• Australia to avoid blackouts from planned coal retirements, with gas, batteries and renewables filling the void

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Australia’s Energy Market Operator has in its latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities report revised its forecast for the Australian east-coast grid such that it no longer predicts a supply gap, as it did formerly. The supply gap had been predicted because of the planned closure of a number of coal-fired power stations, but the addition of 2.2GW of generation capacity (including a 470MW battery) over the coming year, and then another 2.2GW over the next five years, being a mix of new gas-fired capacity (904MW across two plants), hydropower (250MW), and solar and wind capacity, and more interconnector infrastructure, will mean the east-coast grid should not experience any shortfalls. Risks do remain, however, with adverse weather and unexpected plant failures both able to cause short-term power failures. The reliability of coal plants, already at historic lows, is expected to further deteriorate before their closure. Interestingly, overall demand from the grid is expected to decrease over the next five years as more households and businesses add rooftop solar capacity, already at high capacity.