Australian news, and some related international items

In the long run, for Australia, 100% renewable energy will be cheaper than the present energy system

100% renewables in Australia will be cheaper than Business As Usual  REneweconomy, By  on 11 October 2012 Iain MacGill is the first to admit that there’s a good deal more research and modelling work that could be done before Australia might confidently launch itself on the path to 100 per cent renewable electricity generation.

But the main, and very positive, message from the UNSW Associate Professor, and joint director of its Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), is that on the basis of current research and modelling, the viability of a shift to a 100% renewable energy network looks “very promising” – in fact, when you factor in the costs of business-as-usual, it’s likely to be cheaper than continuing on the current path.

Speaking at the All-Energy Australia conference in Melbourne today, MacGill outlined some of the preliminary findings of the current UNSW project on the technical feasibility, underlying economics and possible commercial implications of 100 per cent renewable energy generation for the Australian National Electricity Market.

It’s a hugely complex task, that has had to factor in such technicalities as the NEM’s 0.002 per cent unserved energy standard, moderate energy spill, moderate total biomass, no extra hydro capacity, the need for new NEM regions, and the perennial question of whether a 100 renewables mix using highly variable and somewhat unpredictable solar and wind can reliably meet demand at all times and locations.

And then, of course, there is the all-important question of whether 100% renewables is  economically worth doing, not to mention commercially feasible: can we establish commercial frameworks that drive appropriate deployment at the speed and scale required?

The final estimates for the UNSW work are not ready for release, but when they are they will form a crucial reference point for the clean energy industry. One of the criticisms of the detailed work that the Australian Energy Market Operator is being asked to undertake into 100 per cent renewable scenarios is that it will not reference its cost estimates to business-as-usual, or to the potential savings…..


October 11, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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