Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation continued to rise in April as brown coal took a bigger share of the energy mix and electricity demand rose.
Electricity-related emissions in the year to April were 3.1%, or 4.6 million tonnes, higher than in the 12 months to June 2014, according to Pitt and Sherry’s Carbon Emissions Index (Cedex), which tracks the National Electricity Market (NEM).
CO2 from power generation has increased steadily since the government repealed the carbon pricing scheme last year, with coal regaining market shares.
“The share of combined black and brown coal generation in the NEM again increased slightly in the year to April 2015, and has now almost reached 75%,” the index said.
“Brown coal generation by itself reached 24.0%, which is its highest share since the year to September 2012, just after the introduction of the carbon price.”
But the April update also showed that annualised electricity demand increased for the second month in a row, bucking a trend of decline that has lasted since 2010.
“It is likely that the apparent end to falling total demand is mainly being caused by the end of falling residential demand,” the index said.
Residential electricity demand fell 13% between 2010 and 2014, mostly due to a boom in solar roof panels.
If lasting, a trend of rising demand for electricity would make it more difficult for Australia to meet its target of reducing GHG emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.