Economy, democracy, climate

On the road to Paris

It’s Paris in the first week of December, and a much-anticipated new global agreement on emissions reductions targets is being negotiated by representatives of 195 countries, pursuant to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change. As co-chair of the Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance – a group of approximately 30 subnational climate leaders holding an associated meeting – the Premier is showcasing the record of our state. How will South Australia demonstrate progress? The state has legislated for a 60 percent emissions reduction of 1990 levels by 2050 (currently tracking at nine percent below 1990 levels) and has a target of 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2025. South Australia has also committed to making Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. Importantly, what is the depth of the policies, finance mechanisms and societal commitment behind the targets? Informed by discussion with industry leaders and researchers about pathways for economic diversi fication, the State Government has released a Low Carbon Investment Plan for consultation. is outlines how a $10 billion catalyst for low carbon energy generation and industry development can be best directed over the next 10 years. e exemplars below illustrate an economic metamorphosis already underway. Supported by CSIRO R&D, Heliostat SA manufactures a concentrated solar photovoltaic heliostat and photovoltaic tracking system as well as the new super cell CSP that is 100 time more powerful than conventional PV cells. The two-year-old company is in demand in India and the Asia Paci fic, with forecast sales totalling 3GW of 1MW-100MW renewable energy systems and growing. (By comparison Greater Adelaide would use a 1.5GW system). Heliostat SA – formed by May Brothers, Enersalt, UniSA and Precision Components – currently employs 124 FTEs. “Heliostat SA is anticipating this will progress to 1000 in two years’ time,” says CEO Jason May. There is currently a strong element of right time, right place in SA. The axiom that innovation is borne from adversity is a factor in the Heliostat story. May articulates, “If Holden were not scheduled to leave in 2017, the partners would not have formed Heliostat SA. Advanced manufacturer Precision Components is a tier 1 supplier and a previous Holden supplier of the year. Supported by the Federal Government automotive diversi fication program, we were able to utilise synergies between their work with automotive components and solar cells.” May has a vision for a solar industry hub “making SA the ‘Sun Valley’ of Australia where SA drives IP, manufacturing, distribution and service – the whole supply chain”. The sense of opportunity in restructuring the state’s economy to a low carbon powerhouse is palpable. May quotes enablers of innovation as appropriate policy settings, training programs, and introductions to CEOs and governments around the world via Austrade, the Australian High Commission and from SA, the Minister for Investment and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith. But another strong driver is the fact that the mainly family owned, Adelaide-based businesses are committed to remaining in Adelaide. OzRoll Industries have also diversified. Australia’s biggest supplier and exporter of insulated roller shutters have incorporated solar PV wholesaling, solar hot water manufacturing, heat re flective paints, renders and a battery energy storage system into their portfolio. OzRoll is another family-based manufacturer, employing 100 people at Dry Creek, with a desire to diversify the energy e fficiency based enterprise was put into action by Managing Director Ron Bayley and his team 13 years ago. To build on the state’s foundation of world leading renewables uptake and regional climate change adaptation planning, the Premier’s Climate Change Council is in the process of consulting on the update of the state’s climate change strategy and the legislation that outlines the state’s emissions reduction targets. In conjunction with the government’s climate change strategy engagement, the Conservation Council of SA is organising numerous community events and activities. This includes a Future Transport Expo, a satellite event to the World Solar Car Challenge to be held from October 21-25. With transport fuels responsible for 23 percent of the state’s carbon emission pro file, the event is designed to garner community interest in future transport options, where uptake is reliant on community buy in. With the benefit of industry leaders, researchers and the conservation sector working in unison with local and state governments and regions, SA can demonstrate that transitioning to a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive and sustainable economic model is not just possible, but is in progress. The current question is how should the state best continue the transition? This is something all South Australians can have a voice on, via a contribution to the workshops available in Greater Adelaide and regional centres, or via the blogs on the YourSAy website: The climate change strategy consultation process continues until Sunday, October 18.

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