Australia to be a part of huge Asian renewable energy growth

23rd Aug 2013

A new report from GlobalData shows that investment in renewable energy, including solar power, is up across the Asia Pacific region.

This will lead to a surge in new solar capacity in Australia, where cumulative installations jumped from 849 megawatts in 2001 to nearly 6,000 megawatts in 2012. Combined with wind power, solar energy made up 80 per cent of all renewable energy by the end of 2012.

"Most countries are supporting renewable sources in order to aid recovery from the economic downturn," said Swati Singh, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power.

"Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) are the two most prominent support mechanisms implemented by countries that are driving renewable energy market development."

Although China will continue to be the dominant player in Asia-Pacific's solar power market, Australia and India will both rise in the ranks in the coming years. The growth will be spurred by a greater number of subsidies, rebates and incentive programs, the report showed.

Benefiting North Australia

One expert says the growth in China and the rest of the Asia will have a tremendous impact on the potential for renewable energy in Australia's north.

Andrew Campbell, director of the Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University, recently wrote that in the coming decades, Australia could be a part of a multi-national plan that could lower energy costs, lower pollution and help the world wean itself off fossil fuels.

It's an ambitious plan, but Mr Campbell says it's doable, and the planning is in fact underway right now.

"It takes several existing technologies already in widespread deployment, and joins them together in a new configuration on an unprecedented scale, in a region with enormous natural competitive advantage – northwestern Australia," he explained. 

The system would become an Asian supergrid connecting northern Australia with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Southeast Asia and China.

The costs would be staggering – about $500 billion, actually – but when compared with what it would take Indonesia by itself to meet its own energy demands, the costs don't seem as bad. Currently, the country says it would need to spend $1 trillion on new generation facilities to meet demand by 2050.

Asia's supergrid is certainly a novel idea, but it's ideas like these that will help the world solve the crisis of ever-growing electricity rates and greenhouse gas emissions.

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