The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a new report that outlines a strategy for the nation to attain a low-carbon grid system.
The operator suggests that Australia turns to alternative energy – such as renewables with energy storage, pumped hydro, and flexible gas – to replace coal power when plants end their operational lives, the Guardian reported.
The Integrated System Plan notes that 30% of Australia’s coal plants will near the end of their lives within the next 20 years. The report also advises the country to not retire coal plants too early, as it would be uneconomical.
“The modelling shows that retiring coal plants can be most economically replaced with a portfolio of utility-scale renewable generation, storage, distributed energy resources, flexible thermal capacity, and transmission”.
The cheapest alternatives for coal plant replacements will be “will be a portfolio of resources, including solar (28GW), wind (10.5 GW) and storage (17 GW and 90 GWh), complemented by 500 MW of flexible gas plant and transmission investment,” the report continues.
“We are witnessing disruption across almost every element of the value chain,” commented Audrey Zibelman, CEO of AEMO.
“Due to the vital importance of affordable, reliable and secure power as the engine of a strong economy, care must be taken now more than ever to manage this transformation in order to minimise costs and risks and maximise value to consumers.”