Blackouts, buck-passing and rising demand for energy

February 17, 2004

Friends of the Earth notes with interest that the Queensland government has been severely criticised for its lack of intervention in what appears to be an impeding energy crisis. Queensland is highly dependent on one fuel source, coal, which ensures chaos when electricity systems are not maintained. However a more pressing issue is whether the environment is sustained in the quest for energy security.

This is a critical opportunity for the Queensland government to address rising demand for electricity in the ‘Sunshine State’ and diversify our energy mix. Burning more coal to power air conditioners in out-dated hot-boxes in South East Queensland during the heat of summer is a foolish response to climate change. Coal-fuelled climate change will make our summers hotter and our storms more intense.

The planned 13% gas scheme which will commence next January shows some understanding of greenhouse impacts and the value in diversifying our energy sources. Yet however there will be no net reduction in greenhouse gases once the projected demand for energy is taken into consideration.

“The 13% gas scheme will only deliver less that half the projected increase of 192 petajoules in electricity demand by 2020.” Stated Climate Justice Campaigner, Stephanie Long. “What we desperately need in Queensland is an efficient energy system with high contribution from renewable energy sources. Current energy planning is not anywhere near this point and we are without any means of tapering-off energy demand.”

The Queensland government should focus attention on reducing demand for electricity and mandating 10% of our energy to be generated by renewable sources by 2010. At a minimum mandatory solar hot water systems should be included in the building code to reduce the demand for coal-fired electricity in the residential sector.

“Building more power stations and switching to underground cables will not address the energy problem we are facing. “ said Ms Long.

For comment:

Stephanie Long 0414 136 461