Australia to finally have a transitional renewable energy plan

Finally, Australia’s transition to renewable energy is going to have a plan: the Australian Energy Market Operator is laying out a detailed plan on how to almost completely decarbonise the Australian grid by 2050. And it is hugely significant.

Over the past 10 years, there have been numerous studies by numerous high profile industry and research organisations, showing Australia can reach 100 per cent renewables.

For the first time, this new work by AEMO – part of the updated Integrated System Plan to be finalised next year – is a roadmap of how to get there, including the infrastructure, rule changes and investment we will need.

And that is what makes AEMO’s work so important. This is no theoretical exercise. Governments might have given up on that idea, but thankfully not AEMO.

The so-called “step change” plan is one of five different scenarios to be modelled by AEMO in its forthcoming ISP, including one horror show scenario that assumes that we go even slower with the transition than we are now.

There is also a business as usual scenario, effectively based on the current policy settings at federal and state level. And another that models what happens if technology and economics lead the way.

But the step-change scenario is the only one that acknowledges both the science on climate change and what Australia and 193 other countries signed up to do in Paris – to keep global warming to well below 2°C and hopefully below 1.5°C.

It would, of course, need some additional policy mechanisms, but it doesn’t have to be a carbon price. It could be auctions, or mandates. That will be for future governments to decide.


  1. I have some questions the answers to which I have not seen from any of the renewable protagonist:
    1. How will city dwellers (apartments) be addressed for supply from solar or wind?
    2. What is the proposal for mass storage to allow 100% reliance on infrequent generators?
    3. Has the cost and technical viability of transmission lines from large solar/wind farms been addressed and included in budgets?
    4. Has the 100% reliance on renewables been costed and who pays?
    5. Have all of the above theoretical proposals been checked for engineering viability – that is will they work?

    1. Hi John,
      Some councils – including North Sydney and a few of the Eastern Suburbs councils have apartment programs – aimed at installing PV, and renewable heat for hot water systems – ie heat pumps + a range of other efficiency programs
      see “Futureproofing Apartments” in case you are in North Sydney

    2. Hi John,
      Its great to see someone is asking these questions, rather than using FUD to question whether a 100% renewable energy sector can be achieved. In answer to the wuestions you cannot seem to find answers to (although it wasn’t hard for me)
      1. The solar area footprint to vertical living density ratio will be offset by warehouse roofing in the industrial estates that exist in every city. There will also be oversupply from residential subirb roofs, solar farms and offshore wind generation.
      2. Google Elon Musk South Australia to find the answer you are trying so hard to find. This solution provides a much more pure form (sinewave) of electricity and buffers the network from intermittent supply and dirty signals from non renewable generators.
      3. Yes! There is actually a good problem to have in this space where our electricity lines (infrastructure) has over invested in line capacity. The distributed nature of solar on roofs means less transmission line capacity will be needed. The only negative with the overinvestment is the higher service charges we have all been paying recently. Once rooftop solar makes up more than 100% of peak usage (it is already happening in some states) the electricity providers will have to continue to raise the daily service charge in order to pay off the line upgrades that were never actually needed.
      4. Yes! It actually costs less! The consumer and providers pay less! Isn’t that great?
      5. See answers to questions 2 and 3, the transmission infrastructure is already in place, the technology already exists. The only thing holding renewables back is lack of clear government policy, but there is enough renewables deployed and business recognition that the technology has an acceptable level of low risk and ROI that AEMO has ackowledged the way forward without Government direction.

    3. Hi John, 1/- city dwellers will continue to be connected to the national Grid.
      2/- your question is marred by asssumptions, but here is the answer.
      3/- ref. to 2, High Voltage DC, (HVDC) is now a maturing technology, by itself it is an amazing way to distribute power from many sources all over Australia, – what makes it particularly cost effective is that the Govt only has to provide the conectivity, the Solar/Wind/tidal/storage, etc. will be provided by Private Industry, at it’s own cost, as is being currently provided.
      4/-, see 3, but critically, the Coal industry in America is collapsing due to it’s inability to compete with renewables as they are so cheap, both the coal industry and the Renewables industry have been evaluated by the market forces of every day humans, so the 100% costing has been decided, Renewables are cheaper, ie less than 100%, possibly as much as half, possibly more.
      5/- all these technologies have been operating for many years now except Tidal, Wave and Bio.
      Tidal, – basically cut down wind turbines under the sea, is really developing now, as strategists see that the ability to predict the tidal flow caused by the moon is thousands of years, and water is very energy dense, so as the renewable energy component increases, such technologies as the use of the Hydro system and Pumped Hydro become cheaper and cheaper, – after all that is already decades old technology, just increased by the new high efficiency electricmotors/ Digital transformers/etc.
      Bio, I would suggest looking at Sweden.

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