Surging renewables, COVID-19 pile more pressure on coal
Source: The Age
Australia’s renewable energy output is on track to post its sharpest rise on record in the next two years, driving down power prices and intensifying the prospect of early closures of coal-fired power plants across the country.
Independent modelling from global energy giant Schneider Electric, the nation’s largest corporate energy adviser, forecasts that wind, solar and hydro power’s share of the main grid will surge as much as 6 percentage points this year – from 21 to 27 per cent – and could exceed 30 per cent by the end of 2021.
Experts and analysts say the surge in renewable energy will drive down daytime spot prices and pile greater-than-expected pressure on ageing coal-fired power plants, which are far more expensive to run.
Coronavirus travel restrictions are forecast to slash global energy demand by 6 per cent this year, seven times more than during the global financial crisis, according to the International Energy Agency. Coal is anticipated to bear the brunt with an 8 per cent drop, while renewable energy’s very low operating costs had enabled it to expand market share.
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