100% renewable energy

A new report, Supercharging Australia’s clean energy transition, by the Univeristy of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Sustainable Futures, suggests that an annual investment of just 7.7% of Australia’s trillion-dollar superannuation nest-egg could underwrite the transition to a 100% renewable energy electricity grid by 2030.

The electricity industry crisis has reached new heights, with the federal government pressuring giant energy company AGL to keep the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station open for a further five years after 2022, its due date for closure.

Liddell, in the Hunter Valley region of NSW, is a coal-burning dinosaur. The reality is neither the government’s policy of defending Big Coal, nor its reliance on the so-called “energy market”, will solve the problem of skyrocketing electricity prices for consumers or the looming environmental crisis.

A new study from the Australian National University suggests that a 100% renewable energy electricity grid for Australia is not only possible, it would be a significantly cheaper option than the current coal and gas-powered network.

The study, by energy experts Andrew Blakers, Bin Lu and Matthew Stocks, proposed a mix of solar PV and wind energy, backed up by pumped hydro as the cheapest option for Australia.

The ACT Labor government has boosted its commitment to renewable energy still further, announcing Canberra will be fully powered by renewables by 2020.

The switch to renewable energy began with the decision in 2013 to fund three solar farms. Since then, it has held two wind auctions and signed 20-year contracts with four companies to buy energy for a guaranteed payment from wind farms in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell said Canberra was leading the nation on renewables, and reaping the benefits.

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