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Australia’s Energy Emissions Intensity Has Dropped Since Carbon Price

Australian energy emissions intensity

Australia’s recent introduction of a carbon price appears to have driven a significant drop in national energy emissions intensity.

Some of Australia’s coal-fired power stations are beginning to be shuttered, put on standby, or are simply supplying less energy. The Yallourn coal-fired power station, which uses brown coal, is the most recent to declare a cut in production. The ramped-up development of renewable forms of energy, falling demand for power, and the introduction of the carbon price are all said to be driving falling demand for coal-fired power.

Figures complied by the Australian Energy Market Operator have shown that electricity supplied to the east coast, where the majority of the Australian population lives, included on average 7.6% fewer carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour of electricity.

Climate Change minister Greg Combat has said “This means the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere in the September quarter this year was 2.4 million tonnes lower than it would have been if emissions intensity had remained at the 2011-12 level of 0.92 tonnes per megawatt hour.”

The minister maintained that is is significant that the emissions intensity of electricity generation has fallen in the first quarter since the introduction of the carbon price. He also noted that around 3000 megawatts of high-polluting electricity generation has been closed or phased down, adding “The carbon price is a key driver of these changes, although it is not the only factor at work”.

Do you think Australian emissions will continue to drop significantly over the coming months and years after the introduction of the carbon price? No doubt other countries without a carbon price yet will be watching closely to see what happens in Australia.

Image: Australian Energy Market Operator

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