Photovoltaic solar energy and wind power in Australia

A new report estimates that solar photovoltaic and onshore wind could produce some of the lowest electricity generation costs in Australia by 2030, based on current policy settings.

Minister for Energy and Resources, Martin Ferguson AM MP, today welcomed the release of the Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) from the independent Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

“The report provides the most up-to-date cost estimates for 40 electricity generation technologies deployed in the Australian context,” Minister Ferguson said.

“It provides important insights into Australia’s potential electricity generation mix out to 2050 and predicts that a number of renewable energy technologies could have the lowest levelised costs within the next 20 years, helping Australia meet its Renewable Energy Target.

The AETA found that both tracking and non-tracking solar photovoltaic technology could be increasingly cost competitive along with onshore wind.

The Report states that solar thermal, wave, nuclear and geothermal technology costs are also forecast to fall and be cost competitive with some coal and gas based technologies by 2030.

“The Australian Government is driving innovation and investment in these emerging technologies by putting a price on carbon and through the newly established $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” Minister Ferguson said.

In terms of fossil fuel technologies, the AETA found that combined cycle gas offers the lowest levelised costs of electricity generation over the majority of the projection period, and would remain competitive with lower cost renewable technologies up to 2050.

The AETA has been developed in consultation with WorleyParsons, the Australian Energy Market Operator, CSIRO and a stakeholder reference group drawn from a wide number of industry and academic organisations.

Importantly, the AETA does not seek to predict future market outcomes, rather it provides an unbiased set of estimated technology generation costs incorporating key energy modelling, projections and planning.

The AETA is updated on a biennial basis and will be an important input to the Australian Government’s Energy White Paper, due for release later in 2012.

The report is available at