How WA can help Australia become an energy superpower

October 31, 2017

Professor Ross Garnaut

Leading economist: Professor Ross Garnaut is the chair of the Australian-German Energy Transition Research Hub

One of Australia’s most eminent economists will discuss Western Australia’s future in a low-carbon world economy at Murdoch University later this week.

Professor Ross Garnaut, who advised all Commonwealth State and Territory Governments in Australia on climate change policy from 2007 to 2011, will present a public lecture at 11am on Friday 3 November.

Entitled Australia as a superpower of the Low Carbon World Economy: A Western Australian Perspective after Finkel and Frydenberg, Professor Garnaut will discuss the opportunities for Australia in the light of the Finkel Report and the Commonwealth Government’s response to it.

“Australia has the potential to become an energy superpower in the low carbon world economy, but it needs to shake off the shackles of those with ideological or vested interest in the old ways of supplying energy,” Professor Garnaut said.

“Western Australia can benefit from its own vast and diverse renewable energy, mineral, land and marine resources and play a vital role contributing to the national and global transition to a zero carbon energy future.

“Its policy independence from the National Energy Market allows it to avoid legacy problems of high costs and unreliability in other states.

“Policies at state level elsewhere are presently driving much of the development in Australia.”

In his presentation, Professor Garnaut will explain how a new Australian-German Energy Transition Research Hub, of which he is chair, can help to guide the WA government and industry to take advantage of opportunities in the low carbon economy.

“Murdoch University researchers are establishing a WA node which will aim to bring value to the WA state government and industry by applying the overall findings of the Hub to this state,” he said.

“The WA node would also work on its own specific projects to study issues including the technical challenges of energy transition, and the capacity of renewable energy to be used in industrial processes.”

Born in Perth, Professor Garnaut’s career has included working on economic policy in Papua New Guinea and three years as ambassador to China. He was also an economic advisor to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Professor Garnaut began working with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a decade ago and the resulting ground-breaking report on the economic impact of climate change was crucial in national policy development over the next several years.

He has chaired boards of major companies since 1988, including the Bank of Western Australia (1988 – 95) and many Australian and international research organisations. He was also Chairman of the International Food Policy Institute from 2006 to 2010.

He is now Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne and the chairman of clean tech company ZEN Energy, based in Adelaide.

The public lecture will take place in the ECL 1 lecture theatre and free parking will be available in car parks seven and eight on campus.

To attend, RSVP by Thursday 2 November, via the event website.

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