Australian energy group AusNet has committed to an interim Scope 1 and 2 CO2-e emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 (relative to a 2022 baseline) and a goal of net zero by 2045, in its inaugural Climate Change Position Statement.
AusNet’s Position Statement is supported by a more detailed Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Report, also released today, that outlines the organisation’s actions to manage climate related risks and opportunities, and to reduce emissions.
AusNet Chief Executive Officer, Tony Narvaez, said AusNet has an important role to play in enabling decarbonisation of the electricity and gas sectors.
“The energy sector is the largest contributor to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, so as the operator of Victoria’s primary high-voltage transmission network, as well as an electricity and a gas distribution network, we play a central role in enabling the decarbonisation of our State,” he said.
AusNet generated 1.7 million tonnes of Scope 1 and 2 CO2-e emissions in 2022, of which 1.5 million tonnes was due to the energy lost in the transport of electricity through its networks from generators to customers. Approximately two per cent of all the electricity transmitted on the transmission network is lost, and six per cent on the distribution network. The emissions associated with these losses will reduce as the grid decarbonises.
AusNet is committed to playing its part in transitioning to a low-carbon future. So far, decarbonising the energy sector has been achievable within existing electricity network infrastructure. But the network is approaching capacity and grid constraints are curtailing existing generation and starting to limit the addition of new renewable electricity generation.
“While we cannot directly influence the carbon intensity of the electricity that we transport, it is imperative that we expand the capacity of our networks and connect new renewable generation as quickly and prudently as possible. This includes building new transmission and distribution infrastructure, enhancing network resilience and integrating consumer energy resources such as electric vehicles and rooftop solar onto our network while maintaining system security,” said Mr Narvaez.
“This must be done affordably and respectfully in the communities where we operate,” he added.
AusNet has already connected more than 5GW of large-scale renewable energy and storage, and more than 200,000 customers with rooftop solar to its networks.
“But there remains much more to do so we are investing in resources, systems and information to help us and our customers with the clean energy transition,” he said.
AusNet is developing new network infrastructure, such as the 190 kilometre Western Renewables Link project, a proposed 500kV high-voltage electricity transmission line from near Bulgana in western Victoria to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west. This will contribute to the successful transition from coal by enabling further energy generation from large scale wind and solar in western Victoria to power up to one million homes and reduce congestion on the existing network.
“We are also focusing on the emissions we can directly control through initiatives including refurbishment or replacement of high greenhouse gas leaking equipment at our terminal stations, transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy in our buildings, and trialling electric vehicles within our fleet,” said Mr Narvaez.
AusNet commits to enhancing the transparency and disclosure of its mitigation strategies and performance on climate change metrics. It will report annually against its emissions reduction targets and other cross-industry metrics as outlined in its TCFD report, and will update these in line with any material performance, market, policy, regulatory or other relevant changes.
AusNet’s targets support the Victorian Government’s renewable energy and emissions reduction agenda.
Reports can be found on the Sustainability section of the AusNet website.