According to a report from the Grattan Institute, Australia will struggle to meet its emission targets while producing electricity at a reasonable costs – that is, unless the government supports low emission technologies.
The Institute’s Energy Program Director, Tony Wood, believes the government must introduce new policies to support the carbon pricing scheme including boosting deployment of nuclear power, wind, solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal, carbon capture and storage and bio-energy at scale.
While the report finds that all of these technologies face obstacles to achieving their full potential, they would contribute significantly to meeting Australia’s electricity needs… although there was no guarantee that investments in any of these alternatives would make electricity more affordable (or acceptable) in the long run.
“There are no quick fixes or easy choices for Australia’s energy future,” Mr Wood said.
Another recommendation from the report (and one which we fully support), was that governments should act to ensure there is a level playing field for all power-generating technologies and that they should end subsidies to existing technologies, such as the one announced recently by the New South Wales government for coal production.
They should remove the obstacles that impede technologies such as wind and geothermal from connecting at large-scale to electricity grids that were built around the needs of very large fossil-fuel plants.
My Wood believes that “Government support could include backing for research and development, and sponsoring exploration, demonstration and early-stage deployment of low- emission technologies”.
The controversial report is not without its critics. Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions believes the report is biased, flawed and contrains “glaring omissions” stating that “we do not expect a suburban Woolworths to compete with food prices at the Footscray Wholesale Fruit and Veg market. Yet this is what the Grattan Institute has done by ignoring the differences between the wholesale and retail electricity markets”.
Let us know what you think about the report in the comments below.