Canada and the United States are setting the bar for upcycling, after taking their largest coal sites and transforming them into solar farms, in a bid to tackle intensifying climate change.
The government in Ontario, Canada has begun transforming what was North America’s biggest coal power station into a renewable energy hub, building more than 200,000 solar panels. While Washington state has also announced plans to convert the US state’s largest coal mine into a solar farm which would generate 180MW of energy and create 300 local jobs.
Once abandoned, ageing coal stations not only take employment opportunities with them, but also leave a massive scar on the land. These projects show renewable leadership, transforming old forgotten mines into clean energy havens and in doing so, breathe life back into these regions.
Australia has begun the transition away from polluting, ageing and unreliable fossil fuels such as coal, but on a global scale we are clearly trailing behind. Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest places in the world so making the switch to renewables and battery storage just makes sense.
In our own backyard we’ve seen similar successes with Kidston, a rural QLD town taking an abandoned gold mine and converting it into a world-first solar and storage project, creating enough energy to power 280,000 Aussie homes. Projects like this show that the states and territories are leading Australia’s renewable energy race, while the Federal Government is still missing in action over credible climate and energy policy.
Australia is sitting at an energy crossroads with 70% of our coal fleet set to hit 50 years or older by 2040. The transition to clean, reliable and affordable renewables and storage is more important than ever. We need to take a great big leap in the right direction in order to cut our rising pollution levels and tackle climate change.
The Climate Council has created a climate and energy policy roadmap ‘Clean & Reliable Power: Roadmap to a Renewable Future’, outlining 12 key principles that are essential to tackling climate change in Australia.