AEMO: Renewables to account for all new power in Australia through 2020

A new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator forecasts 100 percent of new power in Australia will be generated from renewable energy sources through 2020.

A new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts 100 percent of new power in Australia will be generated from renewable energy sources through 2020.

The AEMO’s National Transmission Network Development Plan (NTNDP) The AEMO’s National Transmission Network Development Plan (NTNDP) 2013, predicts the majority of new electric generation will be based on wind power (84%), followed by solar (13%) and finally biomass (3%). This includes 168 MW of new wind generation that has recently come online in Tasmania, and a further 131 MW in Victoria, 270 MW in South Australia, and 386 MW in New South Wales committed to come online from 2014–15. AEMO said it is aware of close to 15,800 MW of proposed wind generation projects.

The NTNDP estimates approximately 8,700 MW of new wind generation to connect to the transmission network by 2020, resulting in a total installed National Electricity Market wind generation capacity of around 11,000 MW.

New renewable generation that comes online displaces existing baseload generation and adds to the current oversupply of generation capacity in the NEM signaling potential generation reductions. 2013 NTNDP modeling estimates a reduction of 3,700 MW in coal-fired generation capacity to 2020.1 This is approximately 14% of the total current installed coal-fired generation capacity. Zero carbon price modeling results in reductions of around 3,100 MW, or 12% of coal-fired generation capacity.

Even with these projected reductions, the AEMO report found coal will remain the dominant generation fuel over the outlook period.

The 2013 NTNDP outlook is dependent on government policy decisions regarding renewable energy and carbon emissions reductions. NTNDP modeling indicates that the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) is the main driver of generation investment, with the carbon price having a lesser impact.

Read the full report here: National Transmission Network Development Plan 2013 (pdf)

[1] While the modeling removed generation plant predominately in a single year, actual withdrawals would be expected to occur progressively.

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