Accelerating Australia’s shift to renewable energy and energy storage is the key to resolving the current energy crisis and ensuring we shift away from unreliable coal and expensive gas. This will deliver a reliable, low-cost and clean power system. But we have no time to waste.
The following is a list of four key solutions that Australia can adopt to ensure that investment in much-needed renewable generation and storage flows quickly. By doing this we can replace fossil fuel generation to deliver a more reliable grid that protects Australian consumers from high and volatile power prices.
- Power more households with clean , low-cost renewable energy
Unreliable coal and expensive gas have caused eye-watering electricity price rises for millions of Australian households and businesses.
While over 3 million homes already have rooftop solar, low-income households, renters and those living in government housing need additional support to take advantage of the considerable cost reduction benefits of rooftop solar.
Governments should also provide support to make household batteries more accessible and accelerate their uptake. This will help consumers manage their power bills while supporting a more reliable and lower-cost electricity grid.
- Modernise the electricity grid
Investment in new transmission is needed to create a modern electricity grid that ensures that cheap, clean power flows from renewable energy projects to where customers need it most.
The grid is crucial to balancing the energy system, but investment in this critical infrastructure has been plagued by bureaucratic processes and regulation that’s not fit-for-purpose.
Rapid implementation of the Federal Government’s Rewiring the Nation initiative, reform of regulatory tests, and collaboration with state governments to bring forward and coordinate new investment is crucial to unlocking the next wave of renewable energy projects.
- Introduce an energy storage target
Energy storage will play a crucial role in supporting the massive amounts of new wind and solar needed for the future. These solutions are already proven, with over 1 GW of utility-scale batteries committed in 2021 alone.
The Federal Government should set a target to deliver 14 GW of storage by 2040 to support investment in new utility-scale batteries, hydro and other storage solutions.
A clear target will improve investor confidence, particularly if it is supported by ARENA, the CEFC and smart market reform to ensure that regulatory barriers are removed and strong incentives for new investment occurs quickly.
- Drop the proposed capacity mechanism in favour of more clean energy
Governments are currently considering the introduction of a new capacity mechanism to ensure that there is enough energy capacity in the system.
However, there is no need for such a mechanism if the right measures are put in place to encourage greater investment in renewables and storage. Clean energy and storage can easily meet all our energy needs without paying unreliable coal and expensive gas to stay open.
A decade of policy inaction has resulted in severe under investment in new energy capacity. Governments should focus on supporting investment in the clean energy solutions of the future rather than prolonging the life of the failing, dirty technologies of the past.