In response to the release of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s integrated system plan, Gavan McFadzean, Climate and Energy Manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), said:
“AEMO’s integrated system plan makes clear the inevitable demise of coal and confirms that Australia can rapidly move to a renewable-powered grid without the need for any new gas.
“The market operator has forecast that nearly two thirds of Australia’s coal generation will retire in the next two decades and this capacity will be replaced by renewable energy.
“All of AEMO’s scenarios have Australia’s electricity market evolving from a centralised coal-reliant generation system, to a highly diverse portfolio with renewables at the heart.
“This forecast supports the case, being made by ACF and many others, for a clean economic recovery rather than backing the jobs-poor and polluting energy sources of the past.
“A report released last week by The Australia Institute and ACF found further investment in gas is a poor use of public money as the industry provides few jobs, pays little tax and would lock in decades of high emissions and high energy prices.
“Renewable energy plus storage is the cheapest form of new power generation in Australia.
“Research by Beyond Zero Emissions has found more than 200,000 jobs could be created over the next five years by accelerating the introduction of renewable energy zones and new transmission infrastructure.
“The National Covid-19 Commission Advisory Board’s push for the Australian public to subsidise more gas, a fossil fuel, must not be allowed to continue.
“Under none of AEMO’s scenarios does the amount of gas burned for electricity in Australia’s main grid increase over the coming decade.
“The NCC Advisory Board should acknowledge the contribution gas makes to climate pollution and how this affects Australia’s international obligations.
“ACF calls on the Federal Government to listen to the market operator and support the rapid transition of the energy system with clear policies and strategic investment in renewable energy, battery storage, dispatchable pumped hydro and new transmission infrastructure.”
Read ACF’s agenda for Australia’s post-COVID recovery, Recover, Rebuild, Renew