The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has mapped out potential paths from the future of electricity in Australia. 

AEMO has published its 2021 Inputs, Assumptions and Scenarios Report (IASR) incorporating five future energy scenarios, ranging from ‘slow change’ to ‘hydrogen superpower’, which will inform AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP).

The five core scenarios capture the broad range of plausible futures of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the coming decades, according to AEMO’s Chief System Design Officer, Alex Wonhas. 

“AEMO is grateful for the extensive stakeholder collaboration and input that has informed the five ISP scenarios, along with the latest research, analysis, market trends and policy developments,” Dr Wonhas said.

“Stakeholders had an overwhelming response for scenarios to reflect the observed rapid decarbonisation of the energy sector and pathways to achieve net-zero emissions across the economy,” he said.

The five scenarios are Slow Change, Steady Progress, Net Zero 2050, Step Change, and Hydrogen Superpower.

“There is no doubt the energy transition is forging ahead. We have tried to capture this through a range of scenarios characterised by the growth of electricity demand and the pace of decarbonisation,” Dr Wonhas said.

“This has led to the introduction of two central scenarios. One is the ‘steady progress’ scenario with decarbonisation led by existing government policy, corporate abatement goals and continued growth in PV uptake. The other, ‘net zero’, is driven by accelerating technology-led emission abatement based on extensive research and development, policy and progressive tightening of emission targets to meet an economy-wide net zero target by 2050.

“We have also mapped out a progressive ‘hydrogen superpower’ scenario based on a power system to support the development of a renewable hydrogen export economy,” he said.

AEMO says it will use input on the plan in its future work to identify system improvements in the long-term interests of consumers.