Renewables doing heavy lifting in NEM
Renewable energy is doing the heavy lighting in ensuring the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market (NEM) according to the latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO).
Climate Council senior researcher Tim Baxter says that wind and solar are the cheapest ways to add new capacity to the grid and continue to generate clean, affordable electricity as coal and gas decline.
“Record rates of rooftop solar uptake and massive investments by state and territory governments in large-scale wind and solar are driving a bright outlook. By 2025, we should see the grid being able to handle 100% renewable electricity at certain points in time,” he says.
“Meanwhile, coal continues to be the electricity grid’s greatest liability, with Yallourn Power Station vulnerable to failure during an extreme rainfall event.”
He adds that market operators and policymakers must invest in the right infrastructure to support a reliable, renewables-powered, low-emissions grid. This investment includes battery storage technology and pumped hydro.
Climate Councillor and Macquarie Law School senior lecturer Dr Madeline Taylor adds that for the first time, AEMO also examines the role of renewable hydrogen in meeting consumer and industry needs, outlining exciting opportunities for setting up zero-emissions, all-electric industries and creating hundreds of new clean jobs.
“Consumer behaviour, industry decisions and economic trends all point to one fact: Australia can have a grid powered by renewables, backed up by battery storage and pumped hydro, with the need for fossil fuels to be phased out of the electricity mix,” she says.