WWF urges Aussie parties to pledge to 100% renewables by 2035
In a new report published today, WWF-Australia urged all parties preparing for the upcoming Aussie federal election to commit to a transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, pointing out that baseload power would not be needed.
The organisation says that Australia already has the technology to keep the lights on 24/7 using only renewables and without relying on polluting baseload energy. The idea is to deploy huge volumes of renewables across the country and use batteries to store energy in view of the fall in the prices of such systems.
An exemplary green system would include both variable and dispatchable renewables, WWF says. For instance, wind and solar could be used to generate the bulk of electricity, while concentrated solar power (CSP) with thermal storage would ramp up as required to fill the gap and cater to demand.
To reach the point where Australia has a 100% renewable system, however, the country needs to introduce key market reforms as a first step, the organisation says.
“In Australia we are used to the idea of ‘baseload energy’ being the energy that ensures we can flick the lights on at any point in the night, but that’s old thinking,” said Adrian Enright, climate change policy manager at WWF-Australia. He added that some of the country’s existing baseload capacity was constructed before man first landed on the moon. Moreover, about 75% of those plants are already beyond their intended operating life, the report says.
In Australia, 100% renewable energy has already become a reality in given periods. For example, South Australia has achieved 100% renewables across whole working days, WWF Australia notes, concluding that "the mindset of baseload sould become a concept of our 20th century history rather than letting it hold us back well into the 21st".