Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap: final report

Tuesday, 02 May, 2017

The final report of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, compiled by CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia, has been released.

The roadmap is an evidence-based plan detailing what needs to be done during the next decade to provide Australians with secure and affordable energy and to decarbonise electricity by 2050. It includes state-by-state analysis by CSIRO, highlighting when energy security and cost risks will emerge in key locations which need to be addressed in a national energy transition plan.

The analysis found that by 2030, around 40% of both Victoria’s and Western Australia’s energy could be generated by intermittent renewables. NSW and Queensland are expected to follow suit in the 2030s as coal-fired power generators shut down.

CSIRO Chief Economist Energy Paul Graham said this means the eastern states could need to build as many as five intermittent renewable generation projects each year for five years in the 2030s and 2040s. Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley added that without clear signals to the market, building the required amount of new generation will be more expensive and less secure.

“The findings highlight the critical need for state and federal governments to agree on a long-term energy transition plan and national policy frameworks,” Bradley said.

“The intense level of project development will only be possible with a national transition plan like the roadmap and stable and enduring carbon policy to support investment.”

Bradley added that while integrating large-scale variable renewable energy will be vital, customers will drive the transformation of Australia’s electricity system as world-leading adopters of distributed energy resources.

“The roadmap forecasts up to 10 million households and small customers will have distributed energy resources like solar, storage, smart homes and electric vehicles by 2050,” Bradley said.

“The orchestration of these new energy assets in the right place at the right time could save customers a total of $16 billion in network costs by 2050.”

Bradley described the roadmap as “an energy transition plan to save the average Australian household $414 per year in their electricity bills by 2050”. He said work will start in the coming months on the roadmap’s highest priority projects, though “real action” is still required by government as well as industry.

“A national approach to carbon and energy policy will support commercial investment to keep the lights on and bills affordable now and in the future,” he said.

The final roadmap report is the product of more than two years of collaborative work by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO involving hundreds of stakeholders, an evidence base of 19 expert reports and in-depth analysis of energy system outcomes to 2050. It can be found here.

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