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Corbell says solar farms competitive with wind energy on pricing

The ACT government says submissions to its latest “next generation” renewable energy tender indicate that solar power is now competitive with wind energy, possibly suggesting a major shift in the roll-out of renewable energy technologies in the country in coming years.

ACT environment and energy minister Simon Corbell told the Clean Energy Summit that the reverse auction of more than 200MW of renewable energy capacity – which will take the ACT to its goal of sourcing the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020 – is pitting wind energy against solar.

The results are not likely to be announced for a few weeks, although it is known that more than 1,000MW of capacity was tendered, and this included half a dozen solar projects.

“What I can say is that there is clear and real competition between wind and solar for first time through this market discovery process,” Corbell said.

Corbell has previously said the submissions to the tender had been “impressive” on price. The ACT recently sourced the cheapest wind energy in Australia, when it contracted another 100MW of capacity from the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia for $77/MWh, which is fixed for 20 years and does not rise with inflation.

The ACT government’s new “next generation” tender will also be used to help fund the deployment of up to 5,000 battery storage systems in homes and businesses in the Capital Territory.

Corbell says this will be equivalent to around 36MW of battery storage capacity, and he estimates it will deliver some $220 million in network savings to the local grid.

Corbell also says that “sub-national” governments like the ACT and state governments will continue to play a critical role in pushing renewable energy, rather than leaving it to the federal government, which is being argued by the large coal and gas generators.

“This is a period of disruption …and you can be sure that it is not the incumbent players that are going to facilitate and drive that disruption,” Corbell said.

“Federal government will not be the only player in driving energy policy in Australia. New actors will emerge and they will increasingly be sub-national governments, like the ACT, like Victoria, and like the Sydney and Melbourne city councils.”

Corbell said the forthcoming meeting of state, federal and territory energy ministers, called by new federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg will be an “opportunity for state and territories to stand together and reject assertions that there should not be state-based targets.”

Source: RenewEconomy

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