Australia has a lot to learn about renewables, but maybe not from Germany

Australia has a lot to learn about renewables, but maybe not from Germany

Now Australia has a golden opportunity to heed this lesson. Just as Germany must now do some soul-searching about how to increase its climate resilience and energy security, Australia can act decisively to reduce the risk that we end up in the same position as Germany in 10 or 20 years.

But Australia is in a much stronger position with a glut of wind and solar resources. With the right effort and smart investments, our research shows that Victoria can achieve zero coal and net zero by the start of the next decade.

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Like Environment Victoria’s recent discussion paper The case for 100% renewable energy by 2030 in Victoria stresses that the transition to 100% renewable energy is not only technically feasible in a few years, but also economically, socially and politically desirable.

Importantly, there is a staggering range of groups outside the environmental movement that support this view.

NSW grid operator Transgrid, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the Grattan Institute and the Blueprint Institute all agree that this kind of massive and rapid change is doable – and desirable – for our power grid. Liberal governments in New South Wales and Labor governments in Victoria are also moving decisively in this direction and should be encouraged and supported to act quickly enough to meet the challenge.

And the best news is that the rapid growth of renewables is already saving households money. Modeling released by the Australian Energy Markets Commission (AEMC) in November last year shows that an influx of renewables and battery storage is expected to reduce wholesale electricity prices by around 39% or $207 in Victoria by 2024.

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As Chris Uhlmann has pointed out, transforming our energy system into renewables will take enormous effort. It will take resources, determination and focus.

Better still, these efforts are focused on securing the net zero economy now so that they make us more resilient and energy independent, while ensuring long-term energy security. Instead of blaming forward-thinking states for making bold energy transitions today, we should praise them for not repeating Germany’s mistake of relying too heavily on so-called “transition” fuels.

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