2011. Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Zero Carbon Australia by 2020 Plan (ZCA2020)

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) ZCA2020 Plan   


100% Renewable Stationary Energy for Australia by 2020


BZE has 20 volunteer engineers plus numerous volunteer supporters (presenters, office, IT, design): “Our goal is to facilitate the implementation of the social changes and technologies that will reduce the impacts of climate change and give our society and global ecosystems a chance of surviving into the future.”


BZE launched the ZCA2020 Plan in 2010 in conjunction with the University of Melbourne Energy Institute. It has received wide scientific, academic and business support and some tripartisan commendation (Bob Carr, Malcolm Turnbull, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam).


Google BZE for free download of the ZCA2020 Report or the much shorter ZCA2020 Synopsis. You can buy hard copies of the ZCA2020 Report from the University of Melbourne Energy Institute.


BZE is currently working on further Reports in relation to Transport, Agriculture and Land Use, Buildings and Industry.


Key features of the ZCA2020 Plan


A. Why Australia must get to zero CO2 emissions by 2020.


Professor Hans Joachim  Schellnhuber CBE (Potsdam Institute, Germany) says that for a 67% chance of avoiding a disastrous 2 degree C temperature rise (EU policy), the world must cease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 (not good odds: would you board a plane that had a 33% chance of crashing?). If we accept that “all men are created equal” then we must have equal shares in polluting the atmosphere until 2050. This means that high annual per capita CO2 polluters such as the US and Australia must cease by 2020 whereas India and Burkina Faso can actually increase CO2 pollution before finally ceasing in 2050.


Greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution largely involves CO2 but also includes other GHGs such as methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and man-made chorofluorohydrocarbons (CFCs), the total GHG pollution being measured as CO2-equivalent (CO2-e).  “Annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) (Google “Climate Genocide”).

B. ZCA2020 Plan:  60% Concentrated Solar Thermal with molten salts energy storage, 40% Wind plus HVAC/HVDC grid & biomass and hydroelectric backup.


1. BZE deliberately chose 2 established, commercial,  renewable technologies,  specifically Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) with molten salts energy storage and Wind turbines  (that are being widely applied commercially already) in order to establish a “proof of principle” i.e. we can achieve 100% renewable energy by 2020 for Australia using existing commercially-applied technologies.


2. CST with molten salts energy storage involves a Power Tower surrounded by a field of mirrors (heliostats) that concentrate the solar radiation at the top of the Power Tower where it heats molten salts (potassium and sodium nitrate, melting point 220C) from a “cold” tank (290C) to 565C, this heated solution being stored in a “hot” tank. The heat is used to generate steam which drives a turbine and thence generates electricity. Molten salts storage means that the system can operate 24/7. Such systems are already supplying commercial power in the US and Spain. Nineteen (19) 220MW (million watt) modules will form each of twelve (12)  3,500 MW solar regions (42,000 MW capacity in total; capacity factor 75%)


3. Wind turbines would be used in 23 regions for a total of 6,400 turbines (28,000 MW; capacity factor 30%).


4. High voltage direct current (HVDC) and high voltage alternating current (HVAC) links would make up an efficient national  grid.


5. Extensive modeling based on real meteorological data shows that in this system solar energy would supplement available wind energy to achieve required power. Biomass and hydrolelectric backup would be available for those rare occasions of low wind and low sunshine.


6. $370 billion cost over 10 years. Australia has the steel, concrete and labor resources to enable implementation and there would be 40,000 ongoing new jobs in maintenance and operations of the system (peak construction labor force 75,000). 


7. Increased energy efficiency (e.g. in transport, buildings, heating and cooling) is a key part of the scheme. Indeed the power capacity would increase by 40% (from 50,000 MW now to 70,000 MW under ZCA2020) to enable electrified transport.


NB. This is just the beginning. Top scientists say that we must urgently reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration from the current 392 parts per million (ppm) to 300 ppm for a safe planet for all peoples and all species (e.g. by biochar production,  re-afforestation and ceasing livestock GHG pollution) (Google 300.org).