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A new report from the Climate Council has found the inevitable closure of aging, inefficient coal plants will provide a critical opportunity to move to a modern 21st century electricity system.

Powering a 21st Century Economy: Secure, Clean, Affordable Electricity tackles multiple policy objectives: affordable electricity for consumers; a secure and reliable electricity system; safeguarding our electricity system from worsening extreme weather; and tackling climate change by reducing Australia’s pollution.

The key findings of the report include:

1.The inevitable closure of Australia’s inefficient, aging coal plants provides a critical opportunity to move to a modern, 21st century electricity system.

2. There are five key requirements in building a robust energy system that will meet Australia’s needs into the future. All five must be met for Australia to effectively meet its energy needs into the future.

  • Clean: Tackling climate change requires a rapid transition away from polluting sources of energy to clean sources
  • Reliable: Balancing demand for electricity (from households, business and industry) with supply from power stations, energy storage and demand flexibility (via demand management)
  • Secure: Meeting technical requirements for grid stability (described by terms such as “frequency control” and “inertia”), ensuring the power grid can overcome disturbances
  • Resilient: Delivering reliable power in the face of increasingly severe weather events influenced by climate change
  • Affordable: Lowering electricity costs for households and businesses

3. A modern grid powered by diverse renewable energy and storage can provide secure, reliable, clean and affordable power for Australians.

4. A key risk for Australian grids and power stations is worsening extreme weather, particularly extreme, prolonged heat and storms. A distributed, flexible grid using multiple forms of technology will be critical to building a resilient energy system.

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