Greenhouse gas emissions hit 10 year low in Australia

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from its National Electricity Market (NEM) have dropped to a 10 year low. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the reduction in gas emissions was from a fall in coal-fired power production, which also reached a 10 year low. 

NEM's renewable energy production increased 12 percent in the first quarter of the year and the Herald reported the growth is expected to continue. Demand for coal is dropping as renewable have increased energy output. 

"Renewables are basically cancelling out coal," said Hugh Grossman, executive director of RepuTex, a specialist energy and carbon research firm that released the emissions report.

In the first three months of the year, coal power accounted for 74.8 percent of the NEM. The Herald said wind generation accounted for 3.8 percent of power production while water power reached 8.7 percent and gas produced 12.7 percent of Australia's power. 

The Herald also attributed the decline in coal-fired power as the result of a new carbon pricing mechanism introduced in July, which led to the doubling of wholesale electricity prices. Government compensation for brown coal expires at the end of 2017 due to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and may result in additional decreases in coal demand. The RET was created to ensure that 20 percent of Australia's energy comes from renewable resources by 2020. 

Visit PennEnergy's Research area for more information on Australian energy.

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