Western Australia’s Greens say its Energy 2029 study offers credible scenarios for meeting the state’s south-west grid electricity demand through clean technologies and energy efficiency strategies that already exist.
The solar based scenario focuses on large-scale solar thermal facilities that provide the majority of dispatchable electricity, with balance of demand supplied by large-scale wind farms, solar power systems and a smaller number of biomass, wave and geothermal generators.
In the event of a number of cloudy days and calm conditions, backup electricity would be provided by biomass ‘co-firing’ at the solar plants, pumped hydro storage and a small number of mid-tier biomass plants.
The Greens say the overall cost of a planned transition to renewable energy is similar to the cost of continuing with a ‘business as usual’ approach as while the initial costs are higher for renewables, they become more competitive over time as future fuel costs are non-existent, except for the biomass backup.
“The debacle of the refurbishment of the obsolete Muja coal-fired power station demonstrates the underlying cost of business as usual, with Western Australians asked to spend a quarter of a billion dollars to upgrade a highly polluting coal fired power station,” states the study summary.
“… the only barrier to a massive increase in clean energy here in Western Australia, is political inertia.”
The Energy 2029 initiative has been led by Senator Scott Ludlam.
“This study is a project that we should not have had to undertake,” he states in the executive summary. “Perhaps people who come across this document deeper into the age of climate change will shake their heads at the degree to which we have to contend with the monetary costs of the transition.”
With regard to nuclear options, “There is no place in this study for the obsolete failures of the nuclear industry.”
The full Energy 2029 report can be viewed here (PDF).