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Between the lines, Morrison’s plan has coal along the way, with a bright future

Credits: Masmikha / Shutterstock

The most striking feature of Prime Minister Scott Morrison Long-term emission reduction plan Outlined on Tuesday is not a long-term commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, or a promise of an A $ 20 billion clean energy program (about 0.2% of annual national income).


This is an announcement of technical goals that are completely out of the control of the government. It is to use solar power at a cost of A $ 15 per megawatt hour ($ / MWh).

That price will be converted to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour (C / kWh), a small portion of the 20-30 (c / kWh) currently paid by Australian households. Most of the prices paid by households consist of transmission, distribution, and retail service charges.

The Australian Government cannot (or even significantly hinder) this goal. More than Australia acts alone World climate..

But it’s easy to see that Morrison is in a safe position to set up ultra-cheap solar power as his goal.

That’s because the world is almost there.

Long-term PV contracts in many countries are settled at the following prices: A $ 0.02 c / kWh And prices continue to fall.

Annual sales are reduced by reducing costs of solar modules, inverters, etc. A $ 200 billion One year, a huge R & D budget accordingly.

The programs announced today may help accelerate progress a bit, but they are part of a larger global effort.

Equally important and not under government control is the global decline in long-term real interest rates, which now exceeds the expected life of solar power plants, even for a period of 30 years, and is now zero or negative. It has become.

Zero real interest rates and near zero operating costs mean that photovoltaic power plants need only generate enough electricity for a lifetime to cover their initial installation costs.

The cost of solar power is now very low

Utility-scale solar can now be installed at a cost of less than $ A1 per watt. $ A1,000 / kWh..

In advantageous locations, such as most parts of Australia, solar cells can supply 2,000 hours of full power annually over a 25-year lifespan. This is 50,000kWh, which means a cost of 0.02 c / kWh.

Such prices are expected to appear in contracts soon, as ultra-low cost of capital is taken into account in the return calculation. Technological advances leave the way to Morrison’s goals.

This is about the same when considering the need for energy storage, shifting the electricity generated at the noon supply peak to meet evening demand peaks and much lower nighttime needs. (Sometimes called “base load”). Battery costs are as low as solar cells.

What does it mean for Australians coal industry? It is already clear that new coal-fired power is uneconomical in competition from solar and wind power, and most countries have stopped commissioning new generators.

Exceptions, including China, reflect the state government’s desire to continue capital investment, rather than calculating costs and benefits.

However, if the price of solar power goes down, even existing paid plants will be uneconomical unless the price of coal goes down significantly.

Between the lines, Morrison's plan has coal along the way, with a bright future

Steel will one day be produced without coal. Credits: Shestakov Dmytro / Shutterstock

Brutal arithmetic

Arithmetic is cruel. One ton of high-grade coal is sufficient to generate 2-3 MWh of electricity.

In a market where prices are set at A $ 15 / MWh due to competition with solar, revenues range from A $ 30-45 / ton, from which the cost of maintaining and operating a dilapidated coal-fired power plant is also high. Must occur. As the cost of mining and transporting coal.

At the moment, steaming coal cost Over US $ 180 per ton.

On top of that, the fact that China is introducing carbon prices, and the achievement of Morrison’s PV price targets, is clear to mean the end of steaming coal. A similar analysis applies to gas.

The “green” hydrogen produced by cheap electrolysis can do the same for coking coal and can undercut the “blue” hydrogen produced from gas.

It doesn’t happen right away.In the very short term, such as in China, electricity demand growth has outpaced solar and wind facilities, pushing up coal. price high.

And carbon-free steel is a little farther away.

When global demand for coal declines, it will be the high cost, low quality producers like Indonesia that feel it before Australia.

But the idea that Australia will export large amounts of coal in 2040 is an illusion (not to mention 2050).

The broader story provided by Morrison (and the right one) is an optimistic story.

The future is bright as coal leaves

Instead of the alarming scenario of a $ 100 roast and economic catastrophe still being pushed by opponents, we’re super cheap and clean enough to power homes, cars, etc. We are at the stage where we can safely predict that there will be. Kind of industry.

All you need is the courage to accept it.

You need more than you’ve seen from previous leaders.

The transition from coal-fired power needs to be accelerated Electricity And the internal combustion engine car, will start soon.

LNP internal affairs may have prevented Morrison from announcing serious emission reduction goals by 2030, but more than 50% emissions while paving the way for a richer and more sustainable future. There is no reason why we couldn’t reduce it.


Rethinking grid integration for large-scale renewable energy expansion to achieve carbon neutrality


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Quote: During the lines, Morrison’s plan is on the way out of coal, and the bright future (October 26, 2021) is https://phys.org/news/2021-10-lines-morrison-coal -Obtained from future on October 26, 2021-bright.html

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Between the lines, Morrison’s plan has coal along the way, with a bright future

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