We have a rare chance to make our electricity system fair again, but we need to act fast

(The Guardian, 8 Feb 2019) Waiting for coal power plants to naturally retire and be replaced with cleaner alternatives will take too long.

While some politicians pretend there is still a choice between dirty and clean energy, the reality is like the dinosaurs they are being left behind. Our choice is actually about how we will transition to clean energy.

We have already failed to stop climate change, we now need to manage the effects and prevent it from getting worse. The path we take to renewables could be slow, bumpy, costly and unjust. Or it could be a rare chance to make our electricity system fair again, but only if we act fast.

The inevitable transition

The good news is the transition to clean energy is now inevitable. It is happening and will continue and ultimately we will move to a system powered by renewable energy and storage.

This long-term trajectory is now locked-in because the economics of energy are such that it is now cheaper to build solar and wind, backed-up by batteries or pumped-hydro than to build a new coal, gas or nuclear power station. That means that when Australia’s 19 operating coal power stations close they will be replaced with clean energy solutions.

Because Australia has some of the best renewable resources in the world, forward looking business people such as Sanjeev Gupta are seeing the long-term economic opportunity of clean energy in Australia and are working to speed it up. And businesses aren’t the only ones – more than two million Australian households and businesses have installed rooftop solar and this trend is set to continue.

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The Guardian, 8 Feb 2019: We have a rare chance to make our electricity system fair again, but we need to act fast