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Australian gas-fired electric generation drops to lowest level since 2006 as renewables climb

February 02, 2021

Renew Economy:

Electricity generated from gas-fired power stations [in Australia] fell dramatically in 2020, according to a new analysis from the Climate Council, despite the Morrison government embracing the fossil fuel as part of its Covid-19 economic response.

Gas-fired generation fell by 19 per cent in 2020, while output from wind and solar projects continued to surge, as the Covid-19 pandemic led to subdued demand for electricity seeing higher-cost gas squeezed out of the market.

According to the new analysis published by the Climate Council on Tuesday, the market share of renewable energy grew to 26 per cent in 2020 in the National Electricity Market, while gas fell to just 8 per cent of the electricity supply.

“This latest data clearly shows that gas is on the way out and has no role to play in our economic recovery. It is foolish to waste taxpayers’ money building new gas power stations. It is completely unnecessary,” Climate Council researcher Tim Baxter said.

According to electricity data platform OpenNEM, in 2020 gas generators produced 15,143GWh of electricity in Australia’s main grid, the lowest total since 2006.

Gas generators played their biggest roll in supplying power in Western Australia and South Australia, where they provided around 40 per cent of electricity generation. However, 2020 saw demand for gas generation collapse in larger states, particularly New South Wales and Victoria, where gas generator market share slumped to just 1.6 and 3.1 per cent, respectively – significantly below the total market share of renewable energy sources.

[Michael Mazengarb]

More: Transition fuel? Gas generation slumped sharply in 2020 as wind and solar surged

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