Australian renewable energy at risk due to bottlenecks

Jack Unwin 19 February 2019 (Last Updated February 19th, 2019 12:25)

Energy experts in Australia have issued a joint statement warning the Australian government that energy bottlenecks risk the country meeting its emissions targets.

Australian renewable energy at risk due to bottlenecks
Energy experts have warned the Australian government that energy bottlenecks risk the country’s emissions targets. Credit: Kate Ausburn

Energy experts in Australia have issued a joint statement warning the Australian government that energy bottlenecks risk the country meeting its emissions targets.

The statement was signed by 50 energy experts who met for a three-day symposium on renewable energy research at the Australian National University (ANU). Signatories include ANU professor of engineering Andrew Blakers and Australian Wind Alliance national coordinator Andrew Bray.

It noted that while Australia has “deployed solar and wind power at unprecedented rates” it added that “the present market settings do not deliver for consumers”.

The experts said they believe that in order to address infrastructure bottlenecks Australia needs additional electricity transmission and energy storage, electricity market reform and a solid electricity infrastructure investment framework in order to stop the bottleneck.

They also noted that as renewable energy generation increases, Australia’s coal mines will be phased out. Because of this, “careful attention” would need to be paid to coal power workers and their communities whose livelihoods would be at risk.

Research by the ANU found that Australia is on course to reach targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement five years early in 2025 and could reach 100% renewable energy generation by 2032.

Recent emissions reports found that Australian emissions will be 563 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030, a 7% cut on 2025 and well below the targeted 26-28% reduction.

The Guardian reported that the Australian government has not responded to the statement yet, with Senator Simon Birmingham stating that the government “would have more to say on climate change in the coming weeks”.