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Renewable energy & electrification

Renewable energy technology has passed the point, where it is cheaper than oil, gas and coal.  No-one argues the case for this more powerfully than Tony Seba. Based on Tony's thinking, the global transition to renewables seems like to be about 90% completed in the 10-years 2020-2030 - quick than most people think possible or likely.

Gradually the understanding of the updated economics and competitiveness of renewables, is spreading through the commercial world and politics.


NSW Transition to renewables plan -  Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap

In the following article, the NSW Liberal Energy Minister argues the case for why NSW should accelerate its transition to renewable - using for example, major investments in grid-scale batteries rather than peaking gas-fired power stations.

  • 23/11/20

    • Two things have changed since the climate wars began.

      • First, the cost of renewables has plummeted. Wind and solar are now the cheapest form of energy and, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator and the CSIRO, they are the cheapest form of reliable energy when backed up by pumped hydro.

      • Second, the global economy is decarbonising. China has committed to net zero emissions by 2060. South Korea and Japan recently committed to net zero emissions by 2050, joining allies such as Britain, New Zealand, France and Germany.

    • Under Joe Biden, the United States will also soon have a net zero emissions by 2050 target and, when it does, more than 70 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade will be with countries targeting net zero emissions.

    • This creates huge opportunities for Australia. We have world-class renewable energy resources and that gives us a huge competitive advantage in a low-carbon world  – to decarbonise, our trading partners are going to need fuels, chemicals and materials made using renewable energy.

    • Today, the risk is that if we do not reduce emissions, we will miss the chance to underwrite our future prosperity.
    • In NSW, we face another risk: over the next 15 years, four of our five coal-fired power stations will reach the end of their technical lives.
    • To replace these power stations we need to build not just renewable generation, but new transmission lines to allow those generators to connect to the grid, and pumped hydro, batteries and gas to keep the system reliable. This is a massive task. It generally takes seven years to plan, design and build a new transmission line, and eight years to build new pumped hydro. This is why the NSW government has released its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap , which sets out its plan to deliver this infrastructure.

    • At the heart of the plan is an independent consumer trustee. It will provide long-term contracts for the renewable generation, long duration storage and firming (batteries and gas) needed to keep prices down and lights on.

    • The contracts reduce consumer prices by reducing investment risk. The infrastructure we need is capital intensive. The more risk investors face when investing in generation and storage, the higher the prices they need to proceed. 

    • The road map is focused on affordability. It is a plan forecast to deliver NSW heavy industry some of the cheapest electricity in the OECD, and save households $130 a year and businesses $430 a year, on average, on their electricity bills between 2023 and 2040.

    • It is a plan to stimulate $32 billion in private sector investment in NSW by 2030. It is a plan to create jobs – more than 23,000 extra jobs across the state from lower energy prices and investment in the mid-2030s. It is a plan to reach across the environmental and economic divide and turn NSW into an energy and economic superpower.

Global picture perspective on renewables.

The developed world economies will be and is transitioning to renewables for 2 reasons.

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