Yes We Can! – Zero Emissions Electricity by 2020

Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director said, “we have concluded that there are no technological impediments to transforming Australia’s stationary energy sector to zero emissions over the next ten years. The costs of transformation are adequately offset by savings made from shifting away from the business as usual scenario.”

“No resource constraints were identified. With adequate societal and political commitment and regulatory support, the goal of an efficient and competitive zero-emissions stationary energy sector is well within Australia’s reach.” Wright said.

“The investment required for ZCA2020 implementation over the ten years is only 3-3.5% of GDP. However, this is offset by avoiding the costs of a future carbon price and escalating oil, coal and water prices. Given the urgent necessity of transitioning to a 100% renewable economy within a decade, this is a sensible expenditure.” Wright concluded.

The ZCA2020 Stationary Energy Plan is a design for electrical infrastructure that delivers the same end-service as we get today, but exclusively supplied from renewable sources.

The plan includes projections for energy use in transportation, buildings and industry which will be further developed in future work by Beyond Zero Emissions.

The most obvious energy efficiency savings have been identified and incorporated into the plan. The result is net delivered energy in Australia reduced by half, while all the electrical services we use today (heaters, computers, lights, aluminium smelters etc) continue to operate.

Green Jobs

Under the plan, coal mining communities in the Hunter, Bowen and Latrobe Valleys would receive the $billions that were earmarked for theoretical clean coal to build factories that will create the components for the new infrastructure. Many more green jobs will be created than lost in these communities with high levels of fossil fuel employment.

Leading companies such as Solar Reserve, Suzlon, Sener, Vestas, Enercon, Siemens and GE will be provided with the incentives to setup their component manufacturing in Australian coal communities as they are transitioned from their dependency on coal.

Japan, the major importer of Australian coal, announced a 25% emissions reduction by 2020. They are unlikely to sustain their demand for Australian coal. A plan is required for these communities now.

World-class on-shore wind resources are Australia’s second strategic advantage in renewable energy. Wind power is the cheapest of all clean energy sources available in Australia and is technologically mature. Wind energy is dispatched to the grid whenever it is available, and power generated from the CST molten salt storage makes up the difference to meet demand at all times.
Approximately 48 GWe of installed wind turbine capacity (~ 8,000 x 6 MWe turbines) is proposed in addition to Australia’s current 1.5 GWe, running at an average annual capacity factor of 30%.

Australia currently spends approximately AU$30 billion per year on liquid transport fuels. Thus, improving access to public transport and converting the vehicle fleet to electricity (and where necessary range-extending hybrid biofuel electric vehicles) is needed for climate as well as economic and energy security. 


Beyond Zero Emissions Inc. (BZE) is a not-for-profit, independent, volunteer- run organisation.

BZE’s core goal is to facilitate the implementation of the social changes and technologies that will reduce the impacts of climate change and give our society and global ecosystems, a chance of surviving into the future.

BZE is involved in the following activities:

· education
· research
· transition planning/modelling
· climate change solution development
· advocacy

BZE accepts the scientific evidence that we have already allowed climate change to go too far, and must act immediately to reduce our levels of greenhouse gas emissions to zero and below.

Further information on Beyond Zero Emissions Inc.’s core values, goals & activities can be found at