IN BRIEF Huge CO sav­ings fore­cast

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

US­ING only small im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing tech­nolo­gies, Aus­tralia in the­ory could re­duce car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from sta­tion­ary en­ergy to 50 per cent be­low 2001 emis­sions lev­els by 2040. This is the con­clu­sion from sce­nar­ios de­vel­oped by Hugh Sad­dler of con­sult­ing firm En­ergy Strate­gies, Mark Diesendorf, a re­searcher from the Univer­sity of New South Wales, and Richard Den­niss, then a re­searcher for The Aus­tralia In­sti­tute, a pub­lic pol­icy anal­y­sis cen­tre.

Their work, pub­lished ear­lier this year in the jour­nal En­er­gy­Pol­icy , looked at three clean-en­ergy sce­nar­ios fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency de­mand and mode of en­ergy sup­ply. Two of the sce­nar­ios in­cluded what the re­searchers called medium en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency de­mand. It would see sta­tion­ary en­ergy de­mand in 2040 reach a fig­ure 20 per cent lower than when base-case ef­fi­ciency de­mand pre­vailed.

Sce­nar­ios also fea­tured ei­ther the re­place­ment of only pre-2000 coal-fired power sta­tions with ‘‘ a much cleaner sup­ply mix’’, or the re­place­ment of all coal-fired power sta­tions.

The prin­ci­pal en­ergy sources in the cleaner sup­ply were nat­u­ral gas, biomass residues and wind power. The three clean-en­ergy sce­nar­ios re­vealed car­bon diox­ide emis­sions re­duc­tions rang­ing be­tween 42 and 55 per cent, com­pared with emis­sions from sta­tion­ary en­ergy in 2001. But if the base-case level of ef­fi­ciency de­mand held sway to 2040 with­out any changes to en­ergy sup­ply modes, car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from the sta­tion­ary en­ergy sec­tor would be 21 per cent higher than in 2001, the re­searchers said.

If sig­nif­i­cant tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions such as low-cost so­lar elec­tric­ity crop up, emis­sions re­duc­tions of 80 per cent or more may be pos­si­ble in the years be­yond 2050, ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers. Sta­tion­ary en­ergy in­cludes all en­ergy gen­er­a­tion out­side of trans­port. Sta­tion­ary en­ergy ac­counts for about half of Aus­tralia’s to­tal car­bon diox­idee­quiv­a­lent emis­sions, ac­cord­ing to na­tional green­house gas in­ven­tory fig­ures.

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