We are being Green – Australia on track for Garnaut-10 emission reduction
Whenever I do a talk or presentation on future grid carbon intensity and I present an option that says we will either follow Garnaut-10 ( 10% on 2000 levels by 2020) or Garnaut-25 ( 25% on 2000 levels by 2020) I usually get a comment along the lines of “that will never happen, the government wont commit, the cost will be too high, there isn’t enough support for it”. And it then gets dismissed as an optimists dream.
Well, I am glad to say that the optimists dream is turning in to reality – so far.
Positive Unintended Consequences
I posted a while ago about the positive unintended consequences of a reduced demand on the grid combined with a regulatory requirement for utility providers to achieve a minimum renewable energy amount.
The net result has been a significant reduction in grid carbon intensity over the last 6 or so years in Australia, particularly in South Australia.
So how does it fit with Garnaut?
There were two positions put forward by Garnaut – 25% reduction on 2000 levels, and a fall back position of 10% reduction on 2000 levels if there wasn’t the political will. When you work back from 25% by 2020 you get an average of 4% per year, and to achieve 10% reduction you get an average of 1.5% per year.
So, how are we going?
Well, our average Australian grid carbon intensity has been dropping by roughly 2% per annum for the last 5 years, exceeding Garnaut-10.
In South Australia, in large part thanks to their commitment to renewables they have been dropping their intensity by 4% per annum per year. On target for Garnaut’s recommendation of 25% by 2020 – Go South Australia, that is awesome.
Can we keep going?
In the optimists dream, yeah of course we can.
According to Stanwix only 2 of the 21 major energy projects in planning stage at the moment are using coal, 4 are gas and the rest are renewables!
Looks like my optimists dream is playing out!