Solar and on-shore wind provide cheapest electricity and nuclear most expensive, CSIRO analysis shows
(The Guardian, 21 Dec 2023) Estimates show small modular nuclear reactors would provide most expensive power and will not be available until 2030.
Electricity generated by solar and on-shore wind is the cheapest in Australia, even after the significant expense of integrating them into the power grid is factored in, according to new analysis from the CSIRO.
Estimates of costs to build small modular nuclear reactors – a technology supported by the Coalition but not expected to be commercially available until at least 2030 – have risen dramatically and would provide the most expensive power, according to the draft GenCost report.
Australia’s electricity networks were designed for large coal-fired power stations but these ageing plants are being closed down because renewable power is cheaper and Australia cannot meet its climate targets by continuing to rely on coal.
Replacing coal with renewables will see more sources of generation spread across the country – creating a distributed energy system – requiring expensive transmission lines and other technologies, including storage, to keep the grid reliable while keeping costs down.