CSIRO aims to cut electricity costs and increase renewable energy

Peter Terlato 28 April 2017

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Households could save up to $414 a year on bills by 2050.

Following two years of close collaboration, Australia's federal agency for scientific research and the representative body for the nation's gas and electricity networks have produced a comprehensive energy transformation plan, focused on a more sustainable mix of renewable power, the eradication of emissions and the ability to save the average Australian household more than $400 a year on electricity costs.

The CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia have released the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, which proposes a range of different scenarios designed to facilitate Australia's transition into a more cost-effective, efficient and carbon-free electricity generation network.

The Roadmap anticipates Australian households could save up to $414 a year on electricity bills by 2050.

And how does it propose to do this? One of the potential scenarios suggests a policy where all electricity must be generated from renewable sources, to be implemented as an extension of the Renewable Energy Target of 100% by 2050. To overcome the intermittency of some renewable technologies, CSIRO used battery storage as the primary backup system, since it's emission-free.

The report revealed that by 2030, around 40% of both Victoria and Western Australia's energy could be generated by intermittent renewables, as is currently the case in South Australia. New South Wales and Queensland are expected to follow suit during the same decade as their coal-fired generators shut down.

CSIRO chief economist Paul Graham said the closure of these plants will mean that the eastern states may need to construct as many as five intermittent renewable generation projects a year, for five years.

"To achieve deep decarbonisation while keeping the lights on, it’s likely the eastern states will depend on the equivalent of 25 new large-scale solar or wind farms being built in just a five year window with new building activity focusing on Victoria in the 2020s, New South Wales and Queensland in the 2030s and Victoria and Queensland in the 2040s," he said.

Projected percentage of energy generated by renewable sources:

State:201720302050
New South Wales14%28%100%
Victoria16%40%100%
Queensland8%12%100%
South Australia44%55%100%
Western Australia19%44%100%
Tasmania86%84%100%

Projected greenhouse gas emission reductions:

State:201720302050
New South Wales8%39%100%
Victoria24%54%100%
Queensland0%21%100%
South Australia11%42%100%
Western Australia14%33%100%
Tasmania20%20%100%

Many Australians already enjoy the benefits of renewable energy. The number of national rooftop solar installations swelled in March, the highest monthly total since mid-2012, according to the latest statistics.

Australia's first Tesla Powerwall owners reduced their energy bills by more than $2,100 in the past 12 months, saving 92.2% on their annual energy bills and paying just 50 cents per day to power their homes.

Continuing its ongoing sustainability efforts in Australia, homewares retailer IKEA recently launched a new range of rechargeable batteries and chargers, which could save households up to $298 a year.

Discover everything you need to know about generating your own electricity using Solar Power Finder.

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