia’s renewable energy industry could generate $370 billion worth of jobs over the next 10 years using current technology, a new report has found.
The report, released on Tuesday by Beyond Zero Emissions, aims to illustrate how Australia can transition from coal-fired power to renewables, shifting the economy along with it.
“Our research with Melbourne University into energy generation in Australia shows that we can create $370 billion of green energy jobs with current technology, instead of using coal-fired power stations,” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.
When you add to this smart homes and buildings, as well as low-carbon land use, high speed rail and electric vehicle options, the green jobs climb towards $1 trillion dollars in value, Dr Bygrave says.
The report’s findings coincide with a new policy proposal from the Greens that calls for a levy to be imposed on coal mining companies to help pay for the transition away from fossil fuels, including for the rehabilitation of retired mines and retraining workers for clean energy jobs.
BZE is also set to launch a new book on October 2, at the Smart Future Cities Conference showing how easily existing Australian homes can be retrofitted to eliminate electricity and gas bills – a follow-up to its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, that was researched over 3 years.
“The Buildings Plan showed that all residential and commercial buildings in Australia could be converted to generate as much energy as they consumed, creating $270 billion of green jobs in the construction industry,” Bygrave said.
“The new book, The Energy Freedom Home, shows how every home can produce more energy than it consumes. And with rising electricity and gas prices and falling rooftop solar prices, Australian households can affordably revolutionise the way they power their homes.
“Our research shows that millions of ordinary Australian homes can be transformed to be high performing, comfortable and cheaper to run. The transformation is easy since 1.4 million homes already have rooftop solar.”
To illustrate their theory, BZE along with the University of Newcastle have retrofitted a brick veneer family home in North Lambton, Newcastle, that was originally built in 2000.
The retrofits, which began in 2009 and are based on the guidelines provided by the Energy Freedom Home program now save the household $1,200 a year on power bills, with credits during the year.
“We removed the gas systems for health, safety and cost reasons, and have found we use less energy now than when we had both electricity and gas,” said the house’s owner, who monitors it for energy, water, temperature and humidity.
As part of the Smart Future Cities conference, the home in North Lambton will be open on 10am and at 10:30am on Saturday 3rd October for free limited tours.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.