New gas-fired power is not essential for a grid increasingly based on renewable energy, and gas prices will need to stay low if it is to compete with alternatives, according to the government agency responsible for the electricity system. The Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo) has released a roadmap detailing what an optimal national electricity market would look like to 2040 if it was designed with a focus on security, reliability and the lowest cost for consumers. Its integrated system plan, the result of 18 months consultation and analysis, describes a diverse system built on large and small-scale renewable energy supported by a range of “dispatchable” power sources that can be turned on and off when needed. It says renewable energy may at times provide nearly 90% of electricity by 2035, the amount of gas-fired power will fall as pumped hydro and batteries come online and there is no place for new coal-fired generation. Aemo says the plan focuses on what is best for consumers and could deliver an average $11bn in net market benefits across all scenarios considered, but will require major investment in new transmission lines, with the cost of these projects having increased by 30%. The […]

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