IN BRIEF Huge CO savings forecast
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.