CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Australia's great big energy challenge

The energy white paper gets its modelling wrong. But at least it seeks to change the energy debate in Australia by focusing on demand rather than supply.

Climate Spectator

The biggest weakness of the draft energy white paper released this morning by the federal government is not immediately obvious – it’s found on page 269 of the 291-page report. It reveals that the data used by the Department of Resources and Energy for its energy modelling is already out of date.

In a world that is preparing for a dramatic shift in energy sources, a transformation to renewables, smart grids and electric cars – scenarios not invented by green-spinning NGOs, but by the International Energy Agency and the world’s leading industrial groups – Australia’s energy bodies cling grimly to the belief that not much will change, that fossil fuel and its attendees (carbon capture and storage) will continue to dominate.

The white paper acknowledges the existence of the IEA and other international reports, but relies on modelling provided by the likes of Treasury, the Australian Energy Market Operator and its own Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, which predicts that Australia will have between 20.5 per cent and 22.2 per cent of renewables by the year 2030, barely more than its 20 per cent target in 2020.

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