Wind & Solar Are Already Cheaper Than Coal & Gas, So Let’s Get On With It

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Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath

New wind and solar energy generation is already cheaper – on average – than the cost of existing coal or gas power on Australia’s National Electricity Market.

We’ve reported it, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance foreshadowed it at the recent Australian Solar Council Solar and Energy Storage conference in Melbourne (did we mention battery storage..?).

And this week, the CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency delivered the news to the federal government’s Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, with the moment captured on video.

After consulting an electricity price app on his phone, ARENA chief Ivor Frischknecht told the Senate Committee: “I can tell that right now, the electricity prices range from the low $80s (/MWh) up to $112/MWh in the various NEM states.

“So all of the prices right now, and in fact the average prices over the last year or so, have been above those numbers that I quoted (for new solar and wind),” Frischknecht said, in response to a question from Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

SEN. WATERS: So you’re saying that new wind and new solar is cheaper than existing coal or gas, or new coal or gas. Is that correct?

FRISCHKNECHT: That is correct.

This, or course, refers to the fact that wind energy contracts are being struck at a price of around $55/MWh and solar contracts are thought to be around $70/MWh, and falling fast.

As former Clean Energy Finance Corp chief Oliver Yates writes today, building more renewables is the most sure-fire way of reducing costs to consumers and industry and protecting jobs. He wants the Victoria renewable energy target’s auction to start soon

Senator Waters echoed that centimes. She posted the exchange on her Facebook page, with the note: “So let’s get on with it.”

Reprinted with permission.

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