Small business missing out on renewable energy

Published 20 August 2008

A Southern Cross University academic has highlighted that Australia is about to commence a boom in renewable energy opportunities.

Adjunct Professor Michael Christie, from the Graduate Research College, said renewable energy was going to become one of Australia’s boom industries over the next 10 years.

Currently small businesses are missing out on being participants in this boom, he said.

“Australian governments provide assistance for households and community groups to participate in renewable energy. But at the same time, each year approximately $10 billion of government subsidies are paid for fossil fuels including to electric power generators,” Professor Christie said.

Professor Christie is critical of the subsidies for big energy generators that are unnaturally supporting the market for electricity, adding to climate change and not allowing for the development of an integrated solution to the climate crisis or to our energy security.

“Australian small business owners total over 95 percent of business and are currently unable to access the renewable energy schemes that are available to householders and community groups,” he said.

“Small business is an untapped potential for the Australian renewable energy industry. The premises of small business can have large roof spaces and there are farming properties where economies of scale for renewable energy technology can be achieved.”

Professor Christie said mobilising small business owners as renewable energy participants would be highly effective, efficient and achieve unprecedented economies of scale for Australia.

“The uptake of renewable energy technology by small business can be achieved rapidly provided the right incentives are provided by the government,” he said. “Australia would see the rapid development of local manufacturing, the provision of more jobs and have greater investment potential.

“The solution for our over-dependence on fossil fuels and to alleviate climate change is small business taking up renewable energy.”

Photo: Professor Michael Christie predicts renewable energy is set to become a boom industry.

Media contact: Zoe Satherley Southern Cross University media officer, 6620 3144, 0439 132 095.