Australia’s Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared

08.09.14 By
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A landmark report investigating the future of Australia’s electricity sector.


Internationally, the energy sector accounts for the largest proportion of greenhouse gas (gHg) emissions, which are the main drivers of climate change. Limiting temperature rise to a global average of 2 °C, the internationally agreed level that may avoid dangerous climate change, requires large scale changes in the electricity sector and a tripling of low-carbon energy by 2050.

Yet, Australia’s electricity is largely generated by ageing, inefficient coal-fired power plants and there are currently no plans, nor a national discussion on the future of the electricity sector and options to significantly reduce its emissions. Delaying the shift to a low carbon future increases the likely risks and costs of transition to a low carbon future in the electricity sector, where it typically takes a decade or more to plan, permit, finance and build major new power infrastructure.

See the 3 minute video summary.

Key Findings

1. Australia’s electricity sector is ageing, inefficient, unprepared and requires urgent reform



2. Coal-fired power will struggle to compete economically with other sources of electricity as the world moves to limit emissions

3. The shift to renewable energy is underway, including in some of the largest economies in the world

4. There are substantial opportunities for Australia in renewable energy, which is already lowering the cost of electricity


5. Australia must act now to prepare its energy sector for the future