The particular result is not only because of the substantial amount of wind and solar investments and development projects that exceeded the initial anticipation, but also the lack of flexibility, and these two unfavorable elements of power generation will induce early decommission of power plants. Tristan Edis from the Green Energy Markets commented that the wave of new energy supply in the energy market has arrived two years earlier than the forecast of the government and market analysts.
The provision of new electricity between 2018 and 2025 will account for 1/3 of the power demand, which is also 8 times more than the annual power generation from the Liddell Power Station in New South Wales. As pointed out by the report, the new power generation volume from solar and wind energy will arrive at 70,000GWh between 2018 and 2025.
The Liddell Power Station is expected for decommissioning in April 2023, and the Government of Australia has established a new gas-fired power station in Hunter Valley in order to avoid a power supply void and a surge in energy prices, though the report of IEEFA has started that the new power generation volume from renewable energy is able to fully replenish the vacancy derived from the decommissioning coal-fired power station.
Australia is expected to establish 8GW of public solar, 12GW of wind power, and 22GW of rooftop solar by 2025 in order to accelerate on the speed of decommissioning for coal-firing. IEEFA analyst Johanna Bowyer believes that wind and solar energy possess sizeable advantages due to the unnecessary replenishment of fuels, and the exemption of shouldering fuel costs, as well as the ability of penetrating into the market often with a price tag of almost zero.
Bowyer estimates that the power generation volume of natural gas and coal-firing in 2025 will reduce by 78% and 28% respectively compared to that of 2018, and 3-5 among 15 power plants will be hit with financial pressure then, where power plants beside the Liddell Power Station will also be decommissioned in advance.
Such phenomenon can also be seen in the US, where the prosperous state of the country is no longer seen from having sustained an avalanche deletion in the demand for coal, and closed down a significant amount of coal-fired power plants. The capacity of US coal-fired power plants has been on annual declination from 67.1% in 2010 to 47.5% in 2019, indicating the reduction in the utilization of coal-fired power generation in the country. According to the US power generation report for the first half of 2020, the ratio of coal-fired power generation for 2018, 2019, and 2020 was 26.7%, 23.6%, and 16.9% respectively, equaling a reduction of 10% in power generation within 3 years.
(Cover photo: Liddell Power Station, source: Webaware, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)