Greater investment could see Australia powered by 100% clean energy within decades
- 27 November 2012
MELBOURNE: Today a report was released by the Australian Climate Commission which highlights the nation’s rapid clean energy growth, and states that in coming decades Australia’s economy could be powered ‘almost entirely’ by renewables.
The report, entitled The Critical Decade: Generating a Renewable Australia, says that Australia could reach 100% clean energy, as long as there is sustained expansion and investment growth assured through policy certainty.
Outlining the successes of Australia’s clean energy mix, the report states that the country is in the ideal position for reaching such an ambitious target. Currently clean energy such as wind, solar and hydro make up just 10% of Australia’s energy, but this is expected to rise to 25% by 2020. Solar PV is already the cheapest source of power for retail users in areas with high electricity prices.
Further making the case for the transition as an economical as well as environmental imperative, the report forecasts that solar PV and wind could provide the cheapest form of energy in Australia by 2030, as the carbon price continues to rise.
Another key finding of the report is that renewable energy generation is rapidly growing, with the rate of growth for wind power well above any other large scale generation source. Wind power grew an average of 40% each year over five years up until 2009.
The report concludes with a call for urgent action to accelerate green growth through clean energy investment and clear policy: “We have less than four decades to transform energy systems around the world to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change”.
Challenges are marked out in the report as being access to the grid from remote areas and development of battery storage. There could also be limitations with shifting a network which was designed around a few large generators to a distributed energy model.
Caroline Bayliss, Australia Director, The Climate Group commented: "With the acknowledgement that key renewable technologies can beat fossil fuels on price, there is no excuse for putting off a 100% renewables policy commitment. Such a commitment will send a clear signal to the market, unlocking finance and keeping key expertise in Australia."