Australian Energy Emissions Monitor is a publication of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, providing timely analysis of the most recent trends in energy related greenhouse gas emissions. The publication is intended as a service to Australia’s energy community.
The March edition of the Australian Energy Emissions Monitor consists of three sections. The first section, common to every issue, updates trends in energy consumption and the consequent fossil fuel emissions, using the most recent monthly data available at the start of March. The second section updates a set of graphs which summarise progress in the transition of Australia’s electricity supply system, state by state, towards zero emission over the longer term. The third section shows monthly volume weighted average spot prices in each of the mainland NEM states from August 2022 to February 2023.
Key points in this edition:
- The most recent data show that moving annual emissions from both electricity generation and other uses of natural gas are both gradually decreasing.
- By contrast, consumption of petroleum products is steadily increasing and seems to have been little affected by the high prices experienced during the period April to July 2022.
- Road transport accounts for over 60% of total consumption of petroleum fuels. Other major consumers are coal mining, all other mining, manufacturing and agriculture.
- On current trends, within less than two years, consumption of petroleum fuels will overtake combined emissions from electricity generation and other uses of natural gas as the largest source of fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions in eastern Australia.
- In the year to February 2023, renewable generation supplied 30% of grid scale electricity generated in the NEM, 68% in South Australia, 32% in Victoria, 24% in New South Wales, and only 14% in Queensland. The corresponding share of the SWIS in Western Australia in the year 2021-22 was 22%.
- On the basis of these figures, Victoria is likely to achieve its legislated renewable generation target shares. However, Queensland, because it started so much later than all other states, is likely to find it difficult to achieve its recently announced, but yet to be legislated, target.
- Total electricity emission reductions between 2015-16 and 2021-22 show a similar pattern: NEM 23%, South Australia 58%, Victoria 32%, Western Australia 24%, New South Wales 16%, and Queensland 13%.
- During the seven months starting August 2022, i.e. since extremely high wholesale electricity prices came to an end, volume weighted spot wholesale prices have been consistently up to $40 per MWh lower in Victoria and South Australia than corresponding prices in New South Wales and Queensland. In other words, the states with higher shares of wind and solar generation have had consistently much lower wholesale prices.