Renewable Energy Deployment Beyond 2020

Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a report, lead authored by Dr. Mark Hughes of Cambridge Modelling, on renewable energy deployment in Australia beyond 2020.

The report finds that investment in Australia’s renewable energy resources could stall in 2020 unless the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is increased out to 2030.

Modelling results presented in the report show that under the current carbon price scheme, with no increase of the RET after 2020, investment in most renewable energy industries will collapse post-2020 – for between 4 and 32 years – until cost convergence is achieved subject to carbon price.

Modelling indicates that a RET out to 2030 of between 137,000 GWh and 169,000 GWh (which is equivalent to a target of 43-53% of business-as-usual electricity demand) would prevent this post-2020 stall in renewable deployment and put Australia on the pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“The report also makes it clear we should be planning now to electrify the transport system and to grow renewable energy to meet the increased demand in the electricity sector”, said WWF’s Climate Change National Manager, Kellie Caught, “We can’t keep ignoring rising emissions from transport; electrification from renewable energy is the obvious solution.”

The report finds that removing the carbon price would mean having to find $65 billion over the next 40 years for renewable energy investment to deliver the same results.

“Transitioning to 100% renewables is desirable, technically achievable, affordable, and popular amongst Australians. What we need now is for governments to bring the renewable economy into reality,” Ms Caught said.

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Our Clean Energy Future: 100% Renewables Powering Australia’s Future

Dr Mark Hughes of Cambridge Modelling is lead author of this report, which was prepared in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Climate Risk, to evaluate renewable energy deployment potential in Australian transport and stationary energy.

The report finds that investment in Australia’s renewable energy resources is likely to stall in 2020 under current policies without an increase in the Renewable Energy Target (RET) out to 2030. Modelling indicates that a 2030 RET of between 137,000 GWh and 169,000 GWh (i.e. 43-53% of business-as-usual electricity demand) would prevent this post-2020 stall in renewable deployment and put Australia on the pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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100% Low Carbon Energy

Cambridge Modelling is working with Climate Risk and the World Wildlife Fund to map the industry development pathways required to achieve 100% low carbon energy generation by 2050. Cambridge Modelling is examining a suite of scenarios to determine the investment levels required to achieve this objective and the impact of various carbon pricing regimes and other policy support mechanisms.

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Impact of Solar PV Feed-in Tariff Changes

Cambridge Modelling published a report today that examines the impact of government plans to reduce feed-in tariffs on the UK solar photovoltaic industry.

“The proposed changes to the feed-in tariff scheme will significantly delay the development of UK solar photovoltaic industry efficiencies,” said Dr. Mark Hughes, Director at Cambridge Modelling. “In the absence of the changes, small solar photovoltaic installations are set to achieve grid parity (equality with retail electricity prices) by 2019. The changes to the scheme will delay grid parity and extend the need for feed-in tariff support by approximately 3 years,” said Dr. Hughes.

The report also identifies important omissions from the DECC consultation on the feed-in tariff changes.

Dr. Hughes said, “Large savings for electricity consumers from the development of UK solar photovoltaic industry efficiencies under the existing tariff schedule have been overlooked. In 2020 alone, these missed savings could exceed £57 million”.

Dr. Hughes also warned that, “The DECC consultation assumes optimistic capital cost forecasts and large reductions in the rate of return on investment which leaves the UK solar photovoltaic industry with no margin for module price fluctuations in a traditionally volatile market.”

“Cambridge Modelling recommends a more comprehensive approach to the determination of feed-in tariff reductions, based on long-term price trends, to ensure steady and sustainable levels of growth in the UK solar photovoltaic industry,” said Dr. Hughes.

For further information, please download the full report, “UK Solar PV Industry: Implications of the Planned Feed-in Tariff Reductions”.

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UK Solar PV Industry: Implications of the Planned Feed-in Tariff Reductions

This report examines the impact of the UK government’s planned reduction in feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations up to 250 kW. The analysis described here explores key considerations, not covered in the consultation on the Comprehensive Review Phase 1, that are pertinent to grid parity in the UK solar PV industry, the price of retail electricity and national commitments under the Renewable Energy Directive.

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Feed-In Tariffs

Cambridge Modelling has added a new extension module to the Low Carbon Simulator which provides additional functionality for examining the impact of feed-in tariff policies and changes therein. This new module is currently being used to assess the impact of changes to solar photovoltaic feed-in tariffs proposed by the UK Government and due to take effect in December 2011.

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The Low Carbon Simulator

There is currently insufficient information available for businesses, investors, governments and non-government organisations to effectively plan for—and succeed in—the transition to a low carbon economy. The Low Carbon Simulator, developed by Cambridge Modelling, is the first model that truly addresses this problem by accurately identifying the best opportunities and most favourable low carbon strategies for each of these sectors.

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