It would make more economic sense for Australia to pursue renewable energy rather than continue the use of coal, despite the possible availability of carbon capture and storage technology, according to a study by the University of New South Wales.
UK to seize the offshore wind projectImage credit: Flicker/Andy S-D
The basis of their study is a modeling, using a range of fossil fuel scenarios with carbon capture and storage compared with 100 per cent renewable electricity scenario based on commercially available wind, solar and biomass technologies.
The researchers then used 2010 hourly electricity demand and solar and wind data to determine the proper technology mixes for each scenario to balance demand and supply of electricity with the aim of having the same reliability as the current Australian National Electricity Market.
Prices were based on government estimates of different generation technologies and fuels in 2030, plus possible future carbon prices and carbon capture and storage prices.
"The research confirms that policies pursuing very high penetrations of renewable electricity, based on commercially available technologies, offer a reliable, affordable and low risk way to dramatically cut emissions in the electricity sector," Business Spectator quoted University of NSW Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf of the Institute of Environmental Studies, one of the co-authors of the study.
The report concluded that it is not necessary to invest in new, expensive, unproven, high-risk, fossil fuel technologies. It added that reaching the rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions necessary to avoid dangerous global warming is expected to be more difficult in the fields of transportation and agriculture than the electricity sector.