Coalition said 50% renewables would wreck the economy. Now their modest climate targets depend on it | RenewEconomy

Coalition said 50% renewables would wreck the economy. Now their modest climate targets depend on it

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Taylor’s emission cut plan – “to the last tonne” – reveals Coalition expects to reach 50% renewables by 2030, a target it had insisted was reckless.

Source: Tilt Renewables.
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Remember how the federal Coalition government described Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target for 2030 “as reckless” and an “economy wrecker.”

Energy minister Angus Taylor even went so far as saying that that level of renewables would “de-industrialse the economy”. Now, it turns out, Taylor is relying on Australia reaching 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 to deliver the only physical cut in emissions that he expects to achievein the next 10 years.

The extraordinary admission is included in the latest update on the country’s emissions outlook, which Taylor – who doubles as emissions reductions minister – says outlines “to the last tonne” how the Coalition is tracking towards the government target of cutting overall emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.

The document says that target will be exceeded, but only through the use of an accounting loophole dammed by climate scientists and rejected by more than 100 countries at the climate talks in Madrid. The other major source of reductions comes through the dramatic switch to a level of renewables that the Coalition insisted in the last election campaign was impossible and would kill the economy.

The document, titled Australia’s emissions projections 2019, assumes that the country’s main grid reaches 51 per cent renewable by 2030 after doubling the installed capacity of rooftop solar, large scale solar and wind energy over the next decade.

South Australia, a state the Coalition has sought to ridicule for its growing dependence on wind and solar, is assumed to source 96 per cent of its electricity supply from those very technologies by 2030. The state Liberal government has a target of “net 100 per cent” renewables by 2030.

Taylor has repeatedly said there is already too much wind and solar in the grid, and his conservative colleagues have insisted that modern economies cannot be powered by “intermittent” wind and solar.

The assumptions in the government document confirms that almost everything the Coalition has said in its campaigns against Labor’s target has been complete bollocks. Indeed, it turns out that the only reduction in Australia’s physical emissions are delivered by a policy it tried to kill (renewable energy target) and via technologies the Coalition claimed would kill the economy.

The 50 per cent target was hardly a stretch target, given the expectation of state demand, corporate demand and rooftop solar, and this document still underplays some of the take up of large scale solar. But it also makes you wonder if Labor will now have the courage to defend and re-embrace those very same targets that it is now being pressured to drop.

Taylor, a prominent anti-wind campaigner before entering parliament, is predicting that the amount of wind energy will nearly double over the next decade to 18GW despite the lack of any federal subsidies. A third of the coal fleet is predicted to retire by 2030, and one tenth of the gas fleet.

The forecast uptake of renewables is based on state-based targets in Victoria and Queensland being met, or nearly met in the case of Queensland, but even Western Australia reaches 55 per cent renewables by 2030. The only sector dragging its heals is NSW (40 per cent) and off-grid generation (18 per cent).

The uptake of renewables is the only really good news in the emissions forecasts, because the federal Coalition government prediction is that emissions rise in almost every other part of the economy – including agriculture, transport, direct combustion and fugitive emissions.

The government only reaches the bottom end of the 26-28 per cent Paris target by counting “excess credits” from the Kyoto targets to 2012 (when Australia was allowed to increase its emissions significantly) and to 2020, when it was required to achieve only a minor decline.

Climate experts say using these surpluses is a fraud, and its use is opposed by most other countries. Without the surplus, Australia would fall 365 million tonnes short of its 26 per cent target, and 411 million tonnes short of the 28 per cent target. (These targets are a “carbon budget” of cumulative emissions over the decade to 2030).

In terms of annual emissions, the government’s own actions will result in only slight falls by 2030 from current levels, and will be show minimal reductions from 2000 levels.The 2030 target shows a reduction of just 21 million tonnes in annual emissions by 2030, even after 49 million tonnes are cut from electricity, thanks to the uptake of renewables that the Coalition had said was not possible. Emissions in virtually every other sector are predicted to rise.

“These declines are driven by the projected continued decarbonisation of electricity generation across the country, including the country’s largest market, the NEM (National Electricity Market),” the report says.

“Large deployment of renewables, in particular rooftop solar, form a growing share of generation in the NEM.” Last year, the document predicted renewables would deliver only one third of the emissions reductions it predicts now.

The document says the overall predictions do not include any further emissions reductions that could be achieved through the switch to electric vehicles, another contentious point during the election campaign.

Labor wanted electric vehicles to reach 50 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2030, but the government said that would “end the weekend” and increase costs.

The Coalition is expected to unveil its EV strategy in 2020, but past forecasts from the government have assumed that the 50 per cent target it had decried would be reached anyway. The latest document assumes a 19 per cent share for electric vehicles in new car sales by 2030, but does not take into account any new policies.

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  1. PLDD 8 months ago

    The battery line is interesting. We start with zero in 2020. Are we planning to close the ones that exist and are being built. IIRC we must be up to at least 0.25 GW by 2020.

    And no line for small distrusted batteries. Lots of household batteries and hopefully grid connected EV’s acting as virtual power plants for evening peaks etc.

    Looks like the people who put this report together are either pretty conservative or a bit disconnected from how the market is evolving.

  2. Glynn Palmer 8 months ago

    The 2030 baseline projection indicates a total reduction of annual emissions of 3.95% from June 2019 (532.0mtpa) to 2030 (511 mtpa) (including land use (LULUCF)). Excluding LULUCF it is a reduction from June 2019 (551mtpa) to 2030 (521mtpa) or 5.5%. 2030 Budget trajectory (26% target) Mt CO2-e 447mtpa; 28% target 435mtpa.

    By sector the changes from June 2019 to 2030 are:
    Jun-19 2030 change%
    Electricity June 2019 179.9mtpa; 2030 131mtpa; change -27.18%
    Stationary Direct Combustion June 2019 100.8mtpa; 2030 106mtpa; change +5.16%
    Transport June 2019 100.4mtpa; 2030 108mtpa; change +7.57%
    Fugitive emissions June 2019 56.4 mtpa; 2030 59mtpa; change +4.61%
    Industrial June 2019 34.7mtpa; 2030 32mtpa; change -7.78%
    Agriculture June 2019 67.4mtpa; 2030 74mtpa; change +9.79%
    Waste June 2019 11.8mtpa; 2030 11mtpa; change -6.78%
    Land Use June 2019 -19.3mtpa; 2030 -10mtpa; change +48.19%
    Total June 2019 532.0mtpa; 2030 511mtpa; change -3.95%

    excl LULUCF June 2019 551.3mtpa; 2030 521.0mtpa; change -5.50%

    The biggest contributor to the reduction is in the electricity sector with a reduction from June 2019 to 2030 of 49mtpa or -27.2%. Renewables share of generation are projected to increase from about 21% in 2018 to 27% in 2020 to 48% in 2030. The projections include an assumption that Liddell will close in 2022 despite The Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor saying recently that the replacement should be “like for like” or extension.

    Business is driving this small reduction in emissions over the next decade. LNP government covert policy is to protect the mining and burning of fossil fuels with everything they can muster.

  3. Maddogeco 8 months ago

    The growth numbers in the mid size solar segment are far too low. This is the segment is the shopping centers, warehouses, manufacturers, schools, wineries and office buildings. There will be massive growth here.

  4. Tristan 8 months ago

    WA will double renewable generation in 5 years! And going from one of the lowest to one of the highest in 10 years. That will be interesting to watch how it plays out. The states plans for the electricity system will be revealed next year.

  5. Markus H 8 months ago

    Just look at the assumed growth from 2019 to 2020 alone:

    NEM from 22% to 31% (annual growth rate 40%)
    Qld from 12% to 22% (up 83%)
    Vic from 21% to 36% (up 71%)
    SA from 51% to 69% (up 35%)
    NSW from 15% to 19% (up 27%)
    Tas from 95% to 100% (up 5%)

    Note that the Tasmania data would imply closure of Tamar Valley Power
    Station within the next 24 days. Not a Liberals’ policy I know of.

    The 2019 figures are calculated using Opennem data from Dec 2018 to Dec 2019.

  6. Ian 8 months ago

    The Coalitions targets are not targets but at best predictions and at worst restrictions on renewables 😉

  7. Ray Miller 8 months ago

    Sorry the figures have a think layer of fairy dust.
    On energy generation;

    My estimation is that the coal figures are the most inaccurate, when it comes down to it they are the greatest carbon liability, the most unreliable and most costly to run, especially when a great deal more is demanded in every increasing temperatures which their designers only thought were outlier cases but proving to be the norm.
    – the transport sector is in for major disruption (before 2030); if batteries achieve decreasing cost making BEV cost of ownership equal to ICE by 2023 even without local encouragement. i.e. Brisbane metro has ordered 60 BEV units as public , owners see the cost of ownership plus all the other advantage make going BEV more then economical.

    – most of the other sectors will be under considerable shareholder pressure to improve their carbon footprint or suffer very negative public reactions.
    While its difficult at present to be optimistic the tide is turning and will become a tsunami anyone not surfing will get drowned.

  8. Craig Fryer 8 months ago

    What about the “Land use, land use change and forestry”. Those proposed figures are completely wrong. Land clearing hasn’t stopped. The increase in bush fires is increasing CO2 and equivalent emissions.

  9. Shane 8 months ago

    “but does not take into account any new policies.”
    Having 1 would be a start.

    • Miles Harding 8 months ago

      Eventually, but it’s going to require this bunch of asses to be kicked out of Canberra. The problem is that the heir apparent is been busy being a small target and doesn’t have any worthwhile policies these days.

  10. Chris Drongers 8 months ago

    First impressions from this article are that the LNP have started walking back their opposition to renewables and electrification of the economy, including transport.
    A small first move but enough to allow the LNP to claim to be on the right side of history if things continue in the current direction of decreasing costs for renewables and electric transport. And if developments don’t happen fast enough the LNP can still claim not to have actively supported the now discredited changes.

    • John Saint-Smith 8 months ago

      They can ‘claim’ all they like, but unfortunately, many of the Coalition’s political supporters have got used to repeating the government’s mantra: ‘renewables are unreliable, don’t’ work when the sun don’t shine, will never replace coal, will wreck the economy, will fade the curtains and on and on…

      It unfortunately coincides with the AEMC announcement of electricity cost reductions over the next 3 years, due to increasing renewables.

      Even the ‘brain dead’ will question this backflip.

  11. ReverseConcaveSpoon 8 months ago

    I wonder why they didn’t tell us about this last week…

  12. Cooma Doug 8 months ago

    Angus wants us to understand that all those wrecking gates he has run into recently have caused a lot of damage. They are not easy to close. Clover gate, grass gate and water gate.
    The next gate he must encounter is the renewable gate. Thinking he must leave it open and cruise through. But he is going to have some trouble shutting the Coalgate.

  13. John Cheney 8 months ago

    “…who doubles as energy reductions minister”

    Should be emissions reduction minister I believe.

    • Joe 8 months ago

      Should be ‘coal energy reductions minister’.

  14. Seriously...? 8 months ago

    They’ll say whatever they want to suit their purposes, and damn the contradictions.

  15. trackdaze 8 months ago

    I don’t know where Australia is going to source its non electric vehicles by 2025-30. Auto makers will have switched over beyond our mix then.

    Perhaps by driving the economy into the ground the LNP thinks we with get 2nd hander from overseas.

  16. rob 8 months ago

    I so wish @giles that I knew how to take a screen shot! Surely I’m not the only person who sees these adds (mike Baird/BITCOIN) . Hopefully Gilles someone a bit more Tech savvy can provide them to you!

  17. Peter Spencer 8 months ago

    I truly believe that the names of all the coalition politicians names supporting Morrison, Taylor Canavan, Kelly Fryinthe pan(Frydenburg) should have their names and that of their families recorded in History and be ridiculed and held accountable for refusing to do their duty for the people of this country, and giving all the wealth to the oil and coal cartels at the expense of this country,

    • Marcus L 8 months ago

      Don’t forget Abbott, he was the worst in my view

    • JackD 8 months ago

      Back in earlier times, the good old “stocks” were used to pillory those who had committed public misdemeanours.

  18. rob 8 months ago


  19. rob 8 months ago

    I honestly can’t believe you moderated out my comment Giles….I was asking for help from the reneweconomy family to stamp out those stupid adds

  20. Alan Wilson 8 months ago

    Fortunately we have to hope the states can do a lot of the heavy lifting for the next 3 years at least… l hope there up too it

    • Hettie 8 months ago

      They’re not up to it.

      • Alan Wilson 8 months ago

        I hope as we learn more the states that want to do something will do more 50% to 80% RE , and the LNP will change there position to being the opposition and out of government ….

  21. Honest Mike 8 months ago

    Remember that time Kev07 went to Copenhagen and declared that developing countries needed to do more to reduce carbon emissions and then came back to Australia to “pimp more Australian coal to India and China” ?…. sounds kinda like a not so well intentioned fraud as opposed to making a wrong prediction

    • Joe 8 months ago

      Remember the time ScoalNO19 sent Taylor19 to Madrid to declare Australia is reducing its emissions and Australia’s emissions at the lowest level since the COALition come to office in 2013…now that’s a Gold Medal intentional fraud.

  22. Honest Mike 8 months ago

    What we need is a great big national project called “Snowy Hydro ii” which will store renewable energy and therefore enable renewable hydro ii. …… and we need a light house keeper who can be transformed into a billionaire light house keeper by shining the light as a beacon to the world

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