CEC Unveils Roadmap for 100% Renewable Grid by 2030 in Australia

Highlights :

While state and territory governments have become the torchbearers of policy ambition for the clean energy transition of Australia in recent years, the CEC argues that the Federal Government needs to take the lead on a strong and co-ordinated strategy to facilitate private investment in low-cost clean energy.

As the citizens of Australia turn their attention towards the upcoming Federal Election, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has launched its Roadmap for a Renewable Energy Future: Federal Election Policy Recommendations, which urges Australia’s political leaders to commit to meeting the country’s domestic electricity demand with clean energy by 2030.

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“Now is the time to exploit Australia’s natural advantages to bring down the cost of electricity for households and businesses and position the country as the innate home of energy-intensive industries in the Asia Pacific,” says Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

“Clean energy can create thousands of new jobs, empower consumers, bring economic activity to regional communities, lower power prices and create the smart infrastructure of the future that can cement Australia’s place as a global clean energy superpower. More renewable energy investment is crucial for Australia to prepare for the inevitable exit of ageing coal generators over the coming decade.”

The Clean Energy Council’s nine-point plan consists of the following policy recommendations:

  1. Electrify Australia: power the Australian economy and industry with wind, solar, hydro, bioenergy and battery storage.
  2. Empower customers and communities to make the switch to clean energy.
  3. Build a strong, smart, 21st-century electricity network.
  4. Maximise the creation of quality clean energy jobs and a local supply chain.
  5. Provide greater support and certainty for coal communities and industry as the phase-out of coal generation accelerates.
  6. Modernise Australia’s energy market and its governance for the clean energy transformation.
  7. Turbo-charge clean energy innovation.
  8. Decarbonise Australian industries using clean energy.
  9. Put Australia on a path to becoming a global clean energy superpower that exports renewable energy to Asia and beyond.

While state and territory governments have become the torchbearers of policy ambition for the clean energy transition of Australia in recent years, the CEC argues that the Federal Government needs to take the lead on a strong and co-ordinated strategy to facilitate private investment in low-cost clean energy.

“Voters will back policy that promotes emissions reduction and, critically, the Australian business community supports an acceleration of Australia’s decarbonisation efforts,” says Thornton.

“The signals coming from the private sector indicate the Federal Government’s latest policy statements on net-zero emissions are not enough. They are looking at short-term 2030 targets to drive immediate investment.

The move comes even as a plan to build a 660MW peaker plant run on gas and diesel in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales (NSW), had been strongly backed by the country’s federal government, headed by the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. This was in sharp contrast to a study last year by the CEC that large batteries might have done the same job at a lower cost. For the Kurri Kurri power station as it is called, the fig leaf was the proviso to run 30% on green hydrogen from its start of operations in 2023, and 100% by 2030. However, even this may not be binding.

“An electricity grid powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 will deliver emissions reductions based on 2005 levels of 44.5 per cent – and it comes with the upsides of jobs, investment and growth.

“This is just below the global average of 45 per cent – it’s not an ambitious or difficult target – it’s the low-hanging fruit.

“This is our golden opportunity that equals billions of dollars’ worth of private sector investment, tens of thousands of quality jobs, economic growth and new industries to help sustain regional communities for decades to come.”

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