Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Australia’s coalition government may be determined to make a ‘gas – led recovery’ its economic growth strategy after Covid, but most other major economies are looking the other way.

“Last week, the UK became the latest and joined the US in committing to zero emissions from their electricity grid in 2035 as an important part of their long-term goal of zero emissions. The European Union is also expected to reach close to zero carbon by the mid-2030s.

For the UK, which has already virtually eliminated coal, that means gas production is the next thing to go.

“The way to strengthen the UK’s energy security, ensure greater energy dependence and protect long-term household energy budgets is through clean electricity generated in this country for the people of this country,” UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement last week.

It is important to note that this statement came in a week when electricity prices reached record highs due to rising gas costs. Instead of seeking more gas, however, the strategy is fixed on shave it out, to make the country smaller depending on larger fluctuations in commodity prices.

Source: UK National Statistics

This step is backed by scenarios from three expert groups that show that the country can and should achieve zero emissions of electricity by 2035.

The UK’s climate committee, the National Grid and Energy Systems Catapult, has all shown that fossil-free electricity could reach 99 percent by 2035 or even earlier, according to a briefing from the think tank Ember.

“Moving away from gas quickly can reduce energy bills,” Embers chief operating officer Phil MacDonald said in the report, adding that the UK should “switch from expensive imported gas to cheap homemade wind and solar.”

The three scenarios indicate that levels of renewable energy could reach between 60 and 90 per cent of UK grid electricity by 2030.

Source: Ember. Please click to expand.

“Regardless of the path chosen, there is a broad consensus that signaling an end to undiminished gas flow provides benefits beyond simply meeting emissions targets,” the report said.

“It provides opportunities to promote energy self-sufficiency, low-cost electricity and champion British companies involved in providing clean energy.”

In 2020, renewable energy and nuclear power together accounted for 59 per cent of British power, compared with 27 percent sustainable generation in Australia.

The target for zero emission power by 2035 is in line with the timing outlined in the International Energy Agency’s net zero emission report. The IEA found that electricity generation in advanced economies should fall to zero in 2035 and globally in 2040.

Major economic powers are moving toward zero emissions of electricity in 2035. In April, President Biden reiterated the United States’ commitment to carbon pollution free electricity sector by 2035. The European Union’s “Fit for 55” package indicates that the bloc would reach close to zero carbon by the mid-2030s.

The head of the Australian energy market operator, Daniel Westerman, said earlier this year that he wants Australia’s electricity grid to be able to handle periods of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

AEMO’s next version of the integrated system plan will include a scenario that is in line with the 1.5 ° C target, which will also provide a plan on how to reach zero emissions by around 2035.

Australia is no longer a national renewable energy target or any national policy to move beyond fossil fuels, most states and territories have targets to increase renewable energy.

Some, such as South Australia, ACT and Tasmania have already achieved or are aiming for renewable energy levels of 100 percent or more. NSW says it aims to replace most of its coal generators by around 2030 and can replace them all if necessary.

AEMO’s equivalent in the UK, National Grid ESO, has carried out the most detailed work on roads to the UK’s emissions targets and reached net zero emissions in the grid by 2035.

Source: Ember. Please click to expand.

In its most future energy scenarios, released in July 2021, all National Grid scenarios that meet UK climate targets require less than 1% undiminished fossil fuels by 2035. In addition, Grid sees renewable energy sources accounting for 86-90% of electricity generation by then. date, of which at least 80% is from wind and sun.

Offshore wind will be the main driver of this increase and grow from 10.5 GW in 2020 to between 56.8 and 76.2, with the UK becoming a significant grid exporter of electricity in all scenarios and reaching 65-111 TWh in 2035, equivalent to 15-20% of the domestic generation.

The Ember report notes that several independent models agree that phasing out unreduced gas-fired electricity production by 2035 is crucial to meeting Britain’s statutory carbon targets and poses few risks if government decisions are taken quickly for a smooth transition.

“All models agree that renewable energy sources will be at the heart of this transition, especially offshore wind and solar, and therefore the government’s focus should be on ensuring rapid implementation in these sectors,” it said.

“A gradual change in capacity for energy storage is also crucial in all scenarios, as is a growing hydrogen sector. In all the models we assess here, unreduced gas output has been reduced to just a few percent of total annual production by the end of this decade.

‘The models disagree on the size of the role for gas -CCS and nuclear power, but suggest that they are likely to play a role in the stabilization of the 2035 grid, albeit a small one. “

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