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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Renewables Can Insulate Australia from Geopolitical Instability

Current events in the Middle East, particularly the invasion of Israel and murders and kidnappings by Hamas terrorists and Israel's subsequent declaration of war, are a reminder once again of the inherent risks associated with Australia's reliance on oil imports. Oil prices have already spiked by 4% and this will flow on rapidly as petrol, transport and food prices increase. It is a reminder that Australia needs to accelerate its transition to renewable energy to insulate itself from energy price hikes linked to instability in the Middle East.

Australia is blessed with abundant natural resources, including sunlight, wind, and geothermal energy. We don't need to be dependent on oil and other fossil fuels. Renewable energy offers several compelling advantages beyond a safe climate. In particular, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil imports, which are regularly affected by geopolitical conflicts thousands of kilometres away. Renewable energy can buffer the Australian economy from the immediate impacts of international oil price spikes.

Investing in renewable technologies also creates jobs and stimulates economic growth. Transitioning to renewables fosters innovation and stimulates development of a robust green energy sector. This can can also serve as a pillar of our economy as global conditions deteriorate. And of course, a shift towards sustainability also aligns with Australia's interests in being a responsible global citizen committed to reducing carbon emissions.

Another standout aspect of renewable energy, however, is its inherent resilience. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal are not subject to the same supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations associated with global conflicts. This resilience is crucial in an era where geopolitical tensions and conflicts are frequent and escalate rapidly with little or no warning, sending shockwaves through energy markets and ultimately effecting Australians' hip pockets.

Australia has already made significant strides in renewable energy, but there is still much work to be done. We need to increase the scale and pace of our transition. This will strengthen our energy resilience further. It is clearly a national interest issue.

Energy storage technologies, such as advanced battery systems, can complement our renewable energy generation capabilities. They can allow us to store excess energy during periods of high renewable generation and release it when demand is high. Increasing take up of EVs with bidirectional charging can also play an important role. EVs can operate as mobile batteries buying and selling power to the grid and thus helping to iron out its peaks and troughs. Decentralised renewable energy solutions like these can create more resilient and adaptive energy infrastructure for Australia.

To expedite the transition, it's crucial for the Australian government to provide consistent policy support and incentives for renewable energy development. That means, among other things, ceasing the massive subsidies it provides to the fossil fuel industry. Can you imagine what $11 billion per annum could be spent on elsewhere?! And it means increasing fuel efficiency standards so that EVs are incentivised and can become a mobile and decentralised battery system that Australia needs.

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