Australia’s installed solar thermal power generation capacity may exceed 3GW in 2030
Recently, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency published an industry development report (hereinafter referred to as the report) titled “Paving the Way for the Development of Solar Thermal Power Generation in Australia”, which contains industry stakeholders’ views on the feasibility of the development of the Australian solar thermal power generation market. feedback, detailing how solar thermal power can become peak-adjustable commercial renewable energy in Australia within 10 years.
According to the report, Australia will achieve a solar thermal power generation installed capacity target of at least 3GW by 2030, which will create 4,000 jobs. The current status of industry development also shows that the Australian solar thermal power generation market is expected to develop well.
The report shows that the installed solar thermal power generation capacity deployed globally so far is only about 5GW, but this “young” technology is experiencing a period of rapid cost decline. The report points out that the photovoltaic industry now has an installed capacity of nearly 300GW. However, in the early days of the development of the photovoltaic industry in 2004, the global installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation was equivalent to that of current solar thermal power generation – about 5GW. At that time, its levelized cost of electricity was at a later stage. It is 10 times the current LCOE.
It is understood that the Australian electricity trading market is relatively commercial and one-quarter of Australian households have rooftop solar systems. When there is sufficient sunshine at noon, the photovoltaic power generation is large and the net load of the power grid is small. However, after sunset, the output power of the photovoltaic power generation system decreases, and the entire power grid forms a peak power net load at night, showing a duck curve. For these reasons, Australia has some of the highest nighttime peak electricity prices in the world, so there is an urgent need for peak-shaving renewable energy.
In comparison, solar thermal power stations that can be configured with cost-effective heat storage systems are more suitable for the Australian power market. Taking 10 hours of energy storage as an example, a solar thermal power station with an installed capacity of 100MW can have an energy storage capacity of 1,000MWh (energy storage hours * installed capacity = energy storage capacity). But even the world’s largest grid-level battery, the 100MW battery energy storage system provided by Tesla to South Australia, was fully discharged in 1.29 hours, with an energy storage capacity of only 129MWh.
Ivor Frischknecht, chief executive of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, said: “While solar thermal technology is currently not cost-competitive compared to other forms of electricity generation, Australia’s demand for peak-switchable renewable electricity will continue to increase. We are currently considering a range of investments to help enable the commercial development of solar thermal power in Australia over the next few years.”