Transforming Energy and Transport Sectors in Australia

Being endowed with energy options across fossil fuels and low emission technologies, the expectation is that Australia will be able to develop and commercialize low emission technologies through research, and achieve a successful transition to a nearly zero-emission energy sector by mid-century. The future of coal based electricity generation in Australia and coal exports to Asian countries will largely depend on carbon capture and storage becoming commercially viable through new mitigation processes. Australia should lead a major role in developing this technology.Emissions from the electricity generation sector being the major contributor for carbon dioxide emissions, containment in this sector will advantageously support other stationary energy and transport systems.Higher oil prices and imposed emissions costs in the future, together with growth in population will drive the country for changes in vehicle technologies and fuels. Zero-emission road vehicles will become economically viable and there will be significant decarbonization in this sector.Governments have a major role to play, considering the impacts of population growth, higher oil prices and emissions prices, in planning and implementing appropriate systems and mode shifts of rail and road transportation that will minimize the economic costs. It is expected that mode shift will account for a quarter of emission reductions in this sector while delivering multiple benefits to the society.Summary of Chapter 20: Transformation in the energy sector
General findings
Australia’s efforts to combat climate change through transformation in the energy sector are important for the country and for the world. The country is expected to achieve close to “zero-carbon” over the next 40 years. Large price increases in natural gas and black coal in the international markets have adversely impacted domestic energy costs and the impact will be felt more severely as the country traditionally relied on low-cost energy in the past.