Top tech experts and engineers call for urgent energy action

Chief scientist Alan Finkel

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) today called for energy action in the form of a swift and sensible transition to a clean energy economy.

In a National Press Club address today, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel FTSE, called for an urgent transition to clean energy via existing low-emission power generation technologies. The Academy supports this call.

ATSE President Professor Hugh Bradlow said Australia would be foolish to limit its options for a swift and safe transition.

“The need to transition our energy economy is a matter of urgency, and we should be prepared to seriously consider all safe, low-emissions technologies,” Professor Bradlow said.

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“Natural gas will play a role in transitioning to a low-emission economy. Hydrogen, hydroelectricity and nuclear energy should also all be in active consideration as companion power generators for solar and wind.”

Professor Bradlow added that it was vital to ensure any potential energy solutions meet key safety, regulatory, and sustainability criteria.

“It’s important that any new Australian systems of power generation and distribution meet regulatory requirements as well as low emissions targets,” he said.

“It’s equally important to ensure power generation systems are stable and secure, that the energy is able to be distributed where and when it’s needed, and that the technology used is safe and sustainable.

Australia is heavily reliant on fossil fuels for its domestic energy needs.

In 2018, about 39 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption was sourced from oil, 30 per cent from coal, 25 per cent from natural gas and six per cent from renewables.

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“The Academy of Technology and Engineering has long advocated for technology-neutral policies that can address the electricity trilemma,” Professor Bradlow said.

“No technology solution should be excluded providing it is able to meet reliability, stability and emissions targets. It is up to the market to decide which technologies are the most affordable which in turn will ensure the lowest cost to the consumer.”

“As carbon dioxide emissions continue to amass in the atmosphere, and as Australia faces the increasingly tangible effects of climate change, ATSE calls for an urgent transition plan.”

Read more about the Academy’s position on sustainable energy here.