Global carbon emissions are down – but Australian electricity grid is flat | Greenhouse gas emissions | Instant News

Global greenhouse gas emissions are expected to decline this year after the country and industry were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Australian electricity grid seems to be immune.

An analysis found that reduced economic activity over a five-week period is likely to cut emissions from coal-dominated power plants in the country by only about 1% compared to previous years.

Total electricity consumption between March 16 and April 21 was 2.4% lower than last year, but more than half of the decline was likely due to the warmer up in 2019 in that period, which caused people to use energy-hungry air conditioners more often.

The report by Hugh Saddler, an energy analyst who writes a monthly national emissions audit for The Australia Institute’s think tank, also underlines the steps in which renewable energy generation has increased.

This gives more than 50% power for almost two hours at midday on Easter Saturday, the first time this happens for more than a few minutes.

From December to March, distributed rooftop solar power provided 16.3% electricity in South Australia and 7.7% in Queensland, up from 10.1% and 5.3% respectively two years ago. In the grid, renewable energy is 24.9% of the generation.

Saddler, an honorary professor at Crawford’s School of Public Policy, National University of Australia, said while Australia hoped to see a significant reduction in emissions from road and flight transportation due to virus closure when data were available, electricity and gas usage had been held. ride.

“Given the disruptive nature of the pandemic and its effect on sectors such as transportation, it may surprise some that the reduction in carbon emissions from electricity, the sector with the most pollution in Australia, is very small,” he said.

Saddler said Australia was different from some of the countries worst affected by which major energy users in Australia, such as mining, mineral processing and manufacturing operations, remained largely open. Air conditioning and lighting continue to run in many shopping centers, offices, hotels and education centers even though fewer people use it, and household electricity usage increases when people stay at home.

While total national emissions are already remain mostly flat under the Coalition before the pandemic, electricity emissions have been reduced when the wave of clean energy began online, driven by falling costs of wind and solar technology and the renewable energy target by 2020. Investment in large-scale clean generation slowed down last year after targets have been met and not replaced, and delays in building transmission infrastructure.

Richie Merzian, director of the Australia Institute’s climate and energy program, said the pandemic risks slowing down the electricity grid. moving towards a higher proportion of net power if the government heeded telephone from the Australian Energy Council, representing generators, retailers and networks, to use it to delay the electricity market reform.

“Electricity emissions have been slightly dented but there is no real change, and things could get worse if the federal government improves and expands coal clunkers as part of a pandemic recovery package,” he said.

The report also examines emissions contained in Australia’s east coast liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry. It was found that the emissions contained were sent from Gladstone to Asia because LNG has a far greater carbon footprint than emissions from gas-fired power stations on the national grid.

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