Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world – and we’re already charging ahead with our renewable-powered future.
Renewable energy has been growing rapidly in Australia. Around a third of Australia’s energy is already provided from renewable sources and large-scale solar generation has had a growth rate of over 1,747% between 2016 – 2021.
In the last decade, as clean energy technology has evolved, Australian renewables are now powering industrial manufacturing plants in the Hunter, Melbourne Airport, all of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania, as well as thousands of homes and buildings all around the country.
Australian renewables are creating tens of thousands of future-proofed jobs while creating a zero-carbon, affordable energy system. In 2019, there were around 27,000 full-time jobs in domestic renewable energy and by 2025, that’s expected to be at least 44,000 jobs.
But we’re still only using just 0.1% of our solar potential. If we keep tapping into the power of Australia’s sun and wind, we can power everything in Australia with clean renewable energy and sell our leftover energy to the rest of the world as they rapidly transition to net-zero economies, creating more jobs and generating billions for Australia’s economy.
Here are some examples of how renewable energy is powering Australian communities:
The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre has 300 k/w of solar panels helping to power their indoor pools. Photo: ACF
We're on track to unlock tens of thousands of future-proofed jobs while creating a zero-carbon energy system.
Construction of clean energy projects, like wind and solar farms, will provide significant local employment and power our towns and cities — while doing the right thing for climate and nature.
Take Warwick Solar Farm in Queensland. A small-scale farm built by the University of Queensland to offset their energy use, the output is still enough to power around 27,000 households in regional Queensland, and the local community has benefited.
“There were over 100 people working on the solar farm here during the construction phase. We also employ contract workers such as cleaners, electricians, earthmoving and civil operators,” says Don Drane, who manages the solar farm.
Don Drane at Warwick Solar Farm. Photo: ACF
“We make plenty of energy for our communities. And jobs too. We’ve proven we can — so let’s do it all over Queensland.”
"Renewables are the future ... there is consistent work there.”
Caloundra woman Donna-Lea Krause also sees renewable energy as an opportunity, both for herself and for the next generation of workers.
“For the last three years, I've been working on solar farms in Queensland. I went in as a labourer and worked my way up to logistics. There are so many different jobs ... so I try to learn as much as I can.”
Now, she’s started her own business to help young people enter the renewable workforce.
“I encourage young people to come on board and help them build confidence in themselves to create their own pathway [in renewables].”
Donna-Lea Krause (right) in Caloundra (Kabi Kabi Country). Photo: Nikki Michail
“I'd like to see our government encourage more Australian businesses to come together and be able to build these [solar] farms. Especially now with the global crisis. Renewables are the future ... there is consistent work there.”
Even those who’ve worked in the fossil-fuel industry will tell you there’s a much brighter future in renewable energy. Ex-coal fired power station worker and electrician, David Marshall, is one of many who have jumped the fence to the other side.
“I worked in coal-fired power stations for 20 years. Coal and fossil fuels have served us well, for many years, for decades. But now coal doesn’t guarantee jobs. Renewable energy technology does," says David.
David Marshall at old Wangi Wangi Power Station. Photo: Andy Jones
“Renewable energies utilise the power of nature, sun, wind, tidal and geothermal. These technologies have minimal harm for the environment. The technologies are all being developed as we speak. We just need to embrace them.”
Communities are keen to get behind renewables too. Like Yambuk — a small town in Victoria with a big renewable heart as one of the first places to get wind turbines in Victoria.
“I’m proud to say these wind turbines were built in our community. It’s a great feeling we’re able to contribute,” says local Anthony Leddin who runs the solar-powered community hall.
Anthony Leddin in Yambuk. Photo: David Goodman
“I’ve got two young kids — they’re the ones that are going to have to grow up in a changing climate. At least we can make some change so they’ll look back at what we did when they’re older and say thanks for doing those things for us.”
“[Renewables] will create thousands and thousands of jobs,” says Gladstone local Hugh Bridge. “That’s why we need a real plan."
Hugh Bridge in Gladstone. Photo: Juanita Wilson/MAPgroup
“These politicians who say we can’t go 100 per cent renewable energy because it would mean massive job losses don’t seem to get it. It doesn’t mean we close all the coal power stations down overnight.”
Australia’s coal and gas is our biggest contribution to climate change – no matter where they’re burned. Fossil fuels are driving the climate impacts we’re already seeing – like extreme floods, fires, heatwaves and droughts. That’s why we need to transition quickly to 100% clean renewable energy.
Coal and gas still receive billions of dollars in publicly-funded subsidies – it’s delaying the shift to renewables and exacerbating climate impacts. We’re calling on the Albanese Labor Government to stop spending public money on the fossil fuel industry – including no new coal and gas projects and infrastructure, and to replace our fossil fuel exports with renewable-powered exports industry.