Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 977 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
most about this building, and I see its application as applicable to other areas in Canberra, is that all the equipment used, all the technology, was bought off the shelf. None of it is whiz-bang stuff; it is all available to us today. If we in Canberra dream, if we imagine, if we reach out, we can do it.
Alternative energy technologies are already at hand that can satisfy thermal, power and load reduction needs for a wide range of residential, commercial, institutional, small industry, tourist and transportation needs. Renewable energy technologies include biomass, microhydro, minihydro, photovoltaic, small geothermal, solar thermal and wind energy systems. Let me mention, for a start, wind power as an alternative energy source. We are already experimenting with its possibilities at a number of sites in Australia. The majestic turbines at Crookwell and near Bathurst are an inspiration. I would like to see the ACT added to the growing list, if possible.
Wind is a significant and valuable renewable energy source. It is safe and abundant and can make an important contribution to a future of clean, sustainable and diversified electrical supplies. Unlike other energy sources, it does not pollute the atmosphere and it does not create any hazardous wastes or residues. Wind power is already science fact, not science fiction, and its use is growing rapidly. Let me demonstrate.
Europe is at the forefront. Last year, a further 4,500 megawatts of wind power were added to the electricity grid, bringing the total number of megawatts produced in Europe to 17,000, which is roughly equivalent to the energy requirements of 10 million average European households. Had that amount of electricity been produced from coal-fired plants, it would have required the burning of 16 million tonnes of coal-160,000 train loads or 640,000 truck loads of coal. Most importantly, the electricity produced from the 17,000 megawatts of installed capacity in Europe will prevent the emission of 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Great strides are being made in the United States, where big electrical companies have become involved, and the Third World from India to Morocco is now turning wind power into a viable energy resource. A Danish report quite plausibly predicts a tripling of the global wind power capacity in the next few years and it is by far the fastest growing energy source. Already there are forecasts that wind will overtake gas in Europe as an energy source and will replace coal-fired plants in China and India, which will be only to the benefit of all mankind.
The industry itself is clear about what is required-political support. That is where we come in. Whilst power generation from wind remains relatively expensive at this stage, it is largely a matter of scale. Sweden's energy agency has predicted that wind power prices will be almost halved by the end of the decade at the current rate of investment. A long-term study by the British government's performance and innovation unit has predicted that power generated from onshore wind power stations in the UK will undercut fossil and nuclear sources within 20 years. The unit has estimated that as much as 30 per cent of the UK's electricity will be generated from wind by 2020.
The previous Humphries Liberal government took a positive step in investigating and recommending minihydro plants for the Corin and Cotter dams. I would like to see this local application further explored. Solar energy is already advanced and many Canberra households take advantage of it. However, when I was consulting with the conservation