Australia is in the throes of an energy crisis, with electricity generation prices around 115% above the previous highest average wholesale price ever recorded.
Meanwhile all states are achieving record highs for renewables powering our electricity system. Looking beyond the current crisis, what are the opportunities for Australia’s transition to a decarbonised electricity system as is strives towards reliable provision, competitive pricing and reduced emissions over the coming decades?
While the opportunity is here and now with Federal and State Governments looking to technology to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it is critical to determine how these technologies will work harmoniously to decarbonise energy systems, provide new economic opportunities, and meet the needs of Australian industries, communities, and people. This is a snapshot of several key mature and emerging low-emissions energy technologies which are already playing a significant role in Australia’s technology-led transition to net zero.
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Electricity accounts for 34 per cent of Australia’s CO2 emissions, and decarbonisation of the sector will be key for Australia to meet net zero by 2050.
Electrification of transport, heating and industry allows decarbonised electricity to eliminate 80% of Australia’s emissions2.
Australia is leading the world in per capita deployment of solar and wind power.
Renewable energy is tracking towards 50 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation in 20253, by which time the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) expects Australia’s electricity grids to be capable of running on 100 per cent renewables4. By 2030 it is expected that renewables will supply 69% of Australia’s main electricity grid.
The critical technology mix for Australia includes solar power, wind, pumped hydro and batteries, electricity transmission infrastructure, and electrification of transport and heating.