|IEA hears presentation on plan for Australia to have 100% renewable energy|
zero carbon emissions by 2020 is achievable using technology that is already ‘on the shelf’ and currently available.
IEA: Australia could run entirely on renewable energy within a decade, expert claims | Beyond Zero Emissions , 22 Jan 2011, Ambitious blueprint to cut out carbon emissions is presented at the Agency’s Paris-based headquarters
Australia could shred all reliance on oil, coal and gas and become entirely dependent on renewable energy sources by the end of the decade, experts at a think-tank and an Australian university claim in a report presented at the IEA’s headquarters.
By combining wind, solar, hydro and biomass resources with a range of efficiency measures, they argue that the country’s future energy demand could be fully met. The authors of the report, in which the IEA did not participate, add that this bold target of zero carbon emissions by 2020 is achievable using technology that is already ‘on the shelf’ and currently available.
“Achieving the ten-year transition is well within Australia’s existing industrial capacity,” they conclude. “Adoption of this plan promises health benefits, long-term energy security, and significant economic benefits.”
This 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 (and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the IEA or its member countries). It 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. Other “proven, ready and mature” technologies suggested include wind energy and biomass from agriculture waste.
This proposal was presented to experts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) on 13th January by Dr 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.
Dr Dargaville, who was one of a series of guests who present work on energy-related issues to IEA experts, stressed that there are significant incentives for Australia to consider this plan. “As well as the environmental benefits of slashing carbon emissions, by removing the reliance on foreign fuels and the risk of unknown future costs of oil and gas, Australia’s energy security will be greatly enhanced.”
Following the presentation at the Agency’s headquarters in Paris, Hugo Chandler, a senior analyst at the IEA, said: “This bold blueprint for Australia’s future energy supply is a welcome addition to the global debate on renewables. It provides a timely reminder to all countries of the importance of renewable energy sources and the role they must play in the years ahead.”
Money and jobs
The report, which was launched in July last year, states that AUD37 billion would be needed to be invested every year for the next decade for this goal to work.
“This is equivalent,” Dr Dargaville notes, “to 3% of the country’s annual GDP, which currently stands at AUD1,200 billion. Once other factors such as increases in demand and fuel savings, household electricity bills in Australia would rise by AUD8 per week compared with the business as usual case.”
Responding to concern over the number of jobs that would be lost in the fossil fuel supply industry if this ambitious plan was implemented, the authors explain that a significant number of new jobs would be created in renewable energy, manufacturing, operations and maintenance…..