- Zero Carbon Australia
- Get Involved
Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan available now - download or purchase your copy
To download the full Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan click here (8.4MB).
For the Synopsis of the plan click here (2.2MB)
Hard copies can be purchased from the Melbourne Energy Institute.
Live Video of the University Launch 14/7/2010 available here
Don't miss out on this cutting-edge research, which shows how Australia can reach 100% renewable energy within a decade, using technology that is commercially available right now.
"The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan represents the kind of visionary work that should be eagerly embraced. It is the first time that I have seen a plan that makes the possibility of zero
emissions feasible and affordable. In particular, solar energy offers so much promise in the dry and sunny continent. Politicians have been postponing decisions in this area for too long. They, and decision-makers generally, should study Zero Carbon Australia intensely and urgently. The work is so comprehensive that it makes me eager to see the further studies that will be emerging in the near future."
Professor Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE FAA FRS
Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne
Former Australian of the Year
"With our natural advantage Australia can and should be positioning itself as a global renewable super power for future prosperity. This report will help shift the climate debate to focus on energy; security; affordability; export and of course opportunity. Beyond Zero Emissions offers a new and invigorating message that is much needed”
Professor Robin Batterham,
President, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering,
formerly Chief Scientist of Australia
“This is an ambitious, technically feasible plan that should be looked at seriously”
Professor Faculty of Science
Australian of the Year 2007
"No doubt improved technologies for tapping usable energy from the sun, the winds, the tides, and the hot core of our planet will emerge as time goes by. But this report shows clearly that the solutions available now are, with our small population and enormous landmass, sufficient for Australia to move forward very quickly to tap renewable energy sources and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. We have the resources. We need the will.
Dr. Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate, School of Medicine, University of Melbourne
"100 % renewable energy with zero emissions is achievable in Australia in about a decade if politics takes concerted actions…Moreover, Australia can become the initiator for a serious attempt to shift the world to a solar economy. This is the only promising strategy for climate protection and would provide societies around the world with solutions for climate protection, economic development, poverty reduction and conflict resolution. We need action now!"
Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Parliament
Alliance 90/The Greens Spokesman for Energy
"To achieve a safe climate future we need an urgent, large-scale transition. The work of Beyond Zero Emissions shows that the technical transition is affordable and achievable. Now we need a social and political transition to get behind it."
Professor Carmen Lawrence,
School of Psychology,
University of Western Australia
Former Premier of Western Australia.
“Renewable energy is the only way to go in the future. Enercon wind energy converters are designed to the newest standards to integrate with the modern high flexibility demands of electricity grids, providing sustainable reliable power to keep the wheels of daily life, household and industry turning. The Zero Carbon Plan outlines a technically achievable plan for generating all of Australias energy from the wind and the sun. It can be a realistic goal if Australia gets immediately seriously committed with decision making from industry and government. We hope that its recommendations are taken up so that Australia can also be a player in the renewable energy economy that is already booming around the world.”
"As the IEA has shown in its research, solar energy is now a serious global player for providing the world's energy. Australia has one of the world's best solar energy resource, especially suited for concentrating solar thermal power plants, which can dispatch electricity when it is needed. The Zero Carbon Australia Plan is based on up-to-date and sound information and provides quality insights on how a country well-endowed in renewable resources can transition to a solar and wind economy.
Renewable Energy Division
International Energy Agency
"The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 plan shows that it is technically feasible and affordable to replace all fossil fuel electricity with 100% renewable energy given the willpower and commitment to do so. This is a cutting-edge science-based plan that should be read by every energy decision maker and politician in Australia."
Mark Z. Jacobson
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor by Courtesy of Energy Resources Engineering
Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program
Stanford University, USA
“It's not the five per cent cut project or the 20 per cent cut project with a bunch of unachievable caveats. It's a zero carbon project and I think people actually want to be told a narrative, a story which is ambitious, which is aspirational, but also practical and I think that is what this project is about.”
Federal Independent Senator Nick Xenophon
"This is a bold and ground-breaking piece of work which should be a wake-up call to all those in government and industry who refuse to see beyond coal”
“This is a very exciting report. It has academic rigour, it has also the hope of a generation and it has thousands of jobs waiting to happen.”
"We can and must aim to power Australia with 100% renewable energy as soon as possible if we are to truly tackle the climate crisis - and the great news is, that will bring huge benefits to us all, cleaning the air and creating jobs and investment from the suburbs to the farmlands.”
"This Zero Carbon Australia plan is an extremely valuable contribution which all in the parliament should be looking at very seriously”
Federal Greens Senator Christine Milne
"Every nation in the world should make a plan like this. If one can get a 100% renewable, zero carbon electricity system by investing 3% of GDP (and 10% of gross investment) for ten years, there is no good reason not to do it. Except, maybe, the straitjacket of old ways of thinking and doing.
This plan lays out a high solar-wind renewable future and then does more. It looks carefully at the materials requirements of such a future, an aspect of the matter too often left unaddressed.
Australia could be the first large economy to show the way."
John O. Blackburn
Professor Emeritus of Economics
Duke University, USA
"Australians are capable of rapid change when the historical circumstances call for it. Indeed, we pride ourselves on being a resourceful people. TheBeyond Zero Emissions team show how inventive and resourceful we can be. Their plan for a transition to 100% renewables is a powerful and cogent response to those who claim it can't be done. The reception this report receives will be a sign of how much Australians believe in their future and how much they take refuge in the thinking of the past."
Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics and author of Requiem for a Species
“For decades, those opposing the transition to clean energy have claimed that it is not technically feasible. This report puts that argument convincingly to bed. There is no longer an excuse for inaction. Starting the transition now is our responsibility to future generations.”
Professor Ian Lowe
President of the Australian Conservation Foundation
Emeritus Professor Griffith University
"The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan is a provocative and timely contribution to the climate change debate, and it deserves attention both here and abroad. The Plan demolishes a pile of conventional wisdom that Australian policymakers still seem unable to get past. The sorry history of Australian climate policy procrastination is littered with polluter-friendly analyses conducted by economic hired guns. Their work has been used to argue against action, or for illusory schemes that price carbon without reducing the greenhouse pollution billowing from Australian smokestacks and tailpipes. The effect has been to constrain debate and obscure from our view a very different vision—a rapid switch from fossil to renewable energy that makes economic and environmental sense. By highlighting one of many pathways to achieving that vision, the ZCA report sheds light where it is desperately needed."
Dr Guy Pearse
Research Fellow, Global Change Institute
University of Queensland
Author of High & Dry and Quarry Vision
"It is difficult to imagine the Zero Carbon Australia plan being adopted in the context of Australia's current political and commercial culture and power cost structure. However, as an examination of the technical feasibility of achieving its goals as it seeks to shift this culture, it offers an interesting challenge for the imagination of policymakers and power suppliers feeling their way in to an uncertain future."
Coolibah Pty Ltd
Former Managing Director
Electricity Supply Association of Australia
”The ZCA report analyses one particular scenario of renewable energy technology choice based on available solutions, in considerable depth. It successfully shows in detail that 100% renewable energy is both technically possible and economically affordable. Clearly other renewable energy technology scenarios are also possible, that only serves to strengthen the overall conclusion about viability. The group is to be congratulated for their efforts."
Associate Professor Keith Lovegrove
Leader High Temperature Solar Thermal Group
Australian National University
“The chips are down - there is no longer any doubt about our need to rapidly transition to a zero emission economy. The fate of Australia and the world depend on it. The Zero Carbon Australia strategy being launched by Beyond Zero Emissions provides the roadmap to the solutions. Let's hope it is adopted by responsible governments everywhere.”
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland
"Wind Power is now a serious player in international energy. Installing 8000 megawatt-class turbines along with smaller wind turbines and other renewables where appropriate is achievable at a price the community can afford. Direct drive turbines such as the Enercon turbines are very suitable for a modern electricity grid where wind will be relied upon for a large proportion of overall electricity demand."
Enmax/Schulich Professor of Renewable Energy
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
University of Calgary, Canada
“Climate change is a huge threat facing Australia and the world today. We need action now if we are to secure a future for generations to come. The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan demonstrates that Australia can eliminate greenhouse emissions from the stationary energy sector within a decade – using technology that is commercially available today, and at an acceptable cost. We can’t afford to ignore it.”
Dr David Skellern
CEO NICTA (National ICT Australia)
"The release of Zero Carbon Australia could not be more timely. It will force reconsideration of government policy that, following the change in leadership, appears to be retreating still further from any meaningful commitment to a low-carbon economy. The report is unambiguous in demonstrating that a low-carbon economy is within our technical capacity and that this it is more than economically feasible. The challenge is now that of engaging the political will and bringing this sustainable future to fruition."
Dr Stuart Rosewarne
Chair of the Department of Political Economy
University of Sydney
"I get to work with people all over the world in the fight against global warming, a fight growing increasingly desperate as temperatures climb and rainfall patterns shift. Since Australia leads the world in per capita emissions, it makes sense that its transition planners would be thinking big. This transition obviously won't be easy or simple or cost-free, but given the alternatives it's very nice to know it's technically feasible!"
Scholar in residence at Middlebury College, Author and Founder 350.org
“I strongly endorse the broad concept of such a solar and wind plan and applaud the work of the University of Melbourne and Beyond Zero Emissions. Our own work underway to calculate the feasibility of a 100% solar - wind plan for the United States has so far had the aim of testing technical feasibility, and the match seems to be 99-100%. We have considered the biomass backup options as well for CST plants but increased thermal storage also seems to work for a 100% solar - wind system for the USA. I have some differences in the discussion of CST technology used as an example, but the study is at an initial stage. The advent of such a comprehensive study in Australia will assist recognition of our own work directed to the USA case, and speed the market development of the CST and wind technologies to supply economical solar energy both day and night."
Dr David Mills
Founder and past CEO of Solar Thermal power company Ausra
“From the other side of the globe Protermosolar fully shares the vision of the realistic and feasible Zero Carbon Australian Plan. Spain is currently the country with the most intensive deployment of CST (concentrating solar thermal) plants and their contribution to the grid stability and to the dispatchability of power supply has been fully demonstrated. Molten salt storage systems have been implemented in many Spanish plants providing predictable and reliable operation after sunset. Thus CST technologies could be considered as a real alternative to cover even the base load requirements of the electricity system.
“Australia must profit from its high solar resource, the sooner the better. An effective boost to CST and to the other renewable technologies - as presented in this plan – will not only go in the right direction in terms of the transition to a new energy mix but it will also result an excellent business for the Australian economy.”
Dr. Luis Crespo
Spanish Association of CST Industries
"This is exactly the type of initiative that we, the solar power industry, needs to propel our technology into the energy markets of Australia. SolarReserve's concentrated solar power towers with molten salt storage are the most reliable, stable form of clean, renewable energy, which is exactly what's needed to achieve the safe climate future proposed in BZE's Zero Carbon Australia roadmap.
"SolarReserve's solar thermal technology with molten salt storage; proven at Solar Two, the US Department of Energy's 10 MW pilot plant that operated for over 3 years in the 1990's, will not only aid in meeting Australia's renewable energy and carbon reduction objectives, but also have significant economic benefits, bringing green jobs and cutting edge technology.
Solar Reserve is willing, ready and able to deploy our molten salt power towers and fully supports the Zero Carbon Australia project."
"The management of BrightSource Energy have had a long and extensive involvement in the solar thermal industry. At BrightSource's predecessor, Luz, they designed, developed, built and operated the nine SEGS parabolic trough plants in California that still operate today. Built in the 1980's, these plants were the best that could be built with the available technology at the time and certainly proved beyond any doubt that one could capture the sun's energy and convert it into steam for large scale electricity generation on a scale never before contemplated.
But, there were limits to this technology which resulted in low efficiencies and capacity factors, and high capital costs. Our team at BrightSource has now completely re-engineered the whole approach to solar thermal, utilising a centralised tower to effect a direct solar to steam design. By using flat glass mirrors that track the sun all day and through the seasons, our tower plants generate steam at 550 degrees C and higher, allowing us to use standard Rankine cycle generation power blocks that are dry cooled. With far greater efficiencies, higher capacity factors, lower capital costs and the ability to operate the plant in hybrid mode and/or with storage, the BrightSource Luz Power Tower is the proven technology of today and well into the future for delivering firm, renewable power.
I certainly encourage and endorse the need for a holistic plan being developed for our generation portfolio in Australia going forward - one that properly takes into consideration our targets and desire to substantially increase the proportion of renewable generation capacity. The plan requires careful consideration of our "as is" situation, the desired "to be" at future dates such as 2020 and beyond and a migration plan that will transform our generation portfolio over time to meet our renewable targets and achieve security of supply. Solar thermal power, as a firm, dispatchable power generation source, will be an integral and significant component of this plan and its deployment.
BrightSource Energy Australia
“Beyond Zero Emissions have been in my building, Kindness House, for five years. The dedication of this remarkable team of individuals is astonishing. Most of all, I am impressed by their relentless pursuit of the truth, wherever it may lead. They have built their strategies cautiously, never letting the enthusiasm distract them from the goal of getting the right answers by asking the right questions.
”They are a welcoming organization, drawing experts from a variety of disciplines, methodically searching for practical solutions to the challenges of reducing our massive carbon footprint. I am personally delighted to see the tens of thousands of hours they have invested in this important project, never once complaining about the lack of financial resources at their disposal. They have focussed their attention heavily on the carbon costs of stationary power, transport and building. I look forward to the time when they devote their formidable intellect and energy to the Livestock industry, where so much of our carbon share is squandered and emissions ignored.
”Beyond Zero Emissions is one organization I am proud to say I helped to incubate.
”I urge every serious institution to listen to them attentively. These are serious people for serious times.”
Philip Wollen OAM
Australian of the Year Victoria 2007
“As a company involved in the development of solar plants all over the world, at Torresol Energy we encourage the Zero Carbon Australian Plan that sets the action lines for a future with clean, renewable energy.
“Australia is one of the areas with better solar radiation and forms part of the international ‘sun belt’. Besides, the country has excellent conditions for profiting from that solar radiation: large low-populated areas to build the plants and an industry that can support the technological development in the solar generation sector. In that sense, each of Torresol Energy’s new projects introduces technologically advanced improvements to make Concentrated Solar Energy a manageable, economically competitive option and a real, viable, ecological and
sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources.
“Torresol Energy has three plants currently under construction. Among them, Gemasolar, with an innovative technology of central tower with molten salt receiver and thermal storage system, is the first commercial plant in the world of its kind. Due to this, the project has achieved considerable importance in the field of renewable energies as it opens the path to a new solar thermal power generation. Today, all of the analyses that have been carried out either by ourselves or by major international institutions show that tower plants with thermal storage is the type of technology that will be capable of generating reliable, manageable and renewable energy at the lowest costs. Therefore Australia could adapt this kind of technology in its renewable energy development plan that will allow the country to conserve the environment for future generations with a reliable energy source through utility scale baseload CSP plants."
Chief Infrastructure Officer.
“That Australia enjoys an abundance of renewable energy resources is beyond question. The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 plan demonstrates that it is both technically feasible and economically affordable for Australia to realise the benefit of these resources and transition to a 100% renewable energy future. Australian politicians and decision makers with the vision and commitment to embrace this new path have the opportunity to play an important role in leading Australia to a sustainable low carbon future.”
Centre for Mining, Energy and Resources Law
University of Western Australia