Matthew Wright (Executive Director, Beyond Zero Emissions) speaking at launch of Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report
Packed auditorium for the launch of the 'Zero Carbon Australia 2020' report by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and Melbourne University Energy Institute on July 14, 2010 at Melbourne University.
"The premise of a 10 year transition is based on ‘The Budget Approach’ from the German Advisory Council on Global Change. In order to have a 67% chance of keeping global warming below 2oC above pre-industrial temperatures, on a basis of equal allocation of emissions on a per-capita basis, it would be necessary for the USA to reduce emissions to zero in 10 years. Australia has the same per-capita emissions as the USA, and would need to pursue the same goal," the plan says.
The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 synopsis calls for 40% renewable energy from wind generation, 60% from large scale concentrating solar thermal power with molten salt storage for 24/7 baseload operation, and backup from Hydro-electric and biomass power generation. The plan specifies sites around Australia that are selected for their wind availability, solar incidence, economy of scale, transmission costs, technical efficency, and geographical diversity: 23 sites for wind, and 12 sites for Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST). The plan is based only on existing commercial technology.
The plan has been costed at $370 billion, or about 3 per cent of GDP per year for 10 years. It could become a 21st century equivalent of the Snowy Mountains Scheme creating up to 80,000 jobs from installation of renewable energy generation at the peak of construction, and over 45,000 jobs in operations and maintenance that will continue for the life of the plant. Such a scheme would also generate up to 30,000 jobs in manufacturing wind turbines and heliostats.
Business as usual energy investment over the next ten years is estimated to be $100 billion, to put into perspective the estimated costs of this plan of $370 billion. Electricity costs are expected to surge with business as usual due to the business investment uncertainty of not having a carbon price.
You can download the full report as a PDF.
See also Indymedia story, 28 June 2010: Renewable energy target: 20 by 2020 or zero emissions by 2020?