A study being conducted by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has found Australia hosts enough renewable energy resources to generate well over 500 times its electricity consumption.
The AEMO has been tasked by the Commonwealth Government to model 100 per cent renewable electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) by 2030 and 2050.
As part of this task, AEMO and its consultants identified 43 regions across the NEM and examined the renewable resources available within each one.
Excluding land in national parks or areas with conflicting use, the AEMO believes the potential for energy generation is massive.
Currently, the national electricity market currently produces 200 terawatt hours of energy each year.
“The study shows there is potential to produce around 500 times that if all possible sources of renewable energy available across eastern and south eastern
Australia were tapped into,” says the body’s latest Energy Update.
Prior research conducted elsewhere has shown that even just utilising all available and suitable rooftops in Australia for solar panel installations would generate enough electricity to power the nation; assuming suitable energy storage facilities were in place.
The AEMO’s modelling incorporates two scenarios for both 2030 and 2050. One scenario examines a rapid transformation of the electricity sector, moderate economic and electricity demand growth with strong demand side participation. The other is based on moderate transformation of the energy sector, less demand side participation and robust economic and energy growth.
“This work will provide industry and governments with a comprehensive resource that can be used to develop and introduce new technologies to the national electricity market over the coming years,” says AEMO’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Cleary.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) is due to release AEMO’s draft report in March 2013.
The AEMO was established to manage the NEM and gas markets; carrying out the electricity functions previously undertaken by the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO) with respect to the NEM.