July 11, 2018 Read More →

Australia posts renewable generation record, more on the way

Australian Financial Review:

Wind and solar power supplied a record 25.2 percent of Australia’s electricity requirements on June 15 and are driving down carbon emissions from power generation rapidly toward the target needed to meet the country’s Paris accord commitments.

The findings from advisory firm EnergyEdge have further underlined the potential for the energy system to contribute to emissions reductions well beyond current national targets and added weight to calls for those goals to be made more ambitious. EnergyEdge managing director Josh Stabler said that June 15 also broke the record for the maximum supply during the day from renewables, at 34.8 percent, and for the lowest carbon-intensity of generation on any day.

The analysis came as fresh forecasts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance point to further huge renewables growth in Australia out to 2050 that has the effect of making existing coal-fired generation increasingly uneconomic as well as ruling out investments to extend the life of existing coal plants.

The BNEF analysis anticipates some $US144 billion of investment will be made in Australia’s generation system by 2050, of which a massive 84 percent will be in renewables. Ongoing rapid growth in rooftop solar and “behind-the-meter” investments in batteries will make consumers the most influential generator on the grid by that time.

“The Australian mix will completely reorient,” said Leonard Quong, a lead BNEF analyst in Australia, noting that under current legislated regulations, the share of renewables will grow to about 66 percent of operating megawatts by 2050, while the share of coal and gas shrinks to 17 percent.

Mr. Quong said that “almost no new capital” would go into coal even to extend existing plants, both because of the reluctance of investors to invest in that fuel, but also because coal generators don’t have the flexibility needed to fit alongside renewables which will increasingly dominate the daytime generation mix. “We think that renewables are already cheaper than refurbishing these assets for 15 years,” he told a briefing in Sydney, while noting that new wind and solar would supplant existing coal generators.

More: Renewables break records in electricity supply ahead of huge growth


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