Australia could be zero carbon by 2020 – at a price
Australia could shred all reliance on oil, coal and gas and become entirely dependent on renewable energy sources by the end of the decade, according to a report presented to the International Energy Agency by Australian academics last month.
By combining existing wind, solar, hydro and biomass technologies with a range of efficiency measures, the researchers argues that the country’s future energy demand could be fully met.
The report – the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan – was put together by the think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions and academics from the University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute.
“Achieving the ten-year transition is well within Australia’s existing industrial capacity,” the report concludes. “Adoption of this plan promises health benefits, long-term energy security, and significant economic benefits.”
The study flags solar thermal power with storage as a key component of the goal because it is well suited to Australia’s geography and climate, and there are no technical restrictions in constructing solar thermal plants.
The proposal was presented to experts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) last month by Roger Dargaville, one of the report’s editors.
“To all naysayers who have consistently argued against the practical feasibility of such a goal, this study demonstrates that it is achievable,” he said.
But $37bn would be needed to be invested every year for the next decade for this goal to work, equivalent to 3 per cent of the country’s annual GDP.
However a significant number of new jobs would be created in renewable energy, manufacturing, operations and maintenance.
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