Here at WWF we’ve heard just about every myth under the sun about renewable energy - from it costing the size of a small planet, to it only being useful at daytime. Next we’ll hear that too much wind energy will blow the planet out of orbit and solar will fry us all. Before we get to that stage let’s set the record straight. Here are some of the more common myths, with some cool-headed facts…
Myth: Only coal can provide 24 hour (baseload) power
Fact: Wind and hydro can operate all hours and most energy is used during the daytime.
Of course technologies like hydro, geothermal and wind across the country can run 24 hours, so it is plain wrong to say otherwise. Also, it just so happens that the peak period for energy use – hot days in the early afternoon when everyone turns on their air-con – is also the best time for energy production from solar. Perfect!
Myth: Wind & solar are an expensive way to make energy.
Fact: Rooftop solar & some wind energy can compete with dirty energy sources on price.
The 850,000 Australian households with solar PV have already worked out that solar is cost competitive and saves them money. By 2020, the cheapest source of energy flowing into the grid is likely to be on-shore wind.
Myth: High electricity bills are because of renewable subsidies.
Fact: The largest component of electricity price rises is network charges.
The biggest contributor to price hikes over the last five years is the increasing cost of “poles and wires”. And the main reason these need to be upgraded is to cope with “peak” power - those few hours a year when it gets super hot and everyone switches on air-con.
Myth: Jobs will suffer if Australia moves to renewables by 2030.
Fact: 35,000 new jobs could be created from renewables.
You could be one of the 35,000 people who get a new job in the Clean Economy and a minimum of $9 billion from the carbon price will help fund the transition to renewable energy.
Myth: Australia is a world leader in renewable energy.
Fact: Australia ranks 31st behind Paraguay (15), Mexico (17), Columbia (18), New Zealand (22) & Vietnam (24).
Sad but true…we aren’t winning the green revolution. We are lagging a long way behind, with much smaller and poorer countries showing us how it is done.
Myth: The carbon tax won’t help renewables.
Fact: The carbon price will make renewables cost competitive with fossil fuels.
Did you realise that at least $5 billion raised from the carbon price will be invested in renewable energy commercialisation like large scale solar. And the very nature of the carbon price – making polluting fossil fuels more expensive - will help renewable energy become more cost competitive sooner, a huge boost for future clean power and a healthier planet. Hooray!