If you read the news there are a lot of terrifying climate change reports being published but a new global resurvey of clean energy just out should give us some hope.
Last year was a record year for clean energy globally according to the latest annual Renewables Global Status Report published this week. We are investing in and installing record levels of renewables internationally. It’s all the more important and positive because it is happening at a time of low fossil fuel prices and despite the hundreds of billions of dollars that go into subsidising fossil fuels annually. It’s critical we decarbonise our energy sector if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change and that’s starting to happen.
As a father I often worry what the future will be for my kids and their generation but it’s heartening to think perhaps we are reaching a global tipping point away from polluting fossil fuels like coal and oil towards a clean sources like wind and solar. Clean energy is delivering millions of jobs and providing electricity to those who have gone without which is fantastic.
While I’m positive about the global outlook it is disappointing New Zealand’s major electricity news of the last year was the Government and electricity industries concerted campaign against solar, and support of burning coal at Huntly. While the world marches ahead we seem stuck at 80% renewable, while better than many, is lower than what we had in 1980 and 1990. Meanwhile National continues to offer tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and their long-awaited electric vehicle policy was well pedestrian.
My vision is a smarter electricity grid utilising our wealth of renewable resources and getting to 100% renewable electricity. We are blessed with a wealth of clean energy sources and coupled with Kiwi know-how not only could we get there and grow jobs doing it, we could also export our solutions, expertise and IP to a world who is clearly crying out for renewables. The world is moving away from fossil fuels, let’s not be a laggard, let’s lead the charge.