TUESDAY 09 APRIL, 2013 |
Carbon Budgets And Renewable Energy
While we may be patting ourselves on the back for reaching one million solar
power systems installed throughout Australia; much more needs to be done to rein
in burgeoning carbon emissions.
According to The Climate Institute, Australia must use a long-term carbon budget
approach in order to properly pitch in towards fighting the climate change
At this point, it appears we still have our heads firmly in the sand on the
issue. While solar
uptake in Australia
has been remarkable, a paper just released by The
states if the average Australian consumes the same as the
average person in other advanced economies, then over the next four decades, we
can only release 8 billion tonnes carbon pollution.
However, at current emission levels this budget would be consumed in around 15
A major contributing factor eating into our "carbon budget" is
electricity generation - but it doesn't have to be that way. A recent University
of NSW study shows a carbon price of between $50 and $100 per tonne would make coal-fired and gas-fired
electricity generation less economical than renewable electricity.
But what about reliability of supply?
"There is no need for any inflexible base-load power stations," says Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf, of the Institute of Environmental Studies at
UNSW and lead author of the study. "We can balance fluctuating renewable
energy sources with flexible power stations, such as hydro, gas turbines and
concentrated solar thermal power with thermal storage."
Under a minimum 2030 cost scenario, a large contribution would come from wind
power - 46 to 59 per cent of annual electricity generation. Solar photovoltaic, and concentrated solar thermal electricity with thermal
storage would contribute 15 to 20 percent each, with existing hydro and gas turbines burning biofuels
filling in the gaps.
The results of the UNSW peer-reviewed
are to be published in the journal Energy Policy.
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