Power sector in 2030
In 2020, coal, gas, and renewables (including biomass) made up 54%, 20%, and 25% of Australia’s power generation mix, respectively. The latest government statistics show that coal’s share has fallen, while that of gas and renewables has increased. Although the decrease in coal use is positive, illustrative 1.5°C pathways would require this to occur at a faster pace and that coal be phased out of power by 2030. Gas-fired power should also begin to decline and be phased out by 2035. Moreover, fossil fuel phase-out should coincide with a strong uptake of renewables. This is to be accomplished by a projected 82% renewable penetration in Australia’s power sector by 2030. An 82% renewables penetration would be an increase from the current 27% level and the projected ~68% 2030 level under the government’s latest projections.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
A 1.5°C compatible full decarbonisation of the power sector by mid-2030s could be driven by the phase-out of coal around 2029 and gas around 2035, and a strong uptake of renewables reaching around 100% of the power mix by 2040.
The Climate Action Tracker assessment of Paris compatible pathway for Australia shows that the power sector could be fully decarbonised by the mid-2030s with a 97% renewable energy share by 2030. Analysed downscaled pathways show a lower uptake of renewables by 2030, around 81-88%.
The range of 1.5°C compatible pathways assessed here see power sector carbon emissions reach 32–60 MtCO₂/yr by 2030, a reduction of 67-82% below 2019 levels.