Keywords: solar energy, renewable energy, biomass, sustainability, photovoltaics
Can solar sources meet Australia's electricity and liquid fuel demand?
It is commonly assumed that because of its relatively high solar energy incidence Australia will be able to meet its energy demand from solar sources. However, an examination of evidence on existing and probable future efficiencies and costs indicates that it will not be possible to derive sufficient electricity or liquid fuels to sustain the present high per capita rates of consumption from solar sources at affordable prices. In view of the limitations and problems associated with fossil fuel and nuclear options, it is concluded that although there must be a transition to reliance on renewables, a sustainable future for Australia cannot be achieved without significant reduction in current material "living standards" and in gross economic activity. However, advocates of "The Simpler Way" argue that a radically alternative society based on frugal lifestyles and local economic self-sufficiency could provide a high quality of life.