MR Rudd: It's 21st century - we’re sizzling with solar and not cooking with gas

Sizzling solar

IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 03 July 2013, Zero Emissions Media Centre, Melbourne

"Cooking with gas". It’s not just ‘daggy dad’ as Rudd’s daughter put it or ‘creepy uncle' as the Newcastle Herald put it.  

“The real worry is whether Kevin Rudd is giving a wink wink and a nod to green light the big coal seam gas miners’ move into farming communities of rural and regional NSW and QLD," said Matthew Wright executive director of energy think-tank Zero Emissions.

 “According to a report by Worley Parsons which I commissioned in 2011, gas is dirtier than coal; so if we’re going to do something we must build solar and mine energy efficiency otherwise why bother?

“The world is moving to solar energy. Already Germany has enough panels to power 25% of Australia all year round. What’s more the northern European country is not even sunny and they’ve only just started installing panels. If we install solar here then we get a two for one offer, twice the bang for our buck, with twice the sunlight,” said Wright

“The cost of solar is falling and the cost of gas is going up, we need to move to the side of the equation that is getting cheaper and has improving economics over time.  A joy ride with 19th century fossil fuels will rout our industrial sector and plough through farming communities.

“Solar panels and their cousins Wind Power and Renewable Heat (reverse cycle air conditioners) can make a massive improvement in our energy supply and demand.  Freeing up valuable resources through energy efficiency will enable us to economically build a domestic electric car and train industry, making the transition truly affordable for all.

On Cooking…

“Over half of all cooktops in Germany are electric induction, even a higher proportion in China.  All those cooktops in Germany can be powered from the sun.  It’s healthier and safer in the house and it’s better for the environment to be able to use pollution free energy sources.

“What’s more gas is really very dirty.  To cook with gas, first you have to explore for and extract the resource, pipeline it, process it, store it and distribute it.  The result is that 4-15% of the fossil gas is lost in extraction in Coal Seam Gas fields and 6-12% is lost in distribution to our houses.  Those losses are particularly bad for the climate because methane causes 105 times the warming of CO2 (over 20 years) when compared to burning gas. 

“And at the stove top, if you or your family haven’t been burnt by leaving the gas on. or suffered the effects of carbon monoxide in the blood stream, then you can expect to be experiencing the other disadvantage that gas cookers only achieve 30% of the the fossil fuel being delivered as heat in your pot.”

“Mr Rudd, time to build on what the ACT has done by announcing a series of follow-ups to the 20MW solar facility in the ACT.  Time to announce an initial build of a 500MW of Solar Thermal with storage power plants that can operate baseload starting in Port Augusta, South Australia.

"For Australia to consider voting for him, Mr Rudd must confirm that he will back the solar industry and give short shrift to the gas industry and not the other way round.

Then all Australian’s can sizzle our skewers with solar!" said Wright

FOR COMMENT: Matthew Wright 0421 616 733 OR matthew@zeroemissions.org.au