Could the Northern Rivers be a solar superpower?
A NEW report by the Nature Conservation Council has labelled the North Coast of New South Wales as a renewable energy superpower.
In 'Repowering our Regions', author Dr Brad Smith identifies the Northern Rivers as "the rooftop solar capital of NSW".
"About 30% of the region's households are generating their own power with solar, well ahead of the state average of 18%," Dr Smith said.
However, he feels the region could be doing more to help Australia meet their Paris Climate Change Agreement.
"We think the North Coast could more than double the number of homes with rooftop solar and massively ramp up the amount of power people in this region can feed into the grid," Dr Smith said.
With around 62,800 homes already having solar panels in the region, Dr Smith hopes this number will be over 125,600 by 2030.
"It's a big job, but making NSW electricity system 100% renewable is 100% doable," he said.
"The only thing standing in the way is the lack of leadership from the NSW Government."
"Gladys Berejiklian is the only Premier in eastern Australia without a plan to clean up our electricity system."
Dr Smith, the Nature Conservation Council's Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner said implementing the reports recommendations in the North Coast would:
- Generate 1,100 jobs.
- Generate enough electricity to power 310,000 homes.
- Avoid pumping 1.4 million tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
This week, the Nature Conservation Council will be hosting two meetings on the North Coast to launch the report.
"We chose Lismore and Mullumbimby as venues to launch our report because climate change and energy policy are major concerns for people in the region," Dr Smith said.
"Recent polling in Lismore found more than 60% of people were more likely to vote for a party that established a fund to boost clean energy, permanently banned CSG, reduced coal-fire power and increased wind and solar energy."
"We will be calling on people to help lobby politicians and their representatives to make a change for the whole State."
Dr Smith said he has been in meetings with a few MPs especially in the last week ahead of the report launch.
"Responses have mostly been positive but we don't have any commitment to action yet," he said.
"Now is the time to put the pressure on the Government to make the change."