“Deploy!” Says Beyond Zero Emissions

The latest report from Beyond Zero Emissions states that we have the technology to reduce our emissions by up to 80%, we just have to use it. The Beyond Zero Emissions vision is a prosperous zero emissions Australia for more details beyond what we cover here.

The new federal Labor government has passed legislation (the Australian Climate Act) requiring a 43% reduction in emissions. “‘Deploy’ is the first research release from BZE since this federal law was passed, and in this report we make the case for a more ambitious 81% reduction by 2030,” said Geoff Summerhayes, Chair of Beyond Zero Emissions.

This report “dispels the misconception that emission-reducing technologies are still in the development phase or do not yet exist. With six technologies developed and on the market today, the report outlines how we can achieve outsize reductions in emissions, create future-proof jobs and lay the economic foundations for modern and competitive export industries. Deploy lays out how wind turbines, solar power, energy storage, heat pumps, electrolyzers and electric vehicles can transform power generation, buildings, vehicles and industry, aided by carbon removal, to achieve an 81% reduction over the next five years.

“The deployment plan will create jobs: We found that large-scale technology deployment plus carbon offsets for targeted activities put Australia on track for IPCC scenario SSP1-1.9 (for 1.5 degrees average global warming) and create 195,000 jobs that are not vulnerable to the boom and bust of the fossil fuel markets.”

For this to work, BZE is proposing that over the next 5 years Australia needs to install double the number of solar panels installed per year in 2021. 4 times as many wind turbines; 5 times the number of batteries; 14 times as many electric vehicles; 37 times more heat pumps; and 3,000 electrolysers. From my reading in this area I can see that the targets are being met on solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electrolysers. I’m not sure if we can reach the goal of using 3.8 million electric vehicles in the next 5 years.

The report assures us: “Fleet sales, a third of Australia’s new car market, can do the heavy lifting here. This ambition is not unprecedented. Sweden increased its new car sales from 10% EVs in December 2019 to 60% by December 2021.” Even if we deploy EVs as quickly as Norway, it will take 27 years to replace all internal combustion engines on the roads.

These electric vehicles include cars, trucks, light commercial vehicles, buses and agricultural machinery. They need to be supported by 1.12 million residential chargers and 236,000 public EV charging stations. These need to be visible (to eliminate range anxiety) and easily accessible.


David and Lex with the Western Star converted to battery

“Australia’s roll-out of residential air conditioning heat pumps is already faster than the pace required in this plan. … However, installations of heat pump water heaters need to be scaled up significantly.”

Homes become part of the energy infrastructure — Everyone will be a gentailer, generation, storage and sale of electricity back to the grid. The report finds that a 4% reduction in emissions could be achieved through behavioral change, but this is difficult and takes time. Coordination between all levels of government is required for a smooth and just transition.

The main point is that we have the tools to kill the climate monsters that plague us. We must get to work and use these tools, using the technologies we already have and resisting the messengers who want us to wait for mythical silver orbs.


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