Culture 3 min read

Report Shows Australia has Potential to be 100% Renewable by 2030

With Australia being one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas in the world, the race is on for the nation to change its energy and resource dependencies to reach its emission limits for international pledges and agreements.

Australia is paving the way forwards towards shirking coal and other fossil fuels and improving its dependency on renewable energy. | Image by Petrmalinak | Shutterstock

Australia is paving the way forwards towards shirking coal and other fossil fuels and improving its dependency on renewable energy. | Image by Petrmalinak | Shutterstock

Not only does Australia’s renewable energies potential enable it to meet its Paris Agreement emissions target, but to go for 100% clean electricity by 2030.

Per capita, Australia is one of the highest CO2 emitters in the planet, higher than the United States and China.

Under the Paris Agreement, Australia has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

But it seems that the Australian National Energy Guarantee, referred to as the Neg, won’t get implemented after several months of debate. The lack of unanimous consensus on the Neg was already creating uncertainty over the country’s ability to fulfill its climate action plan.

That was when there was back-and-forth still going on. What now that the Australian Prime Minister has declared the Neg dead?

Contrasting with its long intimate past with coal is Australia’s bright future with renewables that remains on hold pending politicians’ say.

Perhaps science can help push things forward, as a new study shows Australia can go beyond its Paris Agreement targets.

100% Renewables-Grid Possible in Coal-Fired Australia

Currently, according to the government’s official data, Australia relies on black coal to generate a staggering 63% of its electricity. Another 4% comes from brown coal, 20% from natural gas, and 15% from renewables.

Although these official numbers don’t add up (102%?), it’s clear Australia, as it stands, is nowhere near from becoming fossil fuel-free.

Read More: The Growing Pains of the Algerian Energy Transition

As only a dozen years separate us from 2030, the target year to meet emission cuts pledges is looming near.

Now, a new report from the Australian National University says Australia can draw 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by the early 2030s, provided renewables development keeps current pace “into 2020 and beyond”.

According to the ANU analysis, Australia is expected to install 10,400 MW of renewable capacities during 2018 and 2019, and will likely reach 29% of renewable power in 2020, and 50% by 2025.

“We estimate electricity emissions would thereby be reduced by 26 per cent in 2021, and the electricity sector on its own would meet Australia’s entire Paris emissions reductions target of 26 per cent by 2025… All the evidence points to Australia’s capacity to be a renewable energy superpower, with all the economic and environmental benefits that come with that. We need Australia’s governments to put in place the right plans for the renewable energy train to have a smooth ride”.

Will Australia’s renewables train reach its terminal station?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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