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Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades

Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks write in The Conversation (6.4.18) that solar photovoltaics and wind power are on track to supplant fossil-fuel-based electricity generation by the 2030s. The authors contend that the only thing holding back the 'renewable revolution' in Australia is political resistance.

'Solar photovoltaic and wind power are rapidly getting cheaper and more abundant – so much so that they are on track to entirely supplant fossil fuels worldwide within two decades, with the time frame depending mostly on politics. The protestation from some politicians that we need to build new coal stations sounds rather quaint.

'The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. No other greenhouse solution comes close, and it is very hard to envision any timely response to climate change that does not involve PV and wind doing most of the heavy lifting.

'About 80% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to the use of coal, oil and gas, which is typical for industrialised countries. The land sector accounts for most of the rest. Sadly, attempts to capture and store the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have come to naught due to technical difficulties and high cost.

'... Electrifying the whole energy sector of our economy of course means that electricity production needs to increase massively – roughly tripling over the next 20 years. Continued rapid growth of PV (and wind) will minimise dangerous climate change with minimal economic disruption. Many policy instruments are available to hasten their deployment. Governments should get behind PV and wind as the last best chance to deliver the necessary solution to global warming.'

We could be a superpower: 3 ways Australia can take advantage of the changing geopolitics of energy

Christian Downie writes in The Conversation (25.5.21) that Australia is well placed to be a 'superpower' of renewable energy generation - but it's an opportunity that won't last forever. The author points out how countries that move first will gain an advantage in new industries, technologies and export markets.

'The International Energy Agency confirmed last week what many already knew: the world is undergoing a huge transformation in global energy markets. Fossil fuels are dying and renewables are on the rise.

'Much of the focus has been on what this means for Australia, given the IEA declared there can be no new fossil fuel projects if global temperature rise is to be kept below 2℃.

'But what the discussion has missed is how the shift to renewable energy is also set to transform Australia’s geopolitical environment. For a country that likes to think of itself as an energy superpower, it’s time we started paying attention.

'Australia should embrace the opportunity to become a renewable energy power. If we don’t act now, with the global energy transition gathering pace, Australia could be exposed to a hostile international energy environment with profound economic, security and diplomatic consequences.'

 

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