I’m currently in Wollongong, and managed to turn up right at the beginning of Sustainability Week, being put on by a few groups from around the area. I went along to talk by Dr Barney Foran, titled “A low carbon economy based on renewable energy: the only way to go!”. He was a physical economics modeler (first I’d heard of it) amongst other things, and had used this to model what Australia could like by 2050 if we went down the line of transferring our society to being powered by a majority renewable power supply. 80% supply mix of wind, solar and biomass. According to his modeling, a transition of this scale wouldn’t be the end of living, as we know it. Quite the opposite, it would allow us to maintain a high standard of living and strong economy. I’ll post the recording of the talk once its up online.
It’s well worth a listen, as it seemed like a viable option to help address the challenges we are facing. From this talk, and from finding out about such technologies as the tidal generation, it seems hard to understand why not more is happening with the roll out of renewables.
One point that stuck in my mind, was that not a lot of this technology is new as such. By discovering a cheap, easy and quick form of energy to fuel our industrial advances in the form of fossil fuels, the harnessing of limitless natural energy sources such as wind were sidelined. However now that our fossil fuels are running low, the natural energy bonanza is being discovered again.
I’m very interested to find out a number of things. Is it really possible to transform our economy and way of life to be powered from mainly renewables from non-renewable sources? Will this ‘green’ transformation, revive Australian manufacturing and industry? If the technology is here, why aren’t we getting right into it?
Also something that’s been playing on my mind is how this transfer from the old to new, how will it affect people living, working within it all? It’s all well to say that green growth will create jobs and opportunities to out weigh the negatives, but will they sprout where the old ones whither?