Beyond Zero Emissions (DOCX 113 KB)

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Sender: Beyond Zero Emissions Inc.
Address:
Kindness House
Suite 10, Level 1
288 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
Phone: +61 3 9415 1301
[email protected]
Dear Minister Lily D'Ambrosio,
Renewable Energy Roadmap –
Submission from Beyond Zero
Emissions
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Victorian
Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap.
Background
Following the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 there appeared to be general
agreement that the increase in global temperature should be below 2O. However, at just
0.8O of global warming we are already noticing the influence of climate change (Arctic and
Antarctic ice-melting, more damaging tropical storms, more severe bushfires, ocean
acidification, etc.). Many scientists are now warning that there is little or no budget left for
fossil fuel burning if we are to avoid damaging climate change.
Some of the factors that could influence Victoria’s policies are:

Our emissions per capita are amongst the highest in the world.

Our brown coal-fired generators produce relatively cheap electricity, currently
supplying about 85% of our power.

Under current Federal and state government policies, these generators are not
penalised for their relatively high emissions.

The Federal government’s reluctance to put a price on GHG emissions. Can direct
action help in our transition away from fossil fuels?

In the USA regulations have been tightened to reduce emissions from power
generators. This should be considered here, in addition to a VRET.

Energy efficiency measures will reduce electricity demand. On the other hand, more
electricity will be needed for electric road vehicles, expanded tram and train services
and the installation of electric heat pumps replacing gas heaters.

The building of Victoria’s additional renewable energy electricity sources, mainly wind
and PV, should be relatively straight forward. PV prices have dropped by a third over
the past few years and are expected to become cheaper. Batteries for energy
storage are also becoming cheaper. Pumped hydro for energy storage, with wind
power working in conjunction with hydro, will also need to be considered. “Smart
grids” and micro grids will also become more common.

What are the drivers (carrots/sticks)? The original MRET forced “liable entities” such
as energy retailers, to include a specified proportion of the electricity they supply
from renewable energy sources. We suggest the same approach is undertaken for
the VRET.
The most important factor is to ensure that Victorian renewable energy policy remains stable
in the face of changes to Federal government policy. With the emergence of a renewable
energy target and carbon price at Federal levels, state government policies in these areas
were eroded or severely limited. Now that Federal policies on renewable energy and carbon
pricing have been abolished or watered down, there is an absence of sound state
government policy to fill the gap. The VRET and other Victorian renewable energy policies
need to be designed to be robust and withstand these changes in the future.
Terminology
Emission reduction targets are generally expressed as a % reduction relative to the
emissions in a base year. There are various emission sectors such as Economy-wide
Emissions, Emissions from the Stationary Energy sector, Agriculture, etc. It will be easier to
make reductions in some sectors than others.
The Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target (RET) set a target for an additional 20% of
electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 compared with 1997. To provide
certainty, the target for 2020 was set at 41,000 GWh. We expect a Victorian Renewable
Energy Target (VRET) would have a similar type of definition.
The Emission Reduction target considered here have a much broader scope than the
Renewable Energy targets.
Emission Reduction Targets
In the lead up to the 2015 Paris conference industrialised countries have published their
targets for Emission Reductions as listed in Table 1.
Table 1: Emission Reduction Targets, Australia and other industrialised countries for Paris
20151
Location
Base Year
Target Year
Australia
Canada
USA
Japan
EU
New Zealand
2005
2005
2005
2013
1990
2005
2030
2030
2025
2030
2030
2030
Economy-wide
Emissions Reduction
Target
26%-28%
30%
26%-28%
26%
40% at least
30%
The Australian Climate Change Authority (CCA) considers the Australian government
emission reduction targets are inadequate. The CCA Emission Reduction Targets are listed in
Table 2.
Table 2: Climate Change Authority Emission Reduction Targets2
Base Year
Target Year
2000
2000
2000
2020
2025
2030
Economy-wide Emissions
Reduction Target
19%
30%
40%-60%
The “EU Roadmap 2050” is working on a practical guide to achieve at least 80% reduction in
GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 2050.
What should the Victorian Renewable Targets
be?
Recent Australian RET policy announcements are listed in Table 3.
Table 3: Recent RET policy announcements in Australia
Jurisdiction
ACT
South Australia
Queensland
Victoria
Federal Labor
Reduction
90%
50%
50%
20%
50%
By
2020
2025
2030
2020
2030
Assume the base year for these reductions is 2015.
The effect of Victorian Renewable Energy targets will be to grow Victoria’s renewable energy
power resources. However, additional measures will be needed to ensure the increase in
1
Figures 2.8 and 5.2 in https://www.dpmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/Setting%20Australias%20p
ost-2020%20target%20for%20reducing%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions_0.pdf
2
http://www.climatechangeauthority.gov.au/reviews/targets-and-progress-review-3
available renewable energy is accompanied by a corresponding reduction in coal-fired power
generation and the energy contribution from burning gas.
We recognise that reducing Victoria’s GHG emissions from electricity generation will be
relatively straight forward. However, reducing emissions from transport, agriculture and
some industries will be more difficult. Therefore, the VRET reduction rate must be steeper
than the desired GHG emission reduction rate. BZE suggests the VRET should be well below
the CCA Emission Reduction targets (Table 2). We consider Australia should aim to approach
the EU Roadmap 2050 for GHG emissions.
Table 4 lists the suggested VRET targets. Figure 1 compares the renewable energy targets
in different jurisdictions.
Table 4: Suggested Minimum Renewable Energy Targets for Victoria
Year
2015
2020
2025
2030
Renewable Energy Target
0%
33%
67%
100%
Figure 1: Renewable Energy Targets
2015
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
ACT
Queensland
Australian government ERT
South Australia
Federal Labor
Suggested VRET
Beyond Zero Emissions has shown that it is technically possible for Australia to generate
100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. This work has been backed up by
numerous studies, including by the Australian Energy Market Operator. Victoria should set
ambitious renewable energy targets, to meet the climate challenge but also to grow jobs in
the sustainable industries of the future. Victoria is blessed with vast wind resources and
opportunities for pumped storage hydro along the Victorian coastline, as well as solar in its
inland areas.
A target of 90% by 2030 should be seen as a minimum target, with a more ambitious target
of 100% by 2030 also achievable. This is possible to achieve if Victoria also sources its
renewable energy from other jurisdictions, as the ACT is doing to achieve its target of 90%
by 2020.
Opportunities
There is greater growth of renewables than fossil fuelled power plants globally (ref:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/fossil-fuels-just-lost-the-raceagainst-renewables).
Renewables have shown to be cheaper than coal in most jurisdictions. Across the Tasman,
New Zealand has closed the last of its coal-fired power stations (ref:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/cheaper-renewables-force-closure-of-nzs-last- coalfired-power-units-80442). New Zealand has large deposits of coal, but showing itself to be
clean and green is also growing its exports of its agricultural produce and branding its
produce as NZ clean and green.
Lower cost of renewables is not the only reason for the increase in renewables globally. In
the US state of California, with its sizeable contributions from solar power the worst drought
in 1200 years that has depleted hydroelectric power stations has not caused any power
outages as would have happened otherwise (ref:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-26/california-just- had-a-stunningincrease-in-solar).
But it has also meant that most focus of industry and investment has been in the
renewables space.
This is where Australia has suffered. The uncertainty in the country over government policy
has had a disastrous effect on capital flight out of Australia, reduced investment and
consequent job losses.
In Australia, investment in renewables is at its lowest levels since 2009 and has in fact
plummeted. For far too long the renewables industry has been seen as a cost and not as an
opportunity in debates across Australia. With the automotive industry effectively shutting
down, Victoria could create manufacturing opportunities for solar and wind power products.
Summary
Thus in summary this is a crucial milestone for the state of Victoria, a key cross roads. While
coal might have served us well in the past, the continued extension in the life and
serviceability of ageing coal fired power stations is not in the State’s best interest. A more
aggressively targeted approach to expanding the renewable energy industry is important for
the long term future well being and economic sustainability of the people of the state.
The targets we have suggested in this VRET submission, that is 100% by 2030, is both
viable and necessary.
Dr Stephen Bygrave
CEO
Beyond Zero Emissions
28 September 2015
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