When it comes to renewable energy, there’s no denying it that Australia has the advantage. Our stance in the field has us positioned as a forerunner, but is it possible that we could become a global clean energy superpower?
The chances are not slim – we have the output and the commitments to make it happen, but we’d need to see a reindustrialisation first.
Smart Energy Council speaks of 500% renewable opportunity
John Grimes, CEO of Smart Energy Council (SEC) recently hosted a webinar alongside Bronze Boar CEO Oliver Yates.
Yates has been known for his belief in 500% renewables for Australia, claiming it is achievable. Now, others are standing by his side to reinforce that the country does have an opportunity lying in its wake.
For a lot of people – inside and outside of the industry – reaching even 100% renewables is somewhat a “dream”, rather than an inevitable reality. But in this recent webinar, Grimes reminds us that this notion is an outdated thought lingering from historical ideals. What Australia currently has by its side is the resources, capacity and technology to leave this myth in the past.
The myth still remains that renewables are not a stable and sufficient source of energy, with an expense that’s too great to be sustainable. Grimes notes that these thoughts haven’t kept up with the evolution of technology in the industry, or the economics involved.
Grimes noted that his trip to ITP Renewables to witness their openCEM proved that 100% renewables can be produced by the year 2050, despite federal-level inaction from the government.
openCEM also predicts that Australia can reach this target with 99.98% availability – the same as our current grid. This would happen using hydro, solar thermal, battery storage and other technologies. Beyond this, the price would be significantly cheaper per megawatt – approximately sitting at $13 cheaper per hour than what consumers pay now.
“Not only do we have the technology,” said Grimes, “but we can actually deliver sustainable, reliable energy cheaper.”
The fine print
The thing to note about this prediction is that it only examines stationary energy nationally. The actual situation is likely to be much more expensive and would require electrification of other industries, as well as manufacturing. Essentially, it would need to revamp the entire energy exports system and the sectors around it.
But despite this, claiming 500% renewables by 2050 is still not an unachievable objective. In the past, renewables have been doubted several times, only to prove naysayers wrong.
Yates notes that the nation has a huge opportunity now to reindustrialise using these renewable sources, and with the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy, this evolution is already underway. For example, if Australia is to export a huge one million tonnes of hydrogen every year, it will need to build 23GW of new capacity.
The argument around whether hydrogen is a sustainable export opportunity still remains, but the open doors now sit with Australia to better understand exactly what course the sector is on for hydrogen overall.