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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Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Cambridge Modelling is working with Climate Risk and the World Wildlife Fund to model key operational considerations for the newly created Clean Energy Finance Corporation that will invest $10 billion into the commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

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Implications for Infrastructure

Cambridge Modelling is working with Climate Risk and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia to model the infrastructural impacts of recent changes made by the Australian Government to key climate change policies. Our preliminary modelling results have identified additional opportunities for utilising domestic abatement infrastructure that were overlooked by the Government’s forecasting. Ongoing scenario modelling is being used to test the timing and targeting of the Government’s proposed funding structure and to identified any dislocations in key infrastructure development.

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Mobilizing Private Finance to Drive an Energy Industrial Revolution

While uptake of renewable energies as a solution to climate change is widely discussed, the issue of public vs. private financing is not yet adequately explored. The debates over the Kyoto Protocol and its successor have maintained a strong preference for public over private financing. Yet it is also clear to most observers that the energy revolution will never happen without the involvement of private finance to drive private investment. In this Viewpoint, we discuss the ways in which private financing could be mobilized to drive the energy industrial revolution that is needed if climate change mitigation is to succeed.

“Mobilizing Private Finance to Drive an Energy Industrial Revolution”, Energy Policy, Vol. 38, No. 7, 2010

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