Exporting the wind and sun

Australia is one of the world’s leading exporters of coal but in coming years it could become a renewable energy superpower. Australia has huge renewable energy generation potential with the International Energy Agency estimating it has the greatest solar energy potential in the world.

Combined solar and wind potential IEA

This potential means Australia stands to benefit from the shift to low-emissions energy sources in neighbouring countries with limited renewable energy resources. Australia, for instance, could export renewable energy (in the form of hydrogen or ammonia) to countries like South Korea and Japan which is making efforts to shift away from nuclear energy.

So promising is this potential that renewable energy export is one of the four key priorities for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the federal government body responsible for investing in and growing renewable energy technology in Australia.

Hydrogen is not the only option though. A hybrid solar and wind power plant to be built on the north-west coast of Australia will export electricity to Indonesia via undersea transmission cables once the AUD $13 billion project is fully up and running in 2029.

On top of exports, Australia’s embrace of its renewable resources could also attract new investment. Falling renewable energy costs alongside international decarbonisation efforts could see energy intensive industries in search of locations with cheap energy, according to a report by Beyond Zero Emissions.

 

Photo at top: Stu Rapley, Flickr

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