This morning our Energy [R]evolution Tour blew a tenacious myth right out of the water with a report showing that the Hunter Valley would have a jobs boom if renewables replaced coal-fired power. The Hunter Valley is home to the world’s largest coal port and a hub of coal-fired power generation for the whole of NSW. Despite the coal industry being a major employer in the region, four to eleven thousand extra jobs would be created by a transition to renewables.

The “jobs vs. the environment” refrain is most commonly employed by politicians and the coal industry to close debate on the potential of renewables. It very effectively pits “the climate” against Australian working families, and justifies a business-as-usual approach by government. It’s also as false as the hope of clean coal.

Our new report begs the question: if renewables are ready to roll out now; if they’re known to be safe, reliable and affordable; AND they create Australian jobs, well… what’s the hitch? Could it simply be a lack of political will?

We can’t continue to rely on coal for our future energy needs, but the good news is the solution is at hand. For this reason the next port of call for the Esperanza is Newcastle, in the middle of the Hunter Valley, where from the very ‘coalface’ we’ll be calling on Kevin Rudd to support workers in the transition to thriving new “green” industries.

Stay tuned! And see a copy of the report here