This is a letter written to the newly appointed chair of the Coalition’s environmental policy committee, Craig Kelly – a climate science denier – about his call for an end to subsidies for solar energy.
On behalf of the 5 million Australians (that’s 5,000,000) who live in a house powered by the sun, I want to invite you to come and see my solar powered home.
I’ve just read your recent comments that renewable energy like solar “has little effect” and frankly, I’m a little surprised.
You’d like to see a cost-benefit analysis? I’d be happy to show you any of my recent energy bills when you visit.
Keen for a few more real facts and figures? Take a peek at our recent report, ‘State of Solar’ which shows Australians have invested $8 billion of their own money in rooftop solar in the last 8 years and now save around $1 billion in electricity bills each year.
Given your position as the new chairman of the Coalition’s environment policy committee, I’m certain you must be open to getting some real information to determine your views. You’d be happy to discover that non-solar owners are also benefitting as renewable energy is pushing down the wholesale price of electricity. A report commissioned by your own Government has shown this.
Here’s another plus. Once we build renewable energy projects like solar and wind there are no costs for fuel unlike coal and gas. Independent modelling by the University of Technology Sydney shows that if we build a fully renewable energy system we’d actually save $90 billion by 2050. Imagine the effect that would have on electricity bills.
I know you’re dead keen on jobs and growth so you might be interested to know that there are now far more people employed in the solar industry than in coal and gas electricity generation. If we were to increase the renewable energy target we’d see tens of thousands more jobs which would help ease the pain experienced by the end of the minerals boom.
From 2006 to 2010, the number of solar systems installed each year in Australia trebled year-on-year. Hard not to see some real, unmatched, growth right there.
I really am bewildered by your opinion on climate science but let’s leave that to one side – like most people I’m really concerned about the impacts of global warming. This year alone (set to be the hottest on record – again), Australia’s rooftop solar systems will prevent over 6.3 million tonnes of carbon pollution harming our environment, equivalent to taking a third of all trucks off Australian roads.
That’s a truckload of health benefits for the Australian public right there.
Solar Citizens research has revealed that solar owners are really satisfied with their investment but they have even higher satisfaction levels when it comes to the positive environmental impact they are having.
Recent polling shows that 64 per cent of all Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy transition our economy to 100% renewables in the next 20 years.
Australia has the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the world thanks to policies your Government seems, bizarrely, hell bent on destroying.
Just for clarity for you, that means we are a world leader. As we should be. Surely you don’t want to mess with that?
The renewable energy target, and other bodies like ARENA that your Government wants to scrap, are helping Australia transition to a renewable energy future with the very real promise of more jobs and lower electricity bills for everyone.
Every week, around 3,000 solar systems are added to Australian rooftops.
Craig, if you can’t make it to my place I’m sure you might be able to find a local who can tell you about their solar system and why it’s so great. There’s plenty of them.
Your electorate in southern Sydney has 9,500 voters who live in solar powered homes. This year they will save over $2.9m on their power bills and avoid 17,380 tonnes of carbon pollution.
Australians from Bundeena to Broome, through their investment in solar pv, have made this technology the backbone of the renewables revolution across the country.
With 5 million Australians (or 1 in 5 voters) living under a solar roof, this is a potent political constituency and every time you or colleagues talk renewable energy down, you are talking voters down.
Figures released by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance this year indicate a staggering forecast of future investment in renewables globally. Through to 2040, BNEF forecast a record $7.8 trillion to be invested in renewables, including $3.4 trillion for solar, $3.1 trillion for wind, and $911 billion for hydro power.
Craig, Australians, and the very voters who you have been elected to represent, want a slice of this future.
So mate, pop over for a cuppa, just to warn you though, the kettle is powered by the sun at my place.
Reece Turner is Solar Citizens’ Consumer Campaigner