Why Morrison needs to swap his lump of coal for a solar panel

Australia’s booming uptake of large and small-scale renewable energy is playing a key role in driving down wholesale electricity prices, forecast to almost halve in the next four years.

Data from Green Energy Markets, published on Thursday, reveals a direct link between investment in large-scale renewable projects, Australia’s rooftop solar boom, and falling energy prices.

The Renewable Energy Index report shows energy prices started rising across the National Electricity Market in mid-2016, in the wake of the renewable energy drought that took hold in the Abbott years of the Coalition government.

This, says GEM, led to an insufficient amount of new renewable supply coming online ahead of the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant in Victoria, which also saw power prices spike upwards.

But by mid-2017, as a massive pipeline of renewable energy supply was starting to build, at costs vastly lower than previously thought, wholesale power prices have been steadily falling.

According to the GEM report, a massive 7,200MW of new solar and wind has been committed to construction since October 2016, accompanied by a boom in rooftop solar uptake.

“What this data shows is that if Scott Morrison is serious about bringing down power prices he should be walking around Parliament with a solar panel not a lump of coal,” said GetUp Campaigns Director Miriam Lyons in comments on the report.

“The evidence is clear, slashing renewables drives power prices up, when there is investment in renewables, prices start to fall.”


  1. It appears topical in many publications, Solar Choice included, to advocate the cessation of coal generation in favour of solar (Forget wind an hydro for bulk power). Whilst this has some merit if accompanied by a storage process I as yet have not seen a viable storage process that will provide after sun hours power to large cities – our major power requirements users. It is a fallacy in my view to blindly close coal-fired stations without a readily available alternative source. NSW already imports net power from Qld! How long can this go on before we have nation wide black-outs?
    The American IEEE published an article some 18 months ago in their Journal that outlined a world wide solar system based on roof top arrays, local batteries and later on larger arrays linked by extremely high voltage (750kV) DC transmissions lines to cross tome zones thus allowing solar generation to power areas in the dark.
    Feasible but a horrendous cost and not a solution that can be implemented in under about 25 or 30 years, although HV DC lines are in use in Europe, China and the USA.
    So how do you as a “solar expert” propose to use solar energy to power Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane Adelaide and Perth, not to mention large regional centres as well? It is so easy to criticize Mr Morrison and others but your criticism falls pretty flat, and smacks of bias and self interest, unless you offer a viable solution! And I have not seen a viable one yet!
    Fundamental My Dear Watson!

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