Experts have said the results of a comparative study show there is no longer a business case for new non-renewable generation in Australia.
The study, published last year by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), found solar and wind are the cheapest forms of power even after balancing costs were taken into account.
And since both are still falling in price, with solar continuing to see annual cost reductions of up to 10 percent, “we have no expectations of people investing in anything else,” said lead author Paul Graham, the chief economist at CSIRO’s energy division.
Although the researchers had expected wind and solar to outgun fossil fuels price-wise on a standalone basis, the finding that renewables are competitive with coal even after factoring in the cost of two to six hours of battery or pumped hydro storage “was a surprise,” he said.
Wind and solar trounce coal
The research found the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of standalone wind and PV coming it at a range roughly between AUD $65 and $50 (USD $46 to $36) per megawatt-hour