PERTH (miningweekly.com) – New research by analyst GlobalData has shown that the pace of Australia’s push for renewable energy has slowed down.
In its latest report ‘Australia Power Market Outlook to 2030’, GlobalData notes that Australia has not been able to decommission its coal-fired power plants at the pace originally envisaged, making it difficult to fast-track renewable energy development.
“Australia has vast unused renewable potential and aims to generate 23.5% of its energy, equivalent to 33 TWh, from renewable sources by 2020, in accordance with the extended mandatory renewable energy target,” said GlobalData power industry analyst Chiradeep Chatterjee.
“As of 2017, coal dominated the Australian power mix, with a share of 37.7% of the total installed capacity, followed by gas with 28.7%.
“Australia has substantial coal reserves, which account for the dominance of this fuel in the power generation mix. The country’s coal reserves, which have higher thermal efficiency due to lower sulphur content, represent around 14% of the world’s black coal resources. Additionally, the country has 29% of the world’s uranium resources and almost 1.9% of its gas resources,” Chatterjee said.
He noted that Australia still had to move away from coal as its renewable energy target mandated generating more than 20% of its supply from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Chatterjee said that the most pressing challenge in this direction was that coal-fired power plants had not been phased out at the pace originally planned in the energy policy, leading to surplus generation capacity and low wholesale prices.
This could possibly slow down the fast growth of renewable technologies, he warned.
“The government will therefore have to create a policy environment that will expedite the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants, thus setting the way for a smooth development of renewables.”