Renewable energy continues to kick gas to the curb

Image by Karsten Würth

According to new analysis from the Climate Council, it’s clear that gas power is slowly starting to be phased out from the National Energy Market (NEM). 

The non-profit organisation found that output from gas generators fell to rock bottom levels over the past summer, reaching only a total of 5% of the market share. They believe that this was due to wind and solar power breaking records of their own, surging to new heights of generation. 

“Our existing gas power stations are struggling to compete with clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage. Australia does not need any new gas,” said Climate Council senior researcher, Tim Baxter. 

“Gas is a polluting and expensive fossil fuel that’s on the way out and has no role to play in our economic recovery. It’s driving up household power prices, and prices for our manufacturing industries, putting the sector at risk.” 

The last time gas peaked was in Autumn 2014, occupying 13% of the market share, meanwhile, renewable energy has doubled in market share during the same period. 

During the most recent summer in New South Wales, the market share of renewables hit 26.1%, compared to just 0.9% for gas. These figures were even more impressive in Victoria, with the renewables’ market share claiming 29.5%, compared to a mere 0.5% for gas. 

“As the sunniest and one of the windiest places on the planet, Australia should be cashing-in on its renewable advantage, and in doing so, rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win,” said Baxter.

Step up to keep up: The National Energy Market

A similar report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) mentioned that with more renewables coming into the market, the way the NEM currently relies on electricity demand has now become outdated. 

“Energy planners are currently grappling with the flood of renewable energy that is coming in and mixing with legacy coal-fired generation, reducing stability and raising the risk of blackouts,” said the author of the report, Tim Finnigan. 

“As renewable energy increases towards 100%, the grid will require substantially different physical and operational designs that do not rely on the synchronous inertia model of the past.”

Finnigan imagines that the next-generation of the NEM will be machine-based with a two-sided market approach where consumers pay and earn for their electricity usage. 

However, the report noted that in order to achieve this, a mass level of technological advancement is required. 

The good news is, Aussies across the country can take their first step toward renewable energy by considering switching over to solar power. Find out how solar power works by having a read of our guide.

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