Last Friday, the soon-to-be-broken-up Department of the Environment and Energy released their latest emissions projections. And like every other time these sorts of reports come out, it raises a few questions.
First up, Australia is projected to hit just 16% below our 2005 emissions levels by 2030. This is almost half the (minimum) 26-28% we pledged as part of the Paris Agreement, and explains why the Coalition is so keen to use their carry-over credit trick to cheat the system. That is, if the plan survives a “betrayal of trust” debate at the upcoming Madrid summit.
Secondly, that 16% assumes a renewables growth to roughly 48% of Australia’s electricity needs. The National Electricity Market (NEM) — the grid across the east coast of Australia — will hit 51%, while WA is expected to jump to 55%. Smaller regional grids will only get to 18%.
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That nearly 50% renewables target is a far from impossible “neutral” scenario — most states have that as a target already, South Australia is already there, a number of coal plants are set to shut down in the next decade, and we’ll see storage ramp up with Snowy 2.0, the Battery of the Nation, and new pumped hydro.
But punters might remember that “50% by 2030” was literally Labor’s renewable target at the last election. The one that — paired with a 45% emissions target that would invariably require cuts in non-electricity sectors — the Coalition and their friends at The Australian claimed would basically bankrupt Australia.
Funny how things change.