Renewables to Cancel Coal in Australia?
A higher carbon price could make providing all of Australia's energy needs cost-effective by 2030, suggests a new study published in Energy Policy.
Under the current carbon tax that went into effect last July, any firm emitting over 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually must acquire a permit for the cost of $23 per metric ton of CO2 emitted—a price expected to rise over the next four decades. The study tested a number of simulations to figure out when national electrical supply provided entirely by renewables would become cheaper than a fossil fuel-powered scheme. According to researchers' findings, a renewable energy-powered Australia would become cost-effective between 2030 and 2034, with a CO2 price of $50 to $60.
With mature projects in place, wind power alone is expected to provide about half of the country's electricity generation, with solar, hydroelectricity and biofuels providing the rest. Such moves are particularly critical in a land where climate change has led to unbearably hot summers, among other climatic extremes.
Related Story: The Tides Turn in Renewable Energy
In face, it's already paying off. Thanks to a recent reduction in power demand and a burgeoning renewables market, Australia's carbon emissions are at a ten year-low, according to research firm RepuTex. Coal-fired power has also slumped to its lowest level of output, and now comprises of 74.8 per cent of the country's energy mix compared to 85 per cent in 2009.
"Renewables are basically cancelling out coal," RepuTex executive director Hugh Grossman told AAP.
Of course, the innovative carbon pricing mechanisms introduced last July have played an integral role.
"This is a very positive step for the global effort on climate change. It shows that the world's most emissions-intensive advanced economy is prepared to use a market mechanism to cut carbon emissions in a low-cost way," said Deutsche Bank carbon analyst Tim Jordan to MSNBC.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.