Of the $410 million distributed from the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund (LETDF) thus far, $335 million has gone to the fossil fuel industry. No surprises there. As The Age reported on Tuesday, the majority of panel members have strong links to the fossil fuel industry. So here a a few ideas about how $335 million could be spent on renewables, water, or low-emission technologies that would benefit Australia today.

  • $335m would buy 191 wind generators, which would power 152,800 homes and reduce greenhouse emissions by 2,139,000 tonnes per year.
  • $335m would buy 9128 new Toyota Prius’ to replace the fossil fuel burning limos used by federal politicians.
  • Biofuels create 60-95% less CO2 than fossil fuel based petrol products. $335m in subsidies for biofuels would both reduce Australia’s reliance on imported fuel products and, for every litre burned, cut the CO2 emissions for a standard Australia car from 2.4kg per litre to around 0.5kg per litre.
  • Origin Energy and the ANU are researching sliver cell solar technology, which is aimed at vastly improving the amount of energy harvested from solar panels. The government has thus far invested only a few million dollars in Origin’s research.
  • $335m will buy 3.37 million compact fluorescent light bulbs. Lighting comprises around 10% of annual energy use in the home. Depending on the wattage and other variables, fluorescent bulbs could cut that figure to about 2%.
  • $335m will buy 101,151,152 flow restrictors from your local plumbing hardware store. Each restrictor could save up to 180,000 litres of water per year.
  • The Australian Greenhouse Office estimates that a laptop used up to five hours a day creates around 40kgs of greenhouse gases each year. A desktop around 200-400kgs for the same type of use. $335m in subsidies to purchasers of laptops would encourage more efficient energy use in the home/office/internet café/etc.