Beyond baseload: 100% Renewable energy in Australia

New WWF-Australia report says 100% renewable electricity by 2035 in Australia is possible and could be cheaper and reliable as existing power derived from coal and gas.

By Israel Bionyi

As the implementation of the 2015 Paris climate agreement takes shape, new incentives are currently being established to reducing global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. The incentive to use 100% renewable energy for electricity, cooking, and heating is spreading across continents and is increasingly recognised in many countries today.

In Australia, a new WWF-Australia report approves the idea of 100% renewable energy as a best and most save approach for the country to produce energy. It suggests Australia can completely shift its total global primary power supply to renewable sources with equal degree of dependency as present-day.  The report sees Australia better tackling energy security concerns, pollution, land degradation, global warming, and other ecological crisis with renewable energy.

A huge renewable energy potential

Numerous studies stating that Australia can cheaply achieve 100% renewable electricity with existing technology by 2035 are cited by the report. “The ‘Home Grown Power Plan’ (2016) models that between now and 2050, the shift to renewables and increased energy efficiency could deliver enough fuel-cost savings to cover 110% of the bill for building 100% renewable power. Australia could save, on average $9 billion a year on power sector fuel costs”, the report says. It is projected that Australia’s solar and wind potential can power the country 500 times over.

Environmental dangers of unclean energy

According to the report, Australia could improve its global CO2 emission ranking by embracing renewables. Aged coal-electricity fields are highly polluting the atmosphere. Australia could take advantage of its unique position as a world leader in household solar uptake, to make renewable electricity a reality.

Technological advancements: a golden opportunity

WWF Australia thinks recent technological advancements gives Australia a golden opportunity to produce more renewable power.  It says:” more sophisticated wind and solar radiation forecasting systems being developed by major scientific bodies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and alongside major corporate organisations, including IBM12. Such technologies will only strengthen the confidence in the reliability of a 100% renewable electricity system.”

Behaviour change for thinking renewable

For Australia to transition to 100% renewable behaviour change is required. The report mentions examples of renewable initiatives in heavily polluting countries of Germany, UK, Denmark, Portugal and China to illustrate the ongoing paradigm shift. These countries are changing mindsets and absorbing a wide range of renewables including, wind, solar, biofuel etc.

Highlights of the report

  • ‘Baseload’ power is a concept rather than a physical requirement of a reliable energy system. The majority of Australia’s ‘baseload’ energy comes from high polluting coal-fired generators of which 75% are already beyond their intended operating life.
  • To enjoy clean air and reduce carbon pollution Australia will need to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2035. This is possible, affordable and desirable.
  • The concept of ‘baseload’ power becomes redundant under a 100% renewable energy grid. Current technology could allow Australians to keep the lights on 24/7 using only renewable energy. Emerging battery storage can make this process smoother and cheaper.
  • Major figure heads of international energy companies within some of Australia’s largest trading partners acknowledge there will be no need for ‘baseload’ power as we know it today. Achieving 100% renewable energy is already a reality in some countries.
  • With key market reforms in place to manage the energy transition, Australians can comfortably let go of the mindset of ‘baseload’ and have confidence in a modern, reliable, renewable energy sector powering our future.

What should be Africa’s mindset as it tries to reach 100% energy access

650 million Africans do not have access to electricity.  African heads of states expressed interest in baseload power generation during the African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Zambia on May 23-27, 2016. A lesson from this report is that African leaders should take advantage of the huge renewable energy potential in Africa such as hydro-power (potential estimated around 1,750 Terawatts) and geo-thermal energy (estimated at 9,000 Megawatts) to reach their target universal energy access.

Resources

Social Media

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Producing power from renewables can play a major role in tackling global warming. Read the new WWF-Australia report which says 100% renewable electricity by 2035 in Australia is possible and could be cheaper and reliable as existing power derived from coal and gas. (Link)

Twitter
  1. We’d like to see countries adopting renewables @WWF_Australia report shows Australia can go 100% renewable. #RE100 #Climate. (Link)
  2. Report: Australia can shift its total global primary power supply to renewable sources? Can Africa do the same? #RE100 #Climate. (Link)

This article was done for a test. Its contents does not fully reflect the ability of the writer. It was written from primary communications materials provided as links.

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