Coal’s Market Share Sinks to its Lowest Level in Australian History

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The pitt&sherry Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX®) for February 2013 shows that the steady fall in demand for electricity from National Electricity Market (NEM) generators and in emissions from the electricity generation sector continued at an increasing rate throughout February.

According to pitt&sherry, the share of coal in eastern Australia’s electricity generation network has fallen below 75 percent for the first time in Australian history.

Dr Hugh Saddler, Principal Consultant, Energy Strategies, pitt&sherry, who works with the company right here in Canberra, said:

“As has been the case ever since the big electricity demand fall started, more than two years ago, the change in emissions is caused by the squeeze which the combination of falling demand and increased supply from gas and renewable generators is putting on the dominant coal generators.”

Apparently, hydro energy output has increased significantly, from both the Tasmanian hydro system and from the Victorian side of the Snowy. On an annualised basis, wind generation also reached its highest ever level of generation, supplying 3.8 percent of NEM generation.

So now the sources of electricity generation are: coal 74.8 per cent, gas 12.7 percent, and renewables 12.5 percent.

Dr Saddler said, “Falling demand is the most important driver of the changes in generation shares and consequent falling emissions intensity …”.

The pitt&sherry Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX®) also indicates that Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions continued to fall and, for the year ended December 2012, were 2 million tonnes CO2-e lower than they were in the year ended September 2012

While the consumption of petroleum fuels and associated emissions have continued to grow steadily, “the continued fall in electricity generation emissions more than offset strong growth in emissions from petroleum fuels, while emissions from non-electricity natural gas used were almost unchanged,” said Dr Saddler.

Check out the fabulous diagrams in the pitt&sherry report (here) that graphically show the trends.

See the Latest figures on renewable energy generation connections in the ACT


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