Professor urges WA to go it alone on renewables

Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill

Western Australia should adopt a state-based emissions intensity scheme, according to energy and climate economist Professor Ross Garnaut.

Speaking at a public lecture at Murdoch University in Perth, Professor Garnaut, who advised state and territory governments in Australia on climate change policy from 2007 to 2011, said WA’s isolation from the National Electricity Market (NEM) and its vast renewable energy resources could position the state as a world-leader in clean energy.

“Australia has the potential to become an energy superpower in the low carbon world economy, but it needs to shake off the shackles of those with ideological or vested interest in the old ways of supplying energy,” he said.

“Western Australia can benefit from its own vast and diverse renewable energy, mineral, land and marine resources and play a vital role contributing to the national and global transition to a zero carbon energy future.

“WA’s policy independence from the NEM allows it to avoid legacy problems of high costs and unreliability in other states.

“Policies at state level elsewhere are presently driving much of the development in Australia.”

In his presentation, Professor Garnaut explained how a new Australian-German Energy Transition Research Hub, of which he is chair, could help to guide the WA government and industry to take advantage of opportunities in the low carbon economy.

“Murdoch University researchers are establishing a WA node which will aim to bring value to the WA state government and industry by applying the overall findings of the Hub to this state,” he said.

“The WA node would also work on its own specific projects to study issues including the technical challenges of energy transition, and the capacity of renewable energy to be used in industrial processes.”