Renewable transition could save Australia $90b

Renewable transition could save Australia $90b

Converting Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 could save the country US$90 billion, a new report says from the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney.

Building new infrastructure to generate renewable energy for transport, electricity and industry from now until 2050 would cost Australia around $800 billion. It would also save the economy up to $740 billion, saving $90 billion up until 2050.

Sydney’s University of Technology report is the first complete study that surveys a scenario where not just electricity, but all transport and heat used by industry is changed into 100 per cent renewable energy in the country.

The report uses a model developed by the German Aerospace Agency and Greenpeace which helped advise how Germany would carry out its 80 per cent renewable energy target for 2050.

It is authorised by organisations GetUp and Solar Citizens and examines three scenarios for Australia’s energy system:

  • The continuance of government policies and forecasts where gas, coal and other fossil fuels will keep being used.
  • Electricity generation completely converted to renewable energy by 2030, but gas and oil will still be used for transport and heat.
  • Electricity generation is entirely transitioned to renewable energy by 2030 and all transport and heat is converted by 2050.

The report says the first scenario would require a considerable amount of infrastructure investment with $150 billion spent by 2050 and both renewable schemes are found to be cheaper than the current scenario by 2020.

“If we decide to go all the way to 100 per cent renewable energy Australia can get an $800 billion slice of the global renewable investment boom,” said Miriam Lyons, a senior campaigner at GetUp. “There is a great big gap that’s been left by the end of the mining investment boom.”