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Renewable energy policy and practice in Western Australia

Thomas, C. and Harries, D. (2007) Renewable energy policy and practice in Western Australia. In: Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development in the Asia Pacific Region Conference, 4-8 February 2007, Fremantle, Western Australia pp. 119-141.

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Renewable energy is commonly seen as an essential strategy for sustainability. Many governments, however, have sustainable energy or sustainability strategies that place little emphasis on renewable energy. One reason is that despite acceptance of the concept of sustainable development as a concept, the reality is that economic growth remains the dominant policy objective of most governments and sustainability and sustainable development are such ill‐defined concepts that lack of precise definition often confuses the debate. Climate change, however, is one issue for which the meaning over what is sustainable and what is unstainable has become clearer and the need to balance economic growth with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions has become urgent. The question of by when, by what means, by how much and by whom GHG emissions need to be reduced are now the critical questions. The question of the extent to which renewable energy is essential to the goal of reducing emissions therefore has become more pressing. Some governments continue to see renewable energy as an expensive and unnecessary option and that other, lower cost options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector exist. Western Australia makes an interesting case study as the State is experiencing rapid economic growth supported by rapidly increasing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Policies to date have focused on the fact that the state relies heavily on natural gas rather than coal and encourages the efficient use of energy. Western Australia's energy situation and greenhouse gas emissions strategies are reviewed in order to assess the extent to which this greenhouse gas reduction policy that has to date placed a relatively low emphasis on renewable energy is likely to be successful.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
Copyright: © 2007 American Institute of Physics
Notes: Appears in AIP Conference Proceedings Volume 941, 2007, pp 119-141
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