When is the next ‘peak’ for energy? – The ABC’s Energy Department blog
The next peak in the growth of the world’s population, energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions are all coming in the next 10 years, with some of the biggest challenges being finding enough energy to power our cities, and dealing with rising energy costs and rising electricity prices.
The energy department says there is “now a good chance” we could have peak demand by 2040.
What are the key issues?
The most immediate issue for Australia is our dependence on imported electricity, which will double in 2040 to 60 per cent of total consumption.
“We’re going to be reliant on imports for almost half of our electricity generation,” said Chris O’Connell, energy minister.
“In 2040, we’re going have to import 40 per cent more energy than we currently have.”
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) predicts Australia will import more than 1.5 million megawatts of electricity in the 2020s.
Australia already imports about half its electricity, but this will rise to about 70 per cent.
While energy imports are the biggest driver of our carbon emissions, there are other significant issues that are impacting the nation’s climate, including emissions from mining, agriculture and the transportation sector.
“We’re starting to see that there’s a very high carbon footprint of coal-fired power stations,” Mr O’Donnell said.
We’ve got coal-burning power stations that are going to have to be closed, and there will be no coal-based generation by the end of the century.
“We’re not going to get a 100 per cent renewables by 2041, but we’re not in the position where we’re looking to see 100 per one.
It’s also important to note that while Australia’s energy demand will grow by an estimated 8 per cent between now and 2040 – up from a projected 4 per cent in 2016 – it’s not just the rise in demand for electricity that is slowing.
Mr O’Connor said it was important to remember that electricity demand is only part of the picture.
The other major issue is that Australia’s climate change strategy will likely have to change.
As part of Australia’s emissions reduction targets, Australia will need to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 40 per year, to 40 per week.
A number of factors will need in place for Australia to meet these targets, including: more efficient use of energy generation