GREENPEACE Australia has released new economic modelling revealing that wind power will be cheaper than coal by 2030.
The claim is contained in an ambitious blueprint to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which says changing to renewable energy makes economic, not just environmental, sense.
The blueprint — Australia's Energy (R)evolution — proposes cutting greenhouse emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2020 by generating 40% of electricity from renewable sources.
It says this would stabilise energy prices in the future, as long as it is combined with significant gains in energy efficiency.
By contrast, it warns that electricity prices will nearly double by 2020 and almost triple by 2050 if Australia does not move away from fossil fuels, because of rising world prices and the increasing price of carbon permits under an emissions trading scheme.
"Fossil fuels will continue to get more expensive, while the cost of wind will fall because of economies of scale," report co-author Julien Vincent told The Age.
"For the first time we can see how we are able to phase out the dirtiest fossil fuel in Australia and by 2030 have eliminated the biggest sources of greenhouse gas — coal."
The report concentrates on the transport and energy sectors. It advocates improved insulation, more efficient electrical appliances, and replacing electrical heaters and hot water systems with solar collectors.