A university partnership estimates that the Australian government will have to invest over A $ 100 billion (US $ 68 billion) annually to successfully reach net zero, with costs that will substantially increase year-on-year until the 2050 target. .
The group also estimated that governments would need to find over one million skilled workers to assist in decarbonization efforts.
Net Zero Australia is a partnership between the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, Princeton University and the global consultancy Nous Group.
The group revealed in its interim report, released on August 25, five scenarios for the country to reduce emissions and its expected consequences.
A chart revealed that current investments need to be significantly increased, from less than $ 100 billion annually to over $ 150 billion, to reach net zero to facilitate the phasing out of fossil fuel generators in favor of renewable energy sources. such as mass solar panels and wind farms as well as new transmission systems.
The study also found a substantial increase in storage batteries and gas-fired power plants to provide hardening and backup electricity generation when solar and wind power are not available.
However, one factor that could skyrocket current cost estimates is the rise in global demand for renewable energy production and equipment as governments around the world push to decarbonise their economies. A noteworthy example is the rapid rise in lithium prices in early 2022, a key component of rechargeable batteries.
Meanwhile, Australia will also need to find 1 to 1.3 million new workers with the right technical skills in the north of the country. Australia’s current workforce is 13,558,400.
The study also points to Australia becoming a leading exporter of clean energy to other countries, promising “large export revenues and a million new Australian jobs”.
Robin Batterham, chairman of Net Zero Australia’s steering committee, said the group hopes to provide insight into how the country could decarbonise.
“Our results show that there are no two ways to do this: to reach net zero by 2050, Australia must transform. Major and long-term investments are needed in new renewable generation, electricity transmission, supply chains. hydrogen and more. New skills and training are needed to harness Australia’s clean energy potential, “he said in a statement.
Federal and state governments embrace Net-Zero
Federal and state governments have already given their support for the rapid decarbonisation of the country’s energy grid. The federal Labor government, together with the left-wing Greens, has managed to legislate a new higher medium-term net zero target for the country, a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030.
The work is also set to revise the energy network so that it is powered by 82% renewable energy. Currently, around 64% of Australia’s electricity is provided by coal-fired generation.
The government is also considering moves to address fuel efficiency standards to encourage manufacturers to sell more electric cars locally. It has already announced a number of new tax incentives to reduce the cost of purchasing an electric car.
These initiatives have also been paired with state governments, with leaders launching a mix of incentives to encourage residents to purchase electric vehicles.