Solar commitment shows the new way forward

It has become widely accepted that renewable energy will play an ever-increasing role in powering our economy into the future.

That is based on a range of factors, not least of course the realisation that fossil fuels are both finite and a major driver of climate change.

For Australian households, this most recently made a significant, everyday impact with the rapid growth in popularity of solar energy systems.

People are readily attracted to the notion of creating their own power, or at least a fair slice, rather than relying wholly on the electricity grid.

Throw in some fairly generous rebates from government and the growth in the solar market in Australia was considerable, including in the Border region.

That has tapered off in more recent times as governments wound-down the rebate offers.

In South Australia the component of renewable energy in its power production is in the region of 40 per cent, a figure that shows the substantial worth of taking a cleaner approach.

This led to criticism though that such a reliance on solar and wind energy was why the state recently suffered a substantial blackout, because such “intermittent energy” was supposedly unreliable.

The state government maintained though that the blackout was down to the severe storms that struck and that more had to be done to create a more flexible national energy market.

Plenty obviously still needs to be done to turn renewable energy into something that is genuinely within the mainstream, rather than something that is a small-scale alternative to coal-fired power stations.

And that can only happen by continuing to invest in new ways of applying existing technology that in turn can provide the catalyst for learning how to do things better.

Wodonga Council and Renewable Albury Wodonga have embarked on playing just such a role.

A $100,000 commitment – $80,000 from the Victorian government, with the council making up the balance – has been made to a feasibility study on solar power generation.

Of course it remains a big unknown at this stage, but it is only by showing such leaps of faith that true progress can ever be made on the renewable energy front.

They should be congratulated for showing such foresight.

This editorial was originally published by The Border Mail:​