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100 per cent renewable energy is possible in 10 years, environmental group says

8th Aug 2013

If the public is willing, Australia could become completely independent of fossil fuels in only 10 years, instead using solar power and other renewable energy sources for 100 per cent of its power.

All this could be accomplished with a budget of about $8 per week, per household. It's surely an amazing feat, and would mark a new era for renewable energy.

The plan was developed by environmental group Beyond Zero Emissions, and what separates it from similar guidelines that would help Australia become a greener country is that it takes a strictly economic stance on the matter.

Environmental preservation just happens to be a wonderful knock-on effect, in the group's eyes.

"With a combination of energy efficiency, fuel switching  from gas and oil to electrified energy services, then using a combination of commercially available renewable energy technologies, Australia’s energy needs can be met with 100% renewables," the group wrote in the report.

Solar energy was specifically identified as a critical factor in making the plan a success. With electricity demand expected to rise 40 per cent by 2020, Australians will need far more sources of energy, which solar, combined with wind, could provide.

Looking at concentrated solar

The growth of small scale, residential solar power has been huge, but the group says that in order to meet the coming demand for electricity, it will take more than just solar rooftops.

Concentrating Solar Thermal was said to be one of the best sources for solar power. Large scale CST projects, used in conjunction with molten salt storage solutions, would be a reliable source of electricity at any hour of the day.

"Solar power towers are proposed because of their technological maturity, higher operating temperatures and efficiency compared to other technologies," the group explained.

CST has so much potential, that Beyond Zero Emissions predicts it could meet about 60 per cent of total grid-based energy demand.

Small scale solar won't be forgotten, though. Solar photovoltaic systems will play a major part in reducing peak demand during daytime hours, which will give CST systems the opportunity to create energy and store it for nighttime use.

The in-depth analysis goes so far as describing where these massive CST towers could be placed around the country to most effectively capture the sun's energy.

If the plan is put into place, it could mean a bright future for Australia is only a decade away.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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