‘Extraordinary economics’ of Australian solar to triumph over ideology

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council, said more and more large-scale solar will get built. Credit: Australian Solar Council

Reports have emerged suggesting that the Turnbull government of Australia is pondering an alteration of the newly proposed Clean Energy Target (CET) to support baseload coal over wind and solar, prompting concern from some industry bodies while others have brushed off the perceived threat.

The CET was put forward by the Finkel Review in June to replace the Renewable Energy Target (RET) after 2020.

Clean Energy Council (CEC) chief executive Kane Thornton said that the CET was “a crucial part of a considered roadmap towards ensuring a clean, affordable and reliable energy system for Australia, and walking away from that policy would be a clear step in the wrong direction”.

He cited the commercial feasibility of solar, wind and batteries combined to replace ailing power stations across the country.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council, told PV Tech that the Australian Government is “fundamentally split” on support for renewable energy and is unlikely to agree to a CET for post-2020, leaving its fate in the hands of the next government.

Both Grimes and Thorton said that the failure to agree on a replacement to, or extension of, the RET was creating increased uncertainty and would be a significant barrier to investment as 2020 approaches.

However, Grimes was optimistic about solar PV’s future, noting that the country has a 9GW project pipeline and solar is already the cheapest for of new generation in Australia.

“The extraordinary economics of solar means solar will win,” he said. “We will see more and more big solar to achieve the Renewable Energy Target by 2020. As we get closer to 2020, policy uncertainty will make it harder to build big solar plants but in the end, economics will triumph over ideology.”

Thornton noted that investors are currently committing to more than AU$8 billion (US$6.38 billion) in the country’s clean energy sector just in 2017, as a result of the bipartisan support for the RET up to 2020. But the uncertainty around its future was making investors “nervous”.

Read Next

June 10, 2021
Queensland will invest AU$2 billion (US$1.55 billion) on renewables and hydrogen jobs to support the Australian state’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and help it deliver on its 50% clean energy target by 2030.
June 8, 2021
Solar PV and wind will continue to be the cheapest sources of new electricity generation capacity in Australia, even when integration costs are included, according to new research from the country’s science agency, CSIRO, and the Australian Energy Market Operator.
June 7, 2021
New Energy Solar has secured a deal to sell two PV projects in New South Wales for AU$288 million (US$223 million), marking the solar investor’s exit from Australia.
June 3, 2021
The New South Wales government has launched a registration of interest process for Australia’s largest renewable energy zone (REZ), which is expected to deliver as much as 8GW of capacity.
June 3, 2021
Lightsource BP has secured AU$330 million (US$255 million) to fund the development of two utility-scale solar projects in Australia.
June 1, 2021
Financial commitments for utility-scale renewables projects in Australia have slowed to the lowest level in the past five years, according to the Clean Energy Council (CEC), which revealed investment in large-scale batteries in the country is booming.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
August 24, 2021
Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
October 6, 2021