CSIRO Research Shows Renewables Set to Dominate; “Investors will go for value for money”

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“Investors will go for value for money” Giles Parkinson.

An updated study published by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator has stated that wind, solar and battery storage technologies are the most cost-effective means of low-carbon energy production, adding that they’re likely to dominate the energy landscape in the near future.

The release of the 2019-updated publication coincides with reports stating that the cost of electricity in Canberra is set to plummet dramatically, thanks to its 100% renewable plan.

“The expected retail price decrease largely reflects falling prices in the wholesale electricity market,” wrote the ACT’s Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission. “A key driver of these lower wholesale prices is the growth in renewable energy generation,” they added.

The first iteration of the report, known as the GenCost 2018 stated that wind and solar represented the most frugal means of energy production, and combined with storage, represented Australia’s most effective means of low carbon electricity production.

The authors have since updated the report, adding that solar and wind remain the most cost-effective option, despite the Australian government’s promotion of gas, carbon capture and nuclear energy, renewables are still their pick of the bunch.

“The global generation mix is expected to be dominated by wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) by 2050 in all three scenarios explored in this report,” authors of the report stated.

“The implementation of scenarios that include a broader set of global technology drivers has resulted in a wider range of potential capital cost reduction paths for wind and solar PV. The new scenarios also indicate that in some scenarios carbon capture and storage and nuclear small modular reactors could play a larger role than previously projected,” they added.

According to RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson, the “capital cost estimates - which assume continued cost reductions for solar, wind and dramatic falls for batteries, remain little changed from the 2018 version, although wind cost reductions are lower than expected last year.”

Parkinson continued to explain that “given that even the Coalition governments expects the share of renewables to reach 50 per cent by 2030, the AEMO expects that to be higher by 2030 and heading to at least 74 per cent to 90 per cent by 2040, then that does not appear to leave much room for either carbon capture or nuclear in this country.”

“Even then, the cost of nuclear in 2040 will still be considerably more expensive than the combination of wind and solar and storage, and likely to be more than three times more expensive across different scenarios. A similar cost disparity remains for 2050. And investors, it notes, will go for value for money.”

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