No technical barriers to renewable electricity system: report

The Climate Council has released a report on Australia's electricity system, drawing on numerous studies – including those of CSIRO, AEMO and the Finkel report - that consistently conclude that there are no technical barriers for Australia to transition to a very high proportion of renewable energy.

The report, authored by Andrew Stock and Petra Stock, highlights the importance of Australia using the opportunity of the closure of ageing coal powered electricity generation plants to move to a modern clean, reliable and and affordable electricity system.

It finds that combining low cost wind and solar PV with other renewable energy technologies such as solar thermal, hydro and biomass plants can provide round-the-clock, or on-demand power as well as meeting technical requirements for grid stability.

It also concludes that a distributed and diverse electricity system incorporating a diversity of geographically spread energy sources such wind, solar, biomass, hydro, as well as energy storage is far more resilient to disruption from increasing extreme weather events such as heatwaves, storms and bushfires fuelled by climate change.

The report reinforces the call by the Australian Energy Market Operator to put in place a stable policy framework to bring sufficient new flexible, dispatchable power and storage online ito ensure reliable electricity supply.

“A long-term coherent climate and energy policy for Australia is needed to reduce emissions from the sector and enable the necessary investment in new power supply (IGCC 2017). Policies designed to drive investment in new renewable energy, such as the Clean Energy Target recommended by the Finkel Review, can drive lower power prices (Finkel 2017). Keeping unreliable, expensive and inflexible old coal and gas power plants open past the end of their technical lives will not deliver the modern electricity grid that Australia needs (Engineers Australia 2016).”

The report, Powering a 21st Century Economy: Secure, Clean Affordable Electricity, is available here.

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