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February 20th 2012 print

Val Majkus

Colossal pain & no gain

An important new study critiques Green illusions of renewable electricity.

The Australian Greens policy is for Australia to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as is feasible and by no later than 2050. How feasible is this?

Warwick Hughes has posted an important paper by Peter Lang which responds to a simulation prepared by researchers at the University of New South Wales which considered the situation of Australia’s national electricity market with 100% renewable electricity.

The simulation scenario (pdf) is here…

The response by Peter Lang (pdf) is here…

Peter Lang estimates the costs to be: $568 billion capital cost, $336/MWh cost of electricity and $290/tonne CO2 abatement cost. That is, the wholesale cost of electricity for the simulated system would be SEVEN times more than now, with an abatement cost that is THIRTEEN times the starting price of the Australian carbon tax and THIRTY times the European carbon price at the time of writing (12/2/2012.) And that does not include costs for the existing electricity network. Peter also says the electricity supply as projected in the 100% Renewable Electricity paper would be unreliable.

Warwick Hughes in his succinct style paints the picture of how life might be in the 100% clean energy future.

I can see I’m going to need a lot of skills I’m currently lacking. And I’ll have to start saving for my future electricity bills.

See Warwick Hughes on the colossal costs of conversion here...