Australia has potential to use 100% renewable energy
The Australian National University has published a study detailing how a zero-emissions grid would work.
The grid would rely on wind and solar technology, but the innovation comes from the pumped hydro storage, which would support the network. A move like this would eliminate the need for coal and gas power.
As many aging coal-fired power stations close (on which 2/3 of Australia’s electricity relies) demand for new types of energy is spiking.
Professor Andrew Blakers at the ANU believes that wind and solar energy could be that replacement.
The short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) utilizes reservoirs at different altitudes to both store and generate power.
This system would provide Australia with a cheap, stable, zero-emissions network that can support a larger share of renewable energy.
The details of the report estimate that wind and solar energy would contribute 90 percent of total annual electricity. Hydroelectricity and biomass sources would supplement the remaining 10 percent.
This energy mix is based on the widely-spread wind and energy sources, and leverages the different weather system available in Australia.
The pumped hydro storage system is the mechanism by which supply and demand will be managed, as these weather systems are notoriously unreliable at providing the appropriate amount of energy at any given time.
The hydro-pump can store the energy produced during peak generation hours, and then distribute it as needed. ■