Member for Giles Eddie Hughes made his maiden speech before state parliament recently in which he called for greater federal investment into developing renewable energy in South Australia.
During his parliamentary debut, Mr Hughes focussed on the role renewable energy and mining could have in creating employment and economic growth in the region.
“Below the ground we have mineral resources, but above the ground we have an energy source that dwarfs all other energy resources: the direct solar resource and indirect solar resource that is wind, can turn South Australia into a renewable energy power house and, in the process, give us a far greener mining industry while also greening all other sectors of our economy."Member for Giles Eddie Hughes
Mr Hughes said the electorate of Giles was already playing a role in wind energy production and noted Whyalla’s role in the manufacturing of wind tower parts by E & A Contractors.
However Mr Hughes said the city was also well-positioned to harness solar energy.
“What we are looking at now - and the process has started, but we have further to go - is developing and applying technology to capture the sun's energy,” Mr Hughes said.
Mr Hughes took the opportunity to voice his passions to see the region’s role in producing renewable energy further developed.
“Manufacturing communities like Whyalla could increase tower production,” Mr Hughes said.
“Hubs, nacelles and blades are all imported; with investor certainty, local manufacturing facilities could be developed.
“If we captured the wind resource on the Eyre Peninsula and captured the manufacturing opportunities, it would be a big boost to employment.
“Rounding the numbers off, the stage development of 2000 megawatts on the Eyre Peninsula would mean the fabrication of 800 towers, 800 hubs, 800 nacelles and 2400 blades in addition to a wide range of job-generating ancillary services.”
Mr Hughes called on the Abbott government to realise the future of renewable energy in Australia and back the research and development needed to shape the industry.
“Companies in the past have expressed their willingness to invest in Australian manufacturing, but each time that desire has been undermined at a federal level, initially when the Howard government failed to increase the two per cent mandatory renewable energy target, and now with the Abbott government's review headed up by a man who rejects the science behind global warming,” Mr Hughes said.
“A review held just 18 months after the last review found that the mandatory renewable energy target was working to deliver cost-effective clean energy.”
Mr Hughes said with the right support, South Australia could easily achieve outstanding renewable energy production results and be a model example of renewable energy supporting the mining industry.
“The target to reach 33 per cent of the state's electricity from renewables by 2020 is likely to be met within a year,” Mr Hughes said.
“Why not set a target to become the greenest mining province in the world, and why not marry our renewable energy resource to our mineral wealth, or at least announce the engagement so that down the track they can tie the knot?”Member for Giles Eddie Hughes