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Australia Right On Track

Australia has become a trend market when it comes to renewables. In recent years, the country has invested massively in expanding grids and in generating and storing energy with renewables. This could enable the country to reach the Paris Climate Agreement targets even ahead of time.

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

Continuing the way they do in increasing the amount of renewable energy as at present, the Australians could reach the target of 50 percent renewables in their electricity mix already by 2024. That's what researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra say. Even 100 percent renewables would be conceivable by 2032.

Australia of all places, some might think. Up to now, the main focus in Down Under has been on fossil raw materials - less on alternative energy generation. But persistent drought, bush fires and floods caused increasing problems for people in the country, leading to a change of mind in recent years.

Australia is now a trend market. The latest figures published in advance in the GWEC Global Wind Report prove this. Last year alone, Australia added more than 500 megawatts of wind power putting them in 3rd place in the ranking of the Asia-Pacific region - only behind the major players China and India.

The leading researcher of the study, Professor Andrew Blakers, emphasizes that Australia per capita installs renewable energies much faster than the European Union, Japan, China and the United States, based on the preliminary data available for turbines worldwide last year. "The installation of renewables in Australia last year really ramped up compared to these other major economies, and we expect that trend to continue this year and beyond," said Professor Blakers from the ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering (RSEEME). 

More and more wind farms are being built in Australia (Image: Pixabay)

"The electricity sector is on track to deliver Australia's entire Paris emissions reduction targets five years early, in 2025 - without the need for any creative accounting. Australia is on track to reach 50 per cent renewable electricity in 2024 and 100 per cent by 2032. The Australian renewable energy experience offers real hope for rapid global emissions reductions to preserve a living planet," says Professor Blakers.

The country has also become a pioneer in the field of solar energy and, above all, storage facilities. It is no coincidence that Elon Musk chose Australia to build their innovative large storage system. "The price of electricity from large-scale solar PV and windfarms in Australia is currently about $50 per Megawatt-hour (MWh), and steadily falling," Dr. Stocks, also involved in the study, explains. "This is below the cost of electricity from existing gas-fired power stations and is also below the cost of new-build gas and coal power stations. Nearly all of the new power stations are either PV or wind. We anticipate that this will continue into the future, provided that energy policy is not actively hindering development."

At least in the federal states, this cannot be assumed, because this is where the roots of the current trend lie. Since the frequently changing heads of government often neglected or completely lacked a long-term energy policy for the entire country, many states set themselves ambitious goals now being pursued consistently. Victoria, for example, is currently planning to build an onshore wind farm for 800 to 1000 MW.

"Australia's coal power stations are old and are becoming less reliable, and transition to a modern renewable energy system can improve grid stability," the researchers stress in the study. So holding on to coal no longer makes economic sense.

Katrin Radtke
Australia, Paris Climate Agreement, renewable energy, wind, solar, PV, coal, storage facility, battery, grid, wind farm, state

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