12th February 2019
Australia on track to reach climate targets by 2025
Research by the Australian National University (ANU) shows that Australia is now installing more renewable power per person each year than any other country – putting it on course to meet its entire Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets five years early.
Based on preliminary data available for installations worldwide last year, Australia was installing renewable power per capita several times faster than the European Union, Japan, China and the United States.
"The installation of renewables in Australia last year really ramped up compared to these other major economies, and we expect that trend to continue this year and beyond," said Professor Blakers from the ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering (RSEEME). "The electricity sector is on track to deliver Australia's entire Paris emissions reduction targets five years early, in 2025 – without the need for any creative accounting."
Australia will reach 50% renewable electricity by 2024 and 100% by the early 2030s, according to Blakers. The net cost of achieving the 2030 emission targets set in the Paris Agreement will be zero, because expensive fossil fuels are being replaced by cheaper renewables.
"The price of electricity from large-scale solar PV and windfarms in Australia is currently about $50 per Megawatt-hour (MWh), and steadily falling," explains co-researcher, Dr Matthew Stocks. "This is below the cost of electricity from existing gas-fired power stations and is also below the cost of new-build gas and coal power stations. Nearly all of the new power stations are either PV or wind. We anticipate that this will continue into the future – provided that energy policy is not actively hindering development."
Establishing a 100% renewable electricity grid is possible with technology already widely used in Australia, in addition to new smart energy systems that are being developed for electricity grids, according to co-researcher Bin Lu.
"We can do this with energy storage, demand management and strong interstate connection using high-voltage transmission lines to smooth out the effect of local weather," said Mr Lu.
"By far the leading storage technologies are pumped hydro and batteries. Australia's coal power stations are old and are becoming less reliable, and transition to a modern renewable energy system can improve grid stability."
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