The Alternative Technology Association has shown in a new research that Australia could rapidly transition to 100% renewable energy system. This bold move, which a lot of other nations are also planning to take, can save the country money from fuel savings that will offset the capital expenditure necessary for building solar, wind, and other renewable energy installations.
Fully Renewable Energy System
The report claims that transitioning to a 100% renewable energy system is not only technically possible but also economically viable in the long term. It means that by 2030, all energy use will be renewable, including transport and heating.
Bill Hare, a Perth-based climate scientist, and director of Climate Analytics, believes that Australia needs to aim for 100 percent renewables within the next two decades in order to meet its climate targets. Australia will stand to reap enormous economic and environmental benefits if it does.
Australia can meet this goal by developing a strategy to move towards a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2030. It also needs to adopt a long-term plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2040. Hare believes that the country is in a position to attain the goals because of its excellent natural resources.
Australia could quickly transition to a fully renewable power grid, which is cheaper and a lot less risky than building coal-fired power stations. To achieve full-renewable operation of the country’s electricity needs, the country needs more than 93.3 GW of renewable energy production. To achieve the goal by 2030, there is a need to accelerate by 80 percent on top of the current trends. In addition to the accelerated development of the solar and wind sources, there is a need to increase pumped hydro storage to cover the intermittency issues.
The country is still reeling from the state-wide power failure in South Australia which was partly blamed on renewable energy sources. In the aftermath of the blackout, a bidding for batteries ensued, which was subsequently won by Elon Musk’s Tesla battery. Musk tweeted that his company could implement the batteries in 100 days. With the winning bid, Musk also promised an implementation period of 100 days, or it would be free of charge.
Savings from Renewable Energy
Australia could save a lot of money when it becomes 100 percent renewable. Electricity from the new coal-fired stations costs between $81 and $182 per megawatt hour. Considering the hidden health and climate impacts it will cost between $102 and $203. In a 100% renewable electricity grid, the cost of electricity is approximately $93 per megawatt hour, including the costs incurred in building energy storage and transmission lines to manage the intermittency.
The savings generated will become bigger as we factored in the impacts of coal-fired generations and as renewable energy technology becomes cheaper.
Australia should continue preparing for the plan to be 100 percent renewable and implement it. The decision should be in the hands of the government and not left to separate companies that are profit-driven.