? Journey to Net Zero ?

I support Ku-ring-gai’s aim for Net Zero by 2040 and 100% renewable by 2030 (aiming for 2025) but why not aim for sooner? For electricity, it helps to look at real data to understand the challenges we need to overcome to get there.

This chart depicts yesterday’s power generation and demand for the National Electricity Market (NEM) which comprises all of Australia’s States and Territories except for WA and NT.

Australia is now at a point where ☀️ renewable energy is often cheaper to produce than fossil fuels, and and there’s going to be much more market-driven investment in renewables in the coming years. Yesterday we were at 40% renewable energy at noon when the sun was brightest.

However the sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind is not always available so we can’t rely on renewable tech along to get us to Net Zero. At midnight, renewables only contributed to 17% of our needs.

So how do we access electricity at the times when we can’t reliably generate enough from renewables? In the short and medium term this comes from fossil fuels, which provided nearly three quarters of our energy needs yesterday. And in the long term we hope to plug that gap through ? energy storage; we hope to generate excess energy during the day then store up enough to last through the night. That’s a lot of energy storage!

Energy storage will come through a range of technology options which we have yet to fully master including lithium, green hydrogen and pumped hydro. There are various Australian firms innovating in this space and I’m sure Australia will get to Net Zero, though not within this decade.

Having said that, Ku-ring-gai Council will get to Net Zero earlier than the rest of Australia because we are already working on specific initiatives such as improving the efficiency of our assets, street lighting and fleet while also collectively sourcing renewable energy at reduced rates with other Sydney metro councils.

There’s a lot more that can be discussed on this matter so if you’re keen I’m happy to catch up sometime.

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