The Climate Council’s latest report, The Australian Renewable Energy Race: Which States Are Winning Or Losing? hit me as a flash of the blindingly obvious. Of course! We’ve been doing this renewable energy thing all wrong. It is about winners and losers, and what better way to acknowledge that than by turning renewable energy into a sport.

We’re Aussies. We love sport, and more than that, we love it when our team wins. But here’s my state, Victoria, lumped in with New South Wales in the loser category (the report uses the word ‘laggard’, but we know what they mean). We were once leaders, winners, I mean, but since 2001 South Australia has installed nearly four times as much renewable energy capacity per person than Victoria. Oh the shame.

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What we need is an Australian Renewable Energy League, complete with television rights and sponsorships. Doping (of silicon) will be allowed, and as the national league this competition will be slugged out with large, multi-megawatt renewable energy projects. Admittedly, it might not make for riveting television but, let’s be honest, neither does test cricket.

A good contest doesn’t need to involve conventional sports, of course. Maybe we should be thinking more The Block, Master Chef or The Biggest Loser. How about The Biggest Winner or My Rooftop Rules? Instead of kilograms lost and deconstructed pavlovas we’ll have everyone discussing kilowatts gained and the relative merits of mono and poly crystalline panels.

But this is thinking way too small. We need a world renewable energy competition. Why? Because we can win. Our cricket team has been a little lacklustre of late, our Olympic performances have been a bit patchy, we haven’t dominated world tennis for ages, and yet another foreign horse just walked off with the Melbourne Cup. But with our huge solar resource, long breezy coastline, hot rocks and big waves we could be pumping out over 86,000 TWh per year from renewables. That’s more than 400 times the amount that presently flows through the National Electricity Market. In a Renewable Energy World Cup Germany doesn’t stand a chance against us.


Germany was the early leader in renewable energy, but with the right competitive environment we can leapfrog them. | Image: Rainer Lippert via Wikipedia

Sport is our national religion. Politicians of all persuasions love to bask in the reflected glory of our sporting heroes. Rather than trying to cut the Renewable Energy Target, even climate sceptics with any sense of national pride will be demanding that we increase it to 100 or 200 or 500%! And without diminishing the value of sport or TV programs like The Bachelor in any way, the rapid transition to renewable energy is arguably of far greater importance.

So how about it, sports promoters and TV producers? The field is wide open. First out of the starting blocks is a winner.

Main image: Tom Reynolds via Wikipedia