Australia Can Ditch Coal and Use Hydro Pump Storage to Pick Up the Slack

Australia can have a 100% green power grid, and hydro pump storage makes it possible. A recent report has delineated a way forward for creating a near zero emissions infrastructure down under.

Professor Andrew Blakers from ANU led the research and based on what his team found the future of Australian green energy hasn’t looked better.

“With Australia wrestling with how to secure its energy supply, we’ve found we can make the switch to affordable and reliable clean power,” commented Blakers, a professor at the ANU Research School of Engineering.

With the help of his research there is a plausible plan to remove coal and gas generation from the Australian energy mix. The scenario that his report describes uses solar PV, along wind power to produce the majority of Australia’s energy needs.

In order to create base load, pumped hydro storage in their interior waterways would be used. With the addition of high-voltage transmission, Australia would be free and clear of toxic power sources.

From the report:

“Using 2016 prices prevailing in Australia, we estimate that LCOB is AU$28/MWh, LCOG is AU$65/MWh and LCOE is AU$93/MWh. This can be compared with the estimated LCOE from a new supercritical black coal power station in Australia of AU$80/MWh. Much of Australia’s coal power stations will need to be replaced over the next 15 years. LCOE of renewables is almost certain to decrease due to rapidly falling cost of wind and PV. With PV and wind in the price range of AU$50/MWh, the LCOE of a balanced 100% renewable electricity system is around AU$75/MWh.”

Given the economics of solar and wind in Australia, it isn’t hard to see with Professor Blakers is excited about his findings.

This research also makes the case for the total abandonment of coal power generation. When a power source is expensive and toxic, it is time to let it go.

Pump storage works by pumping water into towers with excess power, and when needed, it falls over a generator to produce electricity.

“The water is pumped up from the low reservoir to the high reservoir when the sun shines and wind blows and electricity is abundant, and then the water can run down through the turbine at night and when electricity is expensive.” commented Dr Matthew Stocks, who was familiar with the report.

This is an incredible development in the greening of Australia, and we are thrilled to see how it fares going forward.

Coal is without a doubt a reprehensible form of energy generation. With credible research like this, its days are numbered.

[via cleantechnica]

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