August 23, 2021 Read More →

Solar output tops coal in Australia main grid for first time

Renew Economy:

The combined output of rooftop solar and large scale solar farms exceeded that of brown and black coal generation for the first time in Australia’s main grid on Sunday.

According to energy analyst Simon Holmes a Court, quoting the OpenNEM data feed he helped establish, solar exceeded the output of coal at 12.35pm on Sunday, delivering a combined 9,427MW, or 41.2 per cent of demand, compared to coal’s combined 9,315MW, a combined 41.1 per cent.

It’s a significant landmark, reinforcing the scale and pace of the energy transition that has forced Australia’s two biggest utilities – AGL and Origin – to all but abandon the concept of coal generation as necessary “baseload” as they seek to adapt their legacy business models to wind, solar and storage technologies.

It wasn’t the only record to fall on Sunday, with fellow analyst Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne, noting that the output of coal had fallen to a record low, just as “instantaneous” renewable energy hit a new high of 56.2 per cent.

This was above the 56.1 per cent high set in April this year, but it was quickly eclipsed as the share of renewables hit a peak of 57.1 per cent of demand at 12.35pm. Wind was providing 13.2 per cent of demand at that time, and hydro 2.2 per cent.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Solar exceeds coal for first time, as renewables set new records on Australia’s main grid

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