Australia needs a Supergrid to become a ‘renewable energy superpower’

February 16, 2023

Beyond Zero Emissions’ new report shows an urgent upgrade to Australia’s electricity grid is needed for the country to remain competitive in the global green economy.

Beyond Zero Emissions, a leading Australian think tank, today released ‘National Supergrid’, a new report showing how fast-tracked investment into Australia’s grid can deliver energy savings to households and infrastructure for a $333 billion green export opportunity.

As Australian households and businesses experience bill shock caused by the skyrocketing price of fossil fuels, ‘National Supergrid’ highlights the need for immediate investment by the federal government to build the engine room that will underpin Australia’s transition towards a renewable energy powerhouse.

Australia’s energy grid is currently a handbrake on the delivery of new renewable energy, and our export profile is highly exposed to demand collapse as the world rapidly pivots to a zero-emissions future. The EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan and the US Inflation Reduction Act are clear signs that our trading partners are moving rapidly towards a global green economy.

Households will save an average of $4,000 per annum under this proposal. ‘National Supergrid’ also shows widespread benefits for Australia’s workforce and industry sector, regional communities and First Nations peoples if the federal government accelerates the delivery of its Powering Australia plan.

CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions Heidi Lee says, “Supergrid is a critical nation-building initiative. Just as past government investment in rail, roads and ports opened up new economic opportunities for Australia, rapid deployment of new renewable energy is key to reducing energy costs and as the foundation of Australia’s prosperity for generations to come.

“There is no ‘renewable energy superpower’ without a Supergrid.”

Beyond Zero Emissions has previously shown Australia has the potential to develop a national network of zero-emissions manufacturing precincts and grow our green export mix to $333 billion per annum, far exceeding the value of existing fossil fuel exports.

The Export Powerhouse report detailed how new green export industries will meet surging demand for zero-carbon products, such as green steel, renewable hydrogen and ammonia, green aluminium and critical minerals that will dominate global economic growth this century, with industrial and mining communities in regional Australia the most set to benefit.

However, it requires us to rapidly build up our capacity for smart grid management tools that connect rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles, building sufficient energy storage capacity to maintain consistent supply, ensuring stable grid parameters and expanding transmission to connect renewable energy zones and strengthen interconnectors.

Lee says, “The federal government must play a key role in setting a clear, unifying vision and coordinating with all stakeholders to create a roadmap that delivers investment confidence, fosters collaboration and leverages synergies, all at an accelerated pace.

“The current Rewiring the Nation funding commitment sets the right direction. But only by accelerating the investment timeframe and introducing further funding from programs such as the National Reconstruction Fund can we ensure grid transformation happens at the speed and scale required to maintain a safe climate and create a prosperous economy.”

The full National Supergrid report can be found on the Beyond Zero Emissions website.

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