Solar power and wind energy could become the cheapest sources of energy and almost exclusively power the country in coming decades as carbon prices climb, the Climate Commission says.
A report, to be released today by chief commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, notes the vast potential from sunlight and wind and “solar PV and wind could be the cheapest forms of power in Australia for retail users by 2030, if not earlier, as carbon prices rise”.
Prof Flannery said improvements had driven down the cost of renewable energy so much that Australia’s uptake had increased more than a decade faster than earlier imagined.
He said people might find it hard to believe communities could one day be powered almost entirely by renewable energy, but people would never have believed they would one day carry around little computers in their pockets.
“It’s like anything, computers or mobile phones, they started off expensive and over time the cost just declines and we’ve seen that with wind and now with solar,” he said.
But the report The Critical Decade: Generating a Renewable Australia has no detail around how renewable energy and fossil fuel prices might compare in the future. Prof Flannery said technology moved so quickly, it was impossible to form concrete predictions.
Renewables currently make up 10 per cent of Australia’s energy mix and the report says growth was subject to innovation, community acceptance and regulation.