“Land Down Under” Turning Away From Coal

The Commonwealth of Australia, also known as the “Land Down Under” has a population of approximately 25.62 million[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Australia’s economy was ranked 14th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on export of iron ore, coal, liquified natural gas, gold, copper, cattle, sheep, and wheat.

In 2009, the Australian government established a renewable energy target (RET) of generating 20% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

In 2016, Australia signed the Paris Climate Agreement [4]and committed to a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

In 2019, Australian utilities used coal (56%), natural gas (23%) and renewable energy (21%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Wind, solar, and hydropower are the primary sources of renewable energy in Australia.

Australia has long been dependent on coal for power. However, the country is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission and dramatically increasing the development of massive new wind and solar projects, including:

  • 15,000 MW Renewable Energy Hub – In November 2020, the state of Western Australia gave environmental approval for a wind and solar energy hub, which will be located approximately 800 miles northeast of the state capital, Perth.
  • 1,200 MW Wind + 600 MW Solar + 600 MW Energy Storage Project – French renewable energy company, Neoen has announced plans to build the Goyder South wind, solar, and energy storage project in the state of South Australia.
  • 1,100 MW Wind Project – Australian wind energy company, Westwind Energy has begun work on the Golden Plains Wind Farm, which will be located in the state of Victoria.
  • 255 MW Solar Project – In November 2020, the Sunraysia Solar Farm was formerly commissioned in the state of New South Wales.
  • 210 MW Wind + 107 MW Solar Project – Spanish utility, Iberdrola has commenced work on a wind and solar hybrid project in the state of South Australia. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – Spanish renewable energy company, X-Elio has commenced work on the Blue Grass Solar Farm, located in the state of Queensland. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.

Australia is making a concerted effort to move from coal to renewable energy for domestic power. However, Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquified natural gas in the world.

Australia is on track to meet their 2016 Paris Climate Agreement targets. However, Australia’s carbon footprint from coal and liquified natural gas exports is comparable to much larger, industrialized nations.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

 

 

[1] Australia  Population (2020) – World Population Review, November 27, 2020

[2] Australia  – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] Australian Energy Statistics, Electricity Generation by Fuel Type 2019, energy.gov.au

 

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