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Monday, 9 August 2004
Page: 25966

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, upon notice, on 16 April 2004:

With reference to the statement by the Minister on 24 March 2004 that it would cost $340 billion to replace 20 per cent of coal-fired electricity generation with electricity from renewable energy sources:

(1) Can details be provided of the analysis on which this statement is based.

(2) What assumptions were made about the mix and cost of the renewable technologies involved.

(3) What role was assumed for energy efficiency measures.

(4) (a) What would be the cost of avoiding 20 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired electricity by using so-called `clean coal' technologies, that is, using coal gasification in new power stations and capturing, transporting and storing the CO2 underground, and (b) in relation to the cost, what assumptions and calculations were used.

Senator Minchin (Minister for Finance and Administration) —The Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The $340 billion refers to the approximate additional cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20% by 2030 by replacing coal fired electricity generation with renewable energy sources.

The costs associated with switching from coal to renewable energy to meet Australia's future energy demand is considered by the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD) in its Technology Report 32, Systems Assessments of Future Electricity Generation Options for Australia. This report examined a range of future power generation scenarios for Australia.

One of these scenarios considered how much it would cost to replace all future power demand with renewable energy between now and 2030. This includes all new generating capacity and the replacement of existing capacity with renewable energy as it reaches the end of its life. The report indicates that the capital cost for this scenario would be $375b for the period 2005-2030 compared with $44.9b for its business as usual scenario.

Regarding your first three questions, the report on which the above scenario is based is available from the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development; a copy is available in the Parliamentary Library.

Relating to the costs of carbon capture and storage, refer to QON 1063 from Senator Brown in January 2003.