No power reliability gaps to 2025: report

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Enough new power generation and storage is in place to ensure sufficient electricity for most of Australia over the next five years, a new report says.

The early closure of some coal-fired power plants is expected to create some pressures in NSW and Victoria post-2025.

But Australian Energy Market Operator CEO Daniel Westerman says there are “well-progressed generation, storage and transmission projects, which, once operational, will maintain reliability as coal plants start to close earlier”.

A new report by AEMO released on Tuesday found that by 2025 there would be periods when all customer demand across the national electricity market could be met by renewable generation.

The annual reliability outlook, known as the Electricity Statement of Opportunities, said the transition to cleaner energy was being driven by residential solar installation, grid-scale wind and solar projects and thermal generation retirements.

“No reliability gaps are forecast for the next five years, primarily due to more than 4.4 gigawatts of new generation and storage capacity, as well as transmission investment and reduced peak demand forecasts,” Mr Westerman said.

“Significant renewable energy investments, and well-progressed dispatchable generation projects, including gas plants, pumped hydro and battery storage, will all help replace retiring coal and gas plant.”

As well, investment in new and upgraded transmission infrastructure, including Project EnergyConnect linking South Australia and NSW, will reduce consumer costs while improving the resilience and security of the system.

AEMO also forecasts a further 8.9GW of commercial and residential solar power to be installed by 2025 across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA and the ACT.

These solar systems alone could supply up to 77 per cent of total electricity demand at times by 2026.

As a result, minimum operational demand across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA and the ACT is expected to drop to a record low of 4GW to 6GW by 2025, down from 15GW in 2019.

AEMO said this underscored the need to improve the security of the system by developing grids capable of running at up to 100 per cent instantaneous renewables by 2025.

Demand for electricity was expected to lift as more electric cars hit Australia’s roads.

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