Clean energy supercharge our economy and create brighter future for all Australians

Becoming a clean energy leader provides clear long-term benefits for Australians

22 October 2021

Transgrid’s recently announced Energy Vision suggests we have a unique opportunity to become a global, clean energy leader, in the process supercharging our economy and creating a brighter future for all Australians.

Transgrid’s Energy Vision for Australia’s electricity system uses detailed scenario modelling to assess the implications of emerging technologies, trends and policies on the future development of the grid. Six future energy scenarios were developed and modelled out to 2050 in partnership with independent experts, CSIRO, ClimateWorks Australia and The Brattle Group, to guide Transgrid’s long-term planning to develop robust, future-focused energy infrastructure.

The modelling makes it abundantly clear that efforts to support domestic and global decarbonisation will supercharge our economy, drive local job creation and lower the cost of electricity for all consumers.

Energy transformation is net positive for job creation

For example, a deep decarbonisation of the Australian economy creates 45% more electricity sector jobs across the NEM this decade than a business-as-usual future. In this scenario, the market forces, international and domestic politics, and consumer expectations we’re seeing right now drive a huge reduction in carbon emissions across all sectors of our economy. Australia commits to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C, in line with the aspirations of the Paris Agreement and goes on to achieve net zero emissions by 2035 and then net-negative emissions beyond.

A clean energy superpower future would support 68,000 Australian electricity sector jobs (full time equivalent) in the following two decades — considerably higher than today’s levels (34,000 jobs) and more than twice the level of jobs projected in Current trends. In this future, Australia harnesses its abundant renewable energy resources, large landmass, significant mineral ores and access to Asian markets to revitalise our industries, grow our economy and create new jobs.

In fact, the news may be even better that the modelling suggests. The jobs analysis in the report only considers Australian jobs required for electricity production in the NEM, such as largescale renewables, grid batteries, pumped hydro storage, rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries, coal, gas and the construction of electricity transmission.

Actual job creation would be far greater because the analysis does not consider additional jobs created in downstream sectors that use electricity, such as hydrogen, green steel and aluminium industries. Our modelling shows regional areas, including places where existing coal industries are located, such as the Hunter Valley in NSW, can be at the forefront of Australia’s clean energy future.

Energy prices fall with decarbonisation

In all scenarios, the analysis finds the cost of electricity in the NEM will remain below that seen in the previous five years for the coming three decades. The influx of new renewable generation is likely to support low electricity prices for the coming 5-10 years, before the retirement of coal generators causes prices to rise temporarily and then stabilise around $70-80/MWh.

The decarbonisation of the Australian economy can deliver lower energy expenditure for residential consumers. Residential consumers with a single electric vehicle could be at least $900/year better off under a Deep decarbonisation scenario, when considering expenditure on electricity, rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles.

Clean energy superpower achieves the lowest average energy cost, 12% lower than current trends. This is primarily driven by the synergy of flexible hydrogen production and lower storage requirements from 2035 onwards. These lower costs would flow through to all consumers, providing Australians with some of the world’s cheapest electricity.

Australia has the opportunity to capture major economic benefits by proactively embracing the energy transition and becoming a renewables powerhouse. It’s time to set ourselves on the optimal course to harness our natural advantages and emerge from decarbonisation with a supercharged economy.