The Australian solar energy sector received a huge morale boost this week with the release of the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics’ Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) Report. Putting the report’s findings in a nutshell, which is always dangerous, it seems previous reports and energy assessments were, to put it bluntly, dead wrong and renewable sources of energy such as solar and onshore wind are set to have the “lowest levelised cost” of all the energy technologies in the country by around 2035.
Such was the scope of the news that even Minister for Resources and Energy Martin “Fossil Fuel” Ferguson was forced to issue a measured and restrained, yet definitely positive press release.
“It [the report] provides important insights into Australia’s potential electricity generation mix out to 2050 and predicts that a number of renewable energy technologies could have the lowest levelised costs within the next 20 years, helping Australia meet its Renewable Energy Target,” the notoriously pro-carbon fuels Fergie no doubt muttered to his press secretary.
“The AETA found that both tracking and non-tracking solar photovoltaic technology could be increasingly cost competitive along with onshore wind,” he added, probably with his fingers crossed behind his back.
If dinosaurs like Fergie are coming on board, the future for renewable energy such as solar looks bright (sorry). Indeed Chief Economist of the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Professor Quentin Grafton summarised the AETA findings as signalling nothing less than an “energy transformation” as we head towards the middle of the 21st century.
“Australia’s energy future is likely to be very different to the present,” he said. “Australia will experience an energy transformation over the coming decades that will have a profound impact for electricity networks, how energy is distributed and on Australia’s ability to meet its targeted greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”
So hop on board the renewable energy express folks. Just make sure that fossil fuel fans like Fergie aren’t in the driver’s seat.