Charting Australia’s path to net zero

20 April 2023

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. 

UQ’s Project Director, Associate Professor Simon Smart from the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation said that Australia has a global responsibility and economic incentive to transition coal and LNG exports to clean commodities. 

“Hydrogen made from solar, wind and desalinated water can replace our fossil fuel exports. We can also export large volumes of clean hydrogen with large scale implementation of Carbon Capture and Storage,” Associate Professor Smart said. 

“Exporting green metals, particularly iron and steel made in Australia using clean hydrogen, has much lower abatement and infrastructure costs than for exporting clean hydrogen. 

“Northern Australia (WA, Queensland, and NT) is particularly prospective for exports, but inland NSW and SA and offshore Victoria and Tasmania can also play major roles. 

“Our modelling also suggests that new gas fields may be needed to fulfill export demand for clean hydrogen, particularly if the growth in renewable construction rates hits limits.” 

Net Zero Australia is sponsored by Worley, Dow, Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre, Future Energy Exports (FEnEx) Cooperative Research Centre, APA Group and Minderoo Foundation.

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