Charting Australia’s path to net zero

19 Apr 2023

This article was originally published on UQ News.

Australia will need to triple the National Electricity Market’s power capacity by 2030 to be on track for net zero by 2050 – requiring a rapid rollout of wind and solar power, transmission, storage, electric vehicles, and heat pumps as it replaces the coal fleet. 

This is a key finding of the Net Zero Australia project, which is a partnership of The University of Melbourne (UoM), The University of Queensland (UQ), Princeton University and Nous Group. 

It is funded by gifts and grants from various sponsors and has received input from a diverse Advisory Group. 

Chair of the Net Zero Australia Steering Committee, Emeritus Professor Robin Batterham, said Net Zero Australia has set a new benchmark in analysing what it would take for Australia to decarbonise its economy and exports. 

“Our results are unprecedented in their detail, rigour and transparency,” Professor Batterham said. 

“Our aim is to inform the national debate with better evidence about the diverse preferences of the Australian community. 

“This includes reaching net zero with renewables only, or with different mixes of renewables and low-emission uses of fossil fuels, and with different rates of electrification of our energy use. We have even considered whether nuclear energy has a role to play.

“We are not pushing a preferred pathway, rather we are illustrating a range of potential pathways. 

“Our assumptions and detailed results are all public so they can be used by governments, businesses, and communities. They include projections for potential energy sources, mapping of possible land use change, and analysis of abatement from farming and other land uses.”