Solar Helps Delay Power Station Construction

In another example of solar power helping to stave off construction of fossil fuel based power plants, Energy Australia has decided to put the brakes on what was originally to be a 1GW gas fired power station.

According to The Age, Energy Australia had applied to build the station at Yallourn in Victoria, but then revised plans to construct a smaller peaking power plant – which it has now also shelved due to suppressed wholesale electricity prices and demand for electricity less than expected.

The company says there is no need to build the facility until much later this decade.

The Australian Energy Market Operator stated earlier this year weakening demand was due to a number of factors, including uptake of rooftop solar panels and households and businesses stepping up energy efficiency efforts.

A July report from REC Agents Association (RAA) revealed over previous three years electricity consumption in the eastern states’ National Electricity Market had dropped by 3.2 %.

While average wholesale electricity prices may have also dropped, thanks also in part to renewable energy’s impact on the Merit Order Effect; the benefit certainly doesn’t appear to be passed onto households. In fact, residential power bills in Victoria are set to increase again from January 1, adding to the pain caused by two price hikes this year.

The additional burden will likely see some households New Year resolutions lists including striving for a cheaper power bill by installing solar power systems.

According to national solar provider Energy Matters, a good quality 3 kilowatt solar power system installed in the Melbourne region can return a substantial financial benefit; particularly when focus is placed on self-consumption rather than exporting any surplus electricity to the mains grid.

Victoria isn’t alone in suffering under the pressure of continual and substantial power price hikes. Last week we reported the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) latest State of the Energy Market report reveals residential electricity prices have jumped 91% over the past five years nationally.