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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.'

 

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