Exploring the Debate Surrounding The Investment of Solar Energy Development in Australia

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As part of the Kyoto Protocol international efforts to combat climate change have seen signatory nations commit to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of mechanisms (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2008). The Australian government as part of its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol implemented the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme that would see a minimum 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply being delivered through renewable sources by the year 2020 (Australian Government: Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 2012). In developing a renewable energy strategy a range of issues arise concerning the feasibility, reliability and policy in implementing solar as a source of renewable energy. Instead of examining the technical specifications of current solar technology efficiency this essay aims instead to provide a general overview to the current levels of investment by government in the Australian solar industry and explore the debate involved with the implementation of solar power as part of Australia’s energy landscape. Due to the world’s abundant supply of solar energy there is an additional recognition by developed countries that solar has tremendous potential in resolving the global dilemma of increasing energy consumption and climate change. Solar energy has obvious advantages compared to other energies in part to it having minimal environmental and ecological hazards associated with its production (Solangi, Islam, Saidur, Rahim, et al. 2011). Solar energy technologies have shown the highest growth in clean energy finance and investment, increasing 44 per cent to $128 billion in 2011 (The Pew Charitable Trusts 2012, p. 3). Recent price drops in solar module pric... ... middle of paper ... ...direct.com/science/article/pii/S1364032111000220 [Accessed May 19, 2012]. The Pew Charitable Trusts 2012. Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? Report 2011 Edition. Available at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/uploadedFiles/PEG/Publications/Report/FINAL_forweb_WhoIsWinningTheCleanEnergyRace-REPORT-2012.pdf [Accessed May 19, 2012]. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2008. Mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Available at: http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/items/1673.php [Accessed April 30, 2012]. Wright, J. 2009. The contribution of renewables in Australia’s future energy mix. Australian Academy of Science. Public Lecture Series: Australia’s Renewable Energy Future. Available at: http://science.org.au/events/publiclectures/re/wright.html [Accessed May 20, 2012].

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