Ross Garnaut tells Royal Commission of ever cheaper solar photovoltaic electricity
Nuclear power Royal Commission told renewables are main game for future energy needs. ABC Radio The world Today Nick Grimm reported this story on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 DAVID MARK: South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has heard that uranium enrichment and nuclear energy could become an increasingly important part of Australia’s effort to reduce its carbon emission in response to climate change.
That’s the view of one of Australia’s leading authorities on the impact of climate change, the economist Professor Ross Garnaut. He was speaking on day one of the commission’s first public hearings.
But the Australian Conservation Foundation says the royal commission is focussing on the wrong area.
It’s arguing that rapid advances in renewable energy technologies is the main game when it comes to finding a sustainable solution to the world’s energy needs.
Nick Grimm reports..…….
The question of whether nuclear energy should be regarded as friend or fiend is the focus of a royal commission set up by the South Australian Government.
KEVIN SCARCE: Today’s the commission’s public sessions commence.
NICK GRIMM: It began its first public session today in Adelaide, led by royal commissioner Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, the former South Australian governor.
KEVIN SCARCE: Subsequent sessions will explore a range of other issues, including the threat posed by radiation to humans and the environment.
As he acknowledges he’s no climate scientist, but he was tasked by the former Labor federal government to write the 2008 Garnaut climate change review and its 2011 follow-up review, entitled ‘Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change’.As he told the royal commission, the need for Australia to reduce carbon emissions is an urgent one……..
NICK GRIMM: On the upside, Professor Garnaut says the cost of fossil fuel alternatives has fallen faster than he’d ever anticipated, boosting hopes that the world can be weaned off its reliance on coal, oil and gas.
ROSS GARNAUT: This is most spectacularly so in the case of photovoltaic solar; the last time I looked, the capital costs of photovoltaic panels had fallen 80 per cent.
NICK GRIMM: And Ross Garnaut says as wind and hydro-electric turbines become more efficient, he expects renewable will become ever-increasingly a more important part of the solution.
But he doesn’t dismiss a role for nuclear energy as part of the mix.
ROSS GARNAUT: You may actually see a larger role for Australia in other parts of the nuclear cycle, particularly uranium enrichment.
NICK GRIMM: For others though, nuclear is not the way to go……..
NICK GRIMM: And as far as the ACF is concerned, the nuclear fuel cycle royal commission is merely a costly exercise by the South Australian Government to justify the establishment of a nuclear waste dump inside the state, something past Labor governments there have firmly opposed.
DAVE SWEENEY: There’s four terms of reference, one’s on uranium, one’s on enrichment and reprocessing and one’s on nuclear power and one’s on radioactive waste.
Increasingly we’re seeing the commission and the discussion scoping down to hosting radioactive waste, because the other ones do not stack up economically and make no sense in the South Australian or Australian context. http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4308966.htm
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