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Education and market development for renewable energy

Jennings, P.J. (1997) Education and market development for renewable energy. In: Proceedings of the Solar World Congress, 24 - 29 August, Taejon, South Korea pp. 704-706.

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Renewable energy technology is developing rapidly but there are still substantial social, economic and political barriers which are impeding its wider use. One of these is the perception that it is too expensive, and another is that it is unreliable. Other obstacles include vested interests of fossil fuel producers and traditional practices which favour the use of fossil fuels.

The market for renewable energy systems is potentially enormous but it will not develop fully unless prejudice and ignorance about the technology are overcome. Education is a powerful agent of social change and it can contribute substantially to the development of the renewable energy industry. However this will require a substantial investment by companies and Governments in education programs aimed at developing the market and producing the expertise to deliver and maintain high quality renewable energy systems. Flexible, multilevel educational courseware is needed to train energy professionals and to raise consumer awareness.

The Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) has recently been established to help develop an internationally competitive Australian renewable energy industry. Part of its task involves the development of educational programs for training engineers, scientists and policy makers in renewable energy technology. It also aims to stimulate demand through the provision of information to schools and the general community. This paper describes the approach, objectives and anticipated outcomes of ACRE's Education Program.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
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