Clean energy development offers countless opportunities to rejuvenate remote and regional Australia, generate jobs in mining for components, building transmission lines, and installing solar farms.
The business case for clean energy is compelling. CSIRO and AEMO data indicate that large scale solar and battery is the cheapest form of new built electricity generation. It's also a means of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation, and by extension, mitigating the economic and environmental impacts of climate change.
Amidst the opportunities, there are transitional risks and considerations. A solar revolution requires coordinated government policy, particularly around upgrading transmission and distribution infrastructure, to avoid black outs or brown outs. As we reach 70% renewables, there will be growing necessity for storage or other dispatchable forms of energy to ensure regularity of supply.
Energy development in the Northern Territory is a typically Australian story: it is backing fossil fuels – in this case gas – when it could, as one of the sunniest places on Earth, be reaping economic and environmental benefits from renewable energy. [A new report] says the NT economy could be transformed through incentives for renewable-powered manufacturing and downstream minerals processing, targets for mines to transition to 100% clean energy and electric machinery by 2030 and support for Indigenous communities to be equity partners in zero-carbon developments.