A new report reiterates the finding that Australia can supply all of its energy needs from renewables. Due to declining costs of emissions free technologies like wind and solar Australia is well positioned to derive all of its energy from renewables by 2050 the report says.
This report corroborates other studies which indicate that Australia could supply all of its energy needs with renewables.
The new report produced by the WWF and the Australian National University (ANU) indicates that Australia can go entirely renewable without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth. To get there Australia will need, clear targets, stable national policy and regulatory efforts that support investment in renewables. The growth of renewables could be further stimulated if the government allowed the use of international permits.
The WWF/ANU report draws upon the existing body of existing research. The report draws its conclusions from the fact that renewable energy prices like wind and solar are declining faster than anticipated and previous reports have overestimated costs of carbon reduction efforts.
The report predicts that by 2040 Australia could see a cost-effective transition to a near-zero carbon system.
“With our abundant renewable resources we are one of the best placed countries in the world for moving to a fully renewable electricity supply,” the report’s author, Australian National University associate professor Frank Jotzo said. “Australia can achieve zero net emissions by harnessing energy efficiency, moving to a zero-carbon electricity system, switching from direct use of fossil fuels to decarbonised electricity, and improving industrial processes.”
Two years ago renewable energy was already cheaper than fossil fuels. This was the finding of a 2013 Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) study. Even without putting a price on carbon, wind energy was 14 percent cheaper than new coal and 18 percent cheaper than new gas.
“The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head.”
The 2013 BNEF analysis concluded that by 2020, large-scale solar PV will also be cheaper than coal and gas, when carbon prices are factored in. By 2030 renewable generating technologies such as solar thermal could also be cost-competitive.
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