Modelling shows most efficient route to Paris target is renewables

In its first major report, the Climate & Energy Program of The Australia Institute has shown that 66-75% of Australia's energy production will need to come from renewable sources if we are to meet our emissions target under the Paris Agreement.

The Climate & Energy Program was launched following the transfer of the Climate Institute’s intellectual property to The Australia Institute.

The discussion paper by Rod Campbell, Director of Research at The Australia Institute, evaluates the energy policies required to meet Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set by the Abbott government and pledged at the international climate summit in Paris.

It is based on modelling undertaken by and for government agencies and recent modelling by RepuTex of the future size of the electricity sector, policies that could help achieve this and what level of renewable energy generation would result from these policies.

It concludes that to meet its Paris commitment, Australia faces a choice:

  1. adopt a least-cost path, involving a transition to between 66-75% renewable energy by 2030; or

  2. further delay the transformation of the electricity sector, which will increase the cost to the economy as a whole and push a greater proportion of the emission reduction task onto other sectors, such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing.

The report shows the most efficient path to meeting Australia’s international commitment would see the electricity sector reducing emissions by between 40%-55% below 2005 levels in 2030.

In its concluding comments, the report notes that “it is ironic that government-commissioned modelling shows that the policies that would minimise renewable energy penetration such as carbon pricing and an EIS have already been rejected. All that remains is the CET that would bring in the largest share of renewable generation, or the prospect of failing to meet our Paris climate targets.”

The full report is available here

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