RenewEconomy reports that new Australian power generation has gone 100% renewable - 100% of new Australian power plants are wind or solar.
The rapidly changing nature of Australia’s coal-fired electricity grid has been highlighted by a new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator, which reports that all new electricity generation proposals received in the last 12 months have been either for large scale wind farms or solar facilities.
In its annual assessment of Energy market opportunities (known in the industry as ESOO, or Electricity Statement of Opportunities), AEMO notes the pivotal of renewable energy sources in the National Electricity Market, and in particular the influence of rooftop solar.
In the past year, the building out of residential rooftop solar totaled 774MW across the NEM (which includes the eastern states and South Australia, but excludes WA, the Northern Territory,Mt Isa and other isolated networks). Solar analysts expect a similar amount of rooftop solar to be installed in 2013/14, despite the removal of most subsidies.
This compares with 522.7MW of new large-scale generation that came online in 2012/13, most of which (439.5MW) came new wind energy facilities – including the 420MW Macarthur wind farm in Victoria), along with 60MW from a coal plant expansion and 39MW from two co-generation and landfill gas facilities.
Of the 1,000MW of new generation committed – but not yet completed - in the past 12 months, AEMO says that 945.5MW came from six new wind farm projects, and a further 45.5 MW from new solar generation (including the Kogan Creek solar booster in Queensland) and the Mildura concentrated solar PV demonstration plant in Victoria.
Over the same time, some 770MW of capacity at the Tarong black coal power plant in Queensland has been mothballed, as well as the 170MW Collinsville power station, which is trying to reinvent itself as a solar/gas hybrid plant. This adds to other retirements including the Playford B power station in Port Augusta and the seasonal retirement of the neighbouring Northern power station.