The National Electricity Market (NEM) is supporting a once-in-a-century transformation in the way electricity is generated and consumed in eastern and south-eastern Australia. It will replace legacy assets with low-cost renewables, add energy storage and other new forms of firming capacity, and reconfigure the grid to support two-way energy flow. Consumers will be able to draw on low-emission electricity for their transport, industry, office and homes, replacing oil, gas and other fuels.
Technical innovation, ageing generation plants, economics, government policies, energy security and consumer choice are all driving this transformation, and driving it faster than many anticipated. Some of them form part of the global push for net zero emissions by 2050, while others are independent. All the while, the NEM must continue to meet its objective – to provide reliable, secure and affordable electricity to consumers.
As the global economy gathers pace towards its net zero future, countries that have excess low-cost renewable energy will be at a distinct advantage. Australia is extremely well-positioned to be one of those countries, with options to export that energy, or use it in industrial production or for energy-intensive digital industries.
This report shows that Australia’s transition to net zero by 2050 is accelerating faster than expected, with the impacts of coal-closures brought forward and renewables becoming cheaper. The report also outlines further planned investments in wind and solar capacity, as well as storage and hydro, for the transition.