A new study suggests that the first year’s investment in Australia’s power system will be a massive $1.2 trillion upgrade, and it’s going to take the government at least six years to complete the job.
The paper, published in the journal Nature, has found that the initial investment will require a massive shift from what the government is already investing in the grid.
The country’s electricity system is already outdated, which means that when the cost of upgrading it is fully paid for, the country will still have less than half the capacity available.
It’s also unlikely that a significant number of households in the country can be connected to the grid, because the network is so unreliable that it’s likely that only a few hundred households will be able to switch on their appliances.
The new paper by a team of Australian researchers, including scientists from the Australian National University, the Australian Energy Market Operator, and the Australian Research Council, suggests that Australia will need a new power system that has more reliability and fewer costs.
The researchers calculated that the cost to upgrade Australia’s electricity infrastructure from current standards of 3.6 cents a kilowatt hour to 4.1 cents a kWh will be $4.7 trillion over the next three decades.
The government has been talking about a plan to replace the entire country’s grid with a 100-megawatt (MW) system, and to do so by 2020.
That’s an ambitious target, but the new paper argues that Australia needs to start from scratch and look at the entire grid, not just what’s in the central network.
“The first year is critical for the country to be ready for a successful upgrade,” lead author Dr Peter Geddes, from the ANU’s Institute of Energy, Environment and Water, told New Scientist.
“But this year will be particularly crucial because the cost will depend on how long it takes the government to make the upgrade.”
Australia’s existing grid, which was established in the 1970s, is not built to cope with the rapid changes that will be required to the country after 2020.
The national electricity market will require massive upgrades to keep up with the changing needs of households, businesses and cities.
The ANU and the University of Queensland have been working on a new grid that will use solar, wind and geothermal power, and they have also been developing a system that will power the country with geothermal, tidal and tidal wave energy.
A third option, which is the most expensive option, would be to use the electricity generated from natural gas, which will run on the ocean floor.
But these technologies will cost tens of billions of dollars, which would put a huge strain on the resources of the country.
The Australian researchers have also looked at how the grid is already working, which has shown that it has a lot of capacity.
“This paper provides evidence that the network currently under construction is working and will not only provide more reliability than the network under construction, but also more than twice the capacity than is currently available,” said lead author of the paper Dr Simon Williams.
“That is an astonishing achievement given the current ageing and outdated network.”