About 650 people packed into a Melbourne university lecture theatre to see the launch of the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan on July 14.
Held jointly between Beyond Zero Emissions and the Melbourne University Energy Institute, the event heard from a number of speakers about how renewable energy could power Australia.
Matthew Wright, executive director of BZE, explained that the cornerstone of the plan was concentrating solar thermal power. He also released new figures that showed the likely total increase in electricity prices created by the plan would be only 6.5c/kWh by 2020. This amounts to only $8 per household per week over the next 10 years.
Other speakers included Keith Lovegrove, Solar Thermal Group leader at ANU, Lane Crockett, general manager at Pacific Hydro, and John Daley from the Grattan Institute. In discussion they were joined by author Peter Selligman, Andy Dyer, CEO of Brightsource Australia, and Allan Atchison, Australian representative of ACS Cobra.
Daley said that this plan could only be implemented with serious commitment and foresight on the part of the government. He said a high carbon price, above $80 per tonne of CO2, should be implemented to enable the rapid transition.
Atchison said he preferred a feed-in tariff, as this had been the effective mechanism in Europe to drive investment in solar thermal.
Dyer also didn't think a carbon price was the only option, favouring direct government investment.