Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Solar and Efficiency Gradually Eliminating Coal Power in Australia

I just read that because of reduced demand due to rooftop solar and improved efficiency, Queensland’s Tarong power station is mothballing half of its 1,400 megawatt capacity. So coal power capacity that has been shut down and not replaced in the last two or three years in Australia include half of Tarong (700 megawatts), Playford B (250 megawatts), Swanbank B (125 megawatts), and Munmorrah (600 megawatts), for a total of 1,675 megawatts. And if you want to throw in half of Northern power station’s capacity as it now only operates 6 months a year, that brings it to 1,935 megawatts, or almost two gigawatts of coal power.  That's fairly impressive.

Decent weather and increased grid electricity prices have also contributed to this, but rooftop solar obviously bears a lot of responsibility, as by the end of the year we will be approaching two gigawatts of installed solar capacity.  This means that on a sunny day, Australia's PV could generate as many megawatts as as the shutdown coal plants.  

Update:  Well, not quite as much as the shutdown coal power stations as our solar tends to be a bit higgledy piggledy and generally not optimally aligned, but it it can still generate a heck of a lot of electricity. 

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