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WA could use 100 per cent renewables by 2029, say Greens

11th Feb 2013

The WA Greens have followed the announcement of plans to install solar PV on all WA public housing with a proposal that would see the state switch completely to renewable energy by 2029.

A new study commissioned by Greens senator Scott Ludlam proposes two scenarios to achieve 100 per cent clean energy.

Energy 2029 demonstrates that the overall cost of switching the state's energy reliance to renewable sources would be similar to that of continuing along the current path of gas and coal dependence.

While the capital costs of the two renewable scenarios sketched were higher, the Greens say they would become competitive over time due to the elimination of future fuel costs.

Mr Ludham didn't mince words when he announced the study on Sunday (February 10), according to an article published today in WA Today.

"The state government is actually proposing to spend a quarter of a billion dollars refurbishing the obsolete Muja coal-fired power station and that for me is all you need to know about how wrong this government's priorities

"For that amount of money you can actually start buying serious renewable energy," said Mr Ludham.

The first scenario proposed in the Greens study sees the majority of electricity needs being met through the use of large-scale solar concentration fields, with the balance provided by solar photovoltaic panel systems, wind power generators and a smaller number of biomass, wave power and geothermal generators.

The second would rely mostly on low cost renewables like solar PV and wind power, with biomass and pumped-hydro generation providing backup.

The Greens also intend to halve WA's electricity consumption by 2029, which Mr Ludham says can be achieved through a combination of improving energy efficiency, fuel switching and energy conservation.

The release of analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week confirmed that wind power was already cheaper than coal and gas in Australia.

Furthermore, it was predicted that by the time more baseload capacity would be needed in a decade's time, solar power generation - including concentrated solar plants like those the Greens propose - would have also leap-frogged fossil fuels in the affordability stakes.

Renew Economy columnist Giles Parkinson predicts that by 2020 the new plants Australia will be building will be large-scale solar with storage capability.

"The question should not be how quickly we can move it to 100 per cent renewables, but to ensure we don't hang on to antiquated policies and business practices designed only to slow it down," said Mr Parkinson in an article published February 8.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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