Speech - Newcastle CSIRO Solar Energy Breakthrough

06 April 2014

House of Representatives 4 June 2014I rise today to congratulate the team of scientists at the Newcastle CSIRO Energy Centre who this week announced a globally significant breakthrough in solar energy generation. Project-lead Robbie McNaughton and his team have, for the first time, used solar energy to generate the hottest supercritical steam ever achieved outside of fossil fuel sources. This breakthrough has been described as the equivalent of breaking the sound barrier and confirms the potential of solar energy to be used to drive power station turbines now fuelled by coal or gas. This advance is a game-changer in energy generation and demonstrates the potential for power plants of the future to use the free, zero-emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result as fossil fuels. The $9.7M research program has been supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). This development is a clear reminder of the expertise of Australian scientists and the potential for Australia to be a leader in renewable energy. Under this science denying Government, who have elected to scrap ARENA and hundreds of jobs at the CSIRO, the potential for future breakthroughs such as this look much less likely. I call on the Abbott Liberal Government to start making some smart decisions for our planets future. Appointing a Science Minister to guide our research, keeping university affordable for scientists, supporting renewables and getting a real plan for climate change would be a good start. Watch Sharon's speech here