Australia can make deep cuts to its carbon emissions and become entirely powered by renewable energy by mid-century, all for a relatively low cost, a new study has found. The report, which was released this week, was prepared by researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra on behalf of WWF-Australia. It argues that the country’s renewable energy potential is 500 times greater than the current installed capacity, and notes that forecasting by the Government’s Treasury Department regarding the cost of large-scale renewable energy plants is outdated.
“The costs of some carbon-free technologies, including solar and wind power, have fallen much faster than expected,” the report states. “For example, large-scale solar panel power stations are already only half the cost that the Treasury’s 2008 and 2011 modelling studies estimated they would be in the year 2030.” The report also highlights that Australia’s economy can continue to grow while achieving ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission over the short and long-term, and says the country could achieve net-zero emissions by offsetting limited fossil fuel use in remote areas with farming and forestry initiatives.
It’s no secret that Australia has a wealth of potential renewable energy at its disposal. The problem is, the country’s also abundantly rich in coal. It’s one of the world’s largest coal exporters, and at home, coal is used to produce around 65 percent of electricity. What’s worrying is that Australia emits more carbon dioxide per capita than any other developed western nation, and the electricity sector accounts for about one-third of those emissions. Via Australia could have zero emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2050, new study finds