Australia May Be Powered by the Waves Around It and Hot Rocks Under It

Waves around Australia and hot rocks beneath it have the capacity to power Australia into a clean energy future and provide tens of thousands of new jobs, according to new reports from WWF. “What we are seeing here is the birth of new industries," said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.

Waves around Australia and hot rocks beneath it have the capacity to power Australia into a clean energy future and provide thousands of new jobs, according to two new reports from WWF.

Power to Change: Australia’s Wave Energy Future estimates the the wave energy industry will create 3,210 jobs by 2020, including jobs in local manufacturing and maintenance. By 2050 this figure is expected to grow to 14,380 jobs.

The report was prepared with the assistance of the Carnegie Corporation, whose CETO wave energy demonstration plant in Western Australia is regarded as a world leader in harnessing the oceans to provide clean, baseload renewable energy.

“Australia has the largest and most consistent wave energy resource globally and at least 35 per cent of our current baseload power needs could be generated from the Southern Ocean," said Carnegie Corporation Managing Director Dr Michael Ottaviano.

Meanwhile, Power to Change: Australia’s Geothermal Future, a report prepared in collaboration with the Australian Geothermal Energy Association (AGEA), predicted that more than 17,000 Australians could be employed in the geothermal energy industry by 2050.

“When it comes to geothermal energy, we truly are the lucky country,” said Paul Toni, WWF Program Leader for Sustainable Development. “The energy stored in hot rocks near the Earth’s surface in Australia is a thousand fold what we use each and ever year.”

A key advantage of geothermal energy in the shift to a low carbon economy is the ability to take up some fo the employment slack from declining fossil fuel industries.

“The geothermal energy industry provides opportunities for workers to move from industries like coal, oil and gas into clean energy jobs, as much of the technology and expertise is transferable from one to the other,” said Susan Jeanes, Chief Executive of AGEA

Both technologies are expecting a boost from Australia’s so far fitful moves to putting a price on carbon emissions. They would also benefit from a freeing up of the Renewable Energy Target scheme to embrace more technologies.

“Renewable technologies are the nuts and bolts of Australia’s clean energy future,” said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.

“What we are seeing here is the birth of new industries that will provide tens of thousands of jobs and a technology and expertise that we can export around the world, as well as renewable energy to power Australia.”

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