The Renewable Energy Revolution is here

Recently in the NSW Parliament, we highlighted the renewable energy revolution, which is happening before our eyes.


Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 18:06 ): I refer to renewable energy and the revolution happening in the electorate of Newtown, where it appears that we are way ahead of the game. On Wilson Street, Newtown, STUCCO Housing Co-operative became one of the first in Australia to install a shared solar and battery storage system. This is the first multi-unit residence to achieve a unified solar panel and battery network in Australia. It is a phenomenal achievement. I urge the Minister for Energy and Utilities and the Minister for Housing, or their staff, to look into what has been achieved by this amazing student housing co‑operative in leading the solar and the renewable energy revolution. It is wonderful to see. It is not only about having huge environmental benefits but it also involves 30 kilowatts of solar panels and 36 batteries, and it now provides 80 per cent of residents energy needs, saving them each approximately $35 a month.

The suburb of Newtown has seen a massive spike in solar installation in 2017, and the numbers continue to grow. Late last year we saw more than 1,000 Newtown locals converge on Camperdown Memorial Rest Park to protest the Adani coalmine. In the electorate of Newtown, we understand the need to transition from dirty coal to embrace the renewables revolution, and it is time for the rest of New South Wales to catch up. It is cheaper to build a new wind or solar power station from wind or solar than it is to build a coal-fired power station. As those ageing coal-fired stations peg out in coming years, they will not be replaced by new coal-fired power stations—not for ideology reasons but because it is cheaper and makes more sense to build a renewable energy plant.

South Australia, where I am from, now has the world's largest battery storage facility. It is making a shift forward, as it is also building 50,000 small-scale solar and battery systems to provide a stable power source to the grid. Installation will be free, funded by selling power. People living in public housing will be the first households to receive free solar energy systems. This is something we in New South Wales should look at.

If we look at other parts of the world, we see that the city of Shenzhen in China is powered by 100 per cent electric buses and that China is a global leader in renewable energy. Last year China installed enough solar to power every home in Australia and New Zealand combined. China is leading the way in the shift towards electric cars. We need to recognise that, according to the International Energy Agency, the world will install 70,000 solar panels every hour over the next five years. Solar is now the fastest growing source of new power generation. France has announced that it will close all its coal-fired power plants by 2021. In Norway, 52 per cent of cars are already electric.

The Netherlands powers all its trains by wind power. New Zealand already has achieved deriving 84 per cent of its energy from renewable sources . In America, many cities are all powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. Dozens more are in the process of transitioning to a renewable and clean energy future, which is something that New South Wales should step up to . In California, more than 500,000 people are employed in the clean energy sector alone , and the entire State is transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy. Here in Austr alia we are sitting on just 16 per cent. But in Australia we have ideol ogically blinded buffoons in Canberra who dictate policy.

Mr Daryl Maguire: That is unparliamentary.

Ms JENNY LEONG: To refer to someone in another Parliament as a "buffoon"? It is okay, I think.

Mr Daryl Maguire: It is unparliamentary.

Ms JENNY LEONG: I withdraw the term "buffoon" and say that ideologically driven people in Canberra, who have their heads in the sand, are refusing to accept the challenge and have done all they can to stop the renewable energy revolution. Nevertheless, investment in renewable energy is surging to record highs.While Liberal governments refuse to face up to reality and continue to make jokes and lighthearted comments about coal, local communities are taking matters into their own hands.Byron Bay has the world's first solar-powered train. The Australian Capital Territory has set a target of 100 per cent renewable energy in the nexttwo years. In Melbourne there is a plan to reach zero emissions by 2020. In Newtown, we have solar-powered beer. Cheers to that!


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