Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

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Australia’s main electricity grid is expected to exceed 50 per cent renewable energy by 2025 and will rise to 69 per cent renewable energy by 2030, said updated projections published by the Morrison government.

The dizzying forecast, produced by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, as part of an update of Australia’s emissions forecasts, shows wind and solar emerging as Australia’s dominant sources of electricity within the next few years

On a state-by-state basis, New South Wales is expected to reach 84 percent renewable energy by 2030 Рa dramatic change as it is currently the state that is most dependent on coal. Victoria is expected to reach 61 percent, and Queenslands to reach 43 percent, less than the state’s target of 50 percent.

South Australia will extract almost all of its electricity – 96 percent – from renewable energy, while Tasmania by 2030 will remain 100 percent renewable powered.

Western Australia, which operates on its own network, is also expected to reach 45 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Source: Australia’s Emission Projects 2021, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

The projections suggest that Australia will fly past the 50 per cent 2030 target for renewable energy targets that the Labor Party took to the 2019 election, which Angus Taylor said would “drive a devastating bullet through the economy”.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor also declared, shortly after taking over the job in 2018, when the share of renewable energy was around 20 percent, that there was “too much wind and sun” in the grid.

Not because the forecasts now predict a tripling of the decade’s wind power, a fivefold increase in solar energy on a large scale and a fourfold increase in solar energy on the roof. The government is also relying on “ultra low cost solar” – at around $ 15 / MWh – to drive the shift in green industries such as hydrogen, steel and aluminum.

To support this increased use of wind and solar energy, an additional 4GW of pumped hydropower storage capacity is expected to be added to the grid in 2030 along with 8GW of battery storage.

The updated projections clearly specify a significantly diminished role for coal in Australia’s electricity system, which currently supplies around two thirds of Australia’s electricity and will see its market share reduced by more than half over the next decade.

This is primarily driven by the expected increase in the distribution of renewable energy and virtually no change in the overall demand for electricity.

Source: Australia’s Emission Projects 2021, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

The projections lack some of the ambitious scenarios modeled by the Australian energy market operator as part of its integrated system plan, or even Transgrid’s forecasts of reaching 91 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

But it underscores the fact that the Morrison government is relying almost exclusively on the expected increase in wind and solar energy to reach its 2030m emission reduction target, where electricity emissions are expected to fall from the 172 million tonnes of CO2 recorded. in 2020 to only 88 million tonnes by 2030.

It should be noted that the vast majority of the increasing prevalence of renewable energy and energy storage technologies will be driven by state and territory government policies, including commitments to establish dedicated renewable energy zones.

As the federal renewable energy target is reached by 2020 and there is no immediate prospect of an increased target in the coming years, the federal government will do little to encourage the uptake of new renewable energy sources.

The Morrison Government’s most important intervention in the electricity market has been the Snowy 2.0 energy storage project and the $ 600 million Kurri Kurri gas generator, both of which are being built by Snowy Hydro.

Other sectors of the economy are not expected to undergo a similar transition to lower emissions over the next decade.

According to the projections, Australia will somehow counteract international trends in the uptake of electric vehicles – with emissions from the transport sector expected to increase from 94 million tonnes by 2020 to 97 million tonnes by 2030.

The government has assumed a speed for updating electric vehicles that is modest compared to other forecasts, and estimates that only 9 per cent of Australia’s passenger car fleet will be electric and only 30 per cent of new vehicle sales will be electric models by 2030.

Source: Australia’s Emission Projects 2021, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Fugitive emissions – produced during the extraction and processing of coal and gas – are also expected to increase by 12 per cent over the next decade, while emissions from industrial energy use, agriculture and waste will remain largely unchanged.

The 2021 projections are the first to show that Australia is on track to meet its current 2030 emissions target under the Paris Agreement, without relying on excess credits from the Kyoto Protocol.

“Under a baseline scenario, Australia is expected to achieve a 30% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, both in the Paris budget and as a reduction at the time of 2005 levels,” the projections say.

“Under a scenario adapted to the Technology Investment Roadmap, Australia could exceed its 2030 target by 7 to 9 percentage points and achieve a 35% reduction compared to 2005 levels in the Paris budget, or a 38% reduction compared to to the 2005 level. “

Despite this expected overperformance, Morrison said on Tuesday that he would not commit Australia to a higher emissions target for 2030 – not even one that is in line with the level of cuts the government expects to achieve – and said the target of a reduction of 26 to 28 percent by 2030 would remain in place.

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