Australia can build an affordable and secure electricity network with 100 per cent renewable energy, using existing technologies, according to research by the Australian National University (ANU).
The study details plans for a zero-emissions grid which would rely on wind and solar technology, supported by pumped hydro storage.
It could be set up with inexpensive, currently available, "off the shelf" products and eliminate the need for coal and gas-fired power.
At the moment, two-thirds of Australia's electricity comes from coal-fired power stations but as they age and close — like Hazelwood will in Victoria next month — a reliable baseload capacity replacement must be found.
Professor Andrew Blakers from the ANU said wind and solar can be that replacement, with the support of off-river pumped hydro, where reservoirs at different altitudes can be used to store and generate power.
Professor Blakers is the lead author on the study which has found that by using solar and wind energy, supported by pumped hydro, Australia can have a cheap, stable, zero-emissions network.
The research follows Energy Australia's announcement last week it will investigate an off-river pumped hydro venture at the top of South Australia's Spencer Gulf.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the Australian land mass is not near a river and we're finding hundreds and thousands of sites, all the way from north Queensland, down the Great Dividing Range and across to South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia," Professor Blakers said.
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