"We were very excited about what they were doing and surprised at the lack of support they were getting in Australia."And so Australian solar expert David Mills, now resident in California, has clinched a multi-billion-dollar power supply deal with two major US utilities. Good on ya, mate!
And congratulations to Matt Peacock for writing this so bluntly:
The coal and nuclear industries have long asserted that baseload power cannot be supplied by renewable energy. That mantra is oft repeated by Australian politicians like federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.Exeunt yesterday's heroes, stage right...
"You cannot run a modern economy on wind farms and solar powers. It's a pity that you can't, but you can't," he said.
Prime Minister John Howard says solar is "a nice, easy soft answer".
"There's this vague idea in the community that solar doesn't cost anything and it can solve the problem," he said.
"It can't. It can't replace baseload power generation by power stations."
But baseload power supply is just what Ausra is now being contracted to supply for the insatiable US market.
This is actually a really exciting and inspiring story. When you think about it, our planet is awash in energy sources; it just so happened that the first engines of the industrial revolution were steam-driven, and burning carbon was the easiest way to get steam, and so today we have two Oil Men running the White House on behalf of their billionaire Big Oil backers. This solar solution uses the same steam-based turbine dynamics in a far more sustainable way.
"I was talking to a banker the other day and after a series of negotiations he looked at me straight and said, 'I wonder if we're too late,'" Dr Mills said.
"The time has gone for easy action. We waited too long, we've wasted 15 years but now we've got to really, really act quickly."