Experts agree at roundtable that Australia must modernise its energy system

06.10.16 By
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Energy experts attending today’s roundtable in South Australia, convened by the state government, agree that Australia must modernise its energy system with renewable energy to play a critical role.

The discussions were held in Adelaide ahead of tomorrow’s COAG meeting for state and federal energy ministers.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, who attended the Adelaide event with Climate Councillor and energy expert Andrew Stock, said: “There is a strong consensus among Australian energy experts that renewable energy is critical in securing Australia’s future and there must be a national plan to modernise our energy system.

“Australia’s coal-fire generation capacity is ageing, efficient and some of the most polluting in the world. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and assume that the status quo can continue forever. Australia is part of a world-wide transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy that is well underway. We need to modernise our energy system as more and more wind, solar, and renewable storage comes online.”

Those attending also heard from New York’s “Energy Czar” Richard Kauffman* who canvassed the approach of New York State following Hurricane Sandy that severely damaged infrastructure. The state’s approach has been to modernise the energy system using renewable energy, microgrids and batteries.

“There was also a strong consensus that the recent blackout in South Australia was caused by the massive storm destroying transmission lines and energy infrastructure,” Ms McKenzie said. “Climate change is fueling more intense and damaging extreme weather events, including storms. Our energy infrastructure was built for the 20th century, and we need to make sure it can cope with the changing climate of the 21st century.”

Over 140 countries worldwide now have renewable energy targets to incentivise development of renewable energy.

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*Richard Kauffman is officially referred to as the Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York in the administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He is New York State’s most senior energy official, responsible for all aspects of energy policy and agency operation.