NEG means 4% target for electricity emissions

The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program has released the latest National Energy Emissions Audit electricity update (The Audit*) for July 2018. 

The Audit shows current policies will reduce National Electricity Market (NEM) emissions to 22% below 2005 levels in 2019-20, effectively meaning electricity sector has an emissions reduction target of only 4% to 2030. 

Key findings include:
+ To June 2018, the NEM has already reduced emissions by 12% of 2005 levels
+ On current policy settings, the 26% target will be achieved in 2021-22
+ The emissions reduction mechanism proposed for the National Energy Guarantee will make little or no contribution to reducing emissions in the NEM

“The boom we’re now seeing in renewable installations is due to the 2015 saving of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) which ended the policy turmoil of the Abbott era,” said Dr Hugh Saddler, renowned energy expert and author of the Audit. 

“These emissions reductions are good news, but it begs the question of ‘what next’? Are we really going to see no emissions reduction from the electricity sector for almost a decade? 

“Audit modelling suggests that in 2019-20 NEM emissions will be 22% below 2005 levels. Unless we adopt more ambitious targets the renewable industry will enter another period of great uncertainty. 

“The effective 4% target would see a shift from building nearly 3,000 MW per year to building only 200 MW per year, representing a collapse of the booming renewable construction industry. 

“The National Energy Guarantee can and must do much more. Our modelling shows emissions decline to 36% of 2005 levels if Queensland meets its current renewables target. 

“Letting the electricity sector off lightly means tougher targets for other industries. Agriculture, manufacturing and transport have much further to go at much greater cost than electricity. 

“Farming, manufacturing and other industry groups need to realise they have a lot to lose if electricity generators are given a free pass,” says Saddler.

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