Australia’s potential to become fully renewable by 2040

A recent report released by Australian Energy Market Operator notes that Australia could well and truly be 100 per cent fuelled by renewables if progress remains on par with current developments, or above.

If this were to happen, we’d likely see the country introduce renewables to power homes and businesses entirely, with 2035 benchmarks seeing 90 per cent of power sources originating from renewables.

Image from – https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/files/major-publications/isp/2020/2020-isp-infographic.pdf?la=en

AEMO also says gas could play a more significant part in our move towards renewables, but only if prices remain consistently low. On a federal level, the government is supporting advances towards new generation but remains in favour of gas as well.

 

What’s the forecast?

 AEMO released an outlook that spans across two decades, focusing specifically on how Australia can create cheap and reliable electricity.

Within this report, AEMO highlights that two-thirds of coal-fired generation will be phased out by 2040, giving way to a 200 per cent rise in household solar and battery storage installations. This would mean more reliance on grid-scale wind and solar, in combination with pumped hydro.

If all remains on target for these accomplishments, the AEMO suggests that a saving of $11 billion in net market opportunities would be possible across the next two decades.

If gas remains between $4 and $6 per gigajoule, it can also play a more substantial role.

 

What is the purpose of the AEMO plan?

Known as the Integrated Systems Plan (ISP), the report highlights ways Australia can make strategic investments across transmission infrastructure, as well as renewable energy zones, cost-efficient resourcing and sourcing, to better our generation.

In the report, the AEMO defines the outlook as “modelling [that] confirms that the least-cost and least-regret transition … is from a system dominated by centralised coal-fired generation to a highly diverse portfolio.”

Over the next 20 years, AEMO is predicting that two-thirds of coal-fired generation will be eliminated, as Australia looks to create a more sustainable, opportunity-rich commitment to energy.

“This forecast supports the case, being made by ACF and many others, for a clean economic recovery rather than backing the jobs-poor and polluting energy sources of the past,” said Gavan McFadzean, the ACF climate and energy manager.

It is also hoped that the report will persuade the Federal Government to rethink its stance of gas investment. Elizabeth Sullivan from Greenpeace Australia says the harmful source needs to be reconsidered.

“Gas is a polluting fossil fuel responsible for driving climate change,” Sullivan said. “Further investment in gas only serves to lock in greenhouse gas emissions, increasing extreme weather events like this past bushfire season.”

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 References:

 https://www.acf.org.au/energy_market_operator_confirms_demise_of_coal_and_no_need_for_more_gas

https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/files/major-publications/isp/2020/2020-isp-infographic.pdf?la=en

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-30/australian-energy-market-operator-report-renewables-power/12507384