Lorraine (left) and Noel Bird with Kirsten Kennedy.
Lorraine (left) and Noel Bird with Kirsten Kennedy. Geoff Potter

Golden opportunity

ACCORDING to Noosa green energy exponents like Noel Bird of Boreen Point, the answer to Australia's sustainable power needs is glaringly obvious.

We have to go solar - not just on top of our own home - but in a big way - the bigger the better.

Mr Bird was at the Noosa Parks Association environment centre last Friday with Kirsten Kennedy, the Brisbane regional director of the 100% Renewable Campaign for the Big Solar launch.

Mr Bird and Ms Kennedy claim the next five years are crucial for Australia - including Noosa and the Sunshine Coast - to buy into solar generation or miss out on major economic benefits.

The Big Solar push for major solar plants will visit Pomona and Cooroy as well to win popular and political support to have the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation finance significant large-scale solar energy projects in Australia.

Much has been made of the fact that, as the sunniest continent in the world, Australia is being left behind in creating large-scale plants, such as the 20mw solar thermal generator in Spain.

"It is the first in the world to produce continuous 24-hour power, with molten salt maintaining the heat that drives the turbine," Mr Bird said.

"There's been a lot of developments in Europe and North Africa and Germany is making about a $15 billion investment to get enough solar power to satisfy 15% of its energy needs."

Ms Kennedy said last year in December Germany in one week alone installed 250,000mw of solar PV panels.

"One plant in Nevada has three lots of 110mw, while China is building a 550mw solar plant, the biggest in the world."

They said the technology is available and all that needed is the political will.

There are signs of hope with the Sunshine Coast Council approving the construction of a 10mw solar PV project at Valdora in former cane fields, while a further 3mw solar PV farm is planned for Cootharaba.

Ms Kennedy said without public support, the $10 billion funding available to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation might be frittered away on meaningless projects such as clean coal, coal-seam gas and carbon capture and storage.

Mr Bird said the Member for Wide Bay WarrenTruss has promised to take their funding message to Canberra.

He said Noosa Councillor Lew Brennan has also come onboard and is keen to support Valdora and any other feasible solar project to help stimulate the Sunshine Coast economy.


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