Right now, Australia has a golden opportunity to heed this lesson. Just as Germany must now do some soul-searching on how to increase its climate resilience and energy security, Australia can act decisively to reduce the chance we will find ourselves in the same position as Germany in 10 or 20 years.
But Australia is in a much stronger position with an overabundance of wind and solar resources. With the correct effort and smart investments, our research shows that Victoria can get to coal-free and net-zero by the start of the next decade.
As Environment Victoria’s recent discussion paper The case for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 in Victoria points out, shifting to 100 per cent renewable energy is not only technically achievable within a few years, it’s also economically, socially and politically desirable.
Importantly, there is a staggering range of groups outside the environment movement that corroborates this view.
NSW’s grid operator, Transgrid, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the Grattan Institute, and the Blueprint Institute all agree that this kind of massive and rapid change is feasible – and desirable – for our power grid. Both NSW’s Liberal and Victoria’s Labor governments are also decisively moving in this direction and should be encouraged and supported to move fast enough to meet the challenge.
And the best news is that the rapid growth in renewables is already saving households money. Modeling released by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in November last year shows that an influx of renewables and battery storage is expected to reduce wholesale electricity prices by around 39 per cent or $207 in Victoria by 2024.
As Chris Uhlmann has indicated, transforming our energy system to renewables will take mammoth effort. It will take resources, determination, and focus.
Better those efforts are focused on securing the net-zero economy now so that they will make us more resilient and energy independent, while providing long-term energy security. Instead of chastising forward-thinking states from making bold energy transitions today, we should applaud them for not repeating Germany’s mistake of over-reliance on so-called “transition” fuels.