Maybe we're not all doomed: Solar energy cheaper than coal in Australia?

James O'Malley Energy & Efficiency, Energy systems, Must read 1 Comment

Some potentially good news for a Monday morning: It appears that solar energy could be about to overtake coal as Australia’s most viable source of energy. Hopefully, anyway.

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Writing in The Guardian, Giles Parkinson explains:

Last week, for the first time in memory, the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day. For several days the price, normally around $40-$50 a megawatt hour, hovered in and around zero. Prices were deflated throughout the week, largely because of the influence of one of the newest, biggest power stations in the state – rooftop solar.

Essentially, what this means is that the price of electricity (ie: coal) has crashed because so many people are generating their own solar power. Apparently 350,000 buildings in Queensland alone are generating 1100MW of electricity. And if no one wants to buy coal, the price of it goes down – meaning it becomes uneconomical to mine, burn and send into the atmosphere. Brilliant.

It isn’t just a coincidence either – with coal companies specifically blaming the sky for providing so much free energy. We found the following photo of this happening:

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Again, according to Parkinson the really interesting thing is that Swiss bank UBS are claiming this solar viability could be the same in other big cities by 2018. So we could finally be on the verge of technology sorting out this whole climate change thing.

What’s really interesting too is that this energy shift is happening just how economists have predicted: As technology has improved, the price of solar energy has dropped – and simultaneously we’re running out of fossil fuels: at some point these two figures are going to cross-over. Here’s hoping that it is sooner rather than later.

By James O'Malley | July 7th, 2014





  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Perhaps this lends credence to ray Kurzweil’s claim (not yet substantiated) that solar power is advancing exponentially?