Least Cost Pathways to a Low Carbon Electricity Sector for Australia
Designing the pathway to a low carbon energy system is complex, requiring consideration of the variable nature of renewables at the hourly timescale, emission intensity and ramp rate constraints of dispatchable technologies (both fossil and renewable) and transmission and distribution network limitations. In this work, an optimization framework taking into account these considerations has been applied to find the lowest cost ways to reduce carbon emissions by 80\% in 2050 while keeping the system operating reliably along the way. Technologies included are existing and advanced coal and gas technologies (with and without carbon capture and storage), rooftop PV, utility scale PV, concentrating solar thermal, hydro with and without pumped storage, bioenergy, and nuclear. In this case we have studied the Eastern Australian market, but will adopt the model for other regions in the future.