A report by scientists released in London, Houston, Singapore, and Sydney is predicting bad news for gas turbines. It thinks renewables and batteries could replace them as early as 2025 in South Australia. This follows the lead provided by Edison in South California. There, batteries challenge gas already, as they compete to supply the grid during times of peaking demand.
We reported earlier how South Australia is shifting to a renewable energy mix with huge solar-battery plants. The researchers think battery, solar, and wind costs could fall there by 50, 25, and 15 per cent respectively by 2025.
This sets a time line to when renewables and batteries challenge gas successfully, and the power play changes, perhaps forever under current technology.
Could Renewables and Batteries Accommodate Base Loads
If they do, this could be the moment when electricity starts shedding its long carbon tail. The researchers think batteries and renewable energy could become a commercial solution by 2035, as the technology reaches breakeven point.
At that stage, renewables and batteries coulg change roles with gas, with gas reduced to emergency back up only.
To quote the researchers, “Currently, South Australia’s peak loads are managed by open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) plants. But by 2025, battery storage would be cheaper than OCGT’s in managing peak loads. Even at a high gas, OCGT’s would then be relegated as emergency back-ups” as batteries challenge gas and emerge the victor.
Batteries Challenge Gas in the South Australia Energy Plan
South Australia intends to double renewable capacity by 2025. At that point, this would command 67% of market share. Reliance on gas would have retreated 70% by then. If gas cannot compete financially at that stage, then South Australia might have to look to diesel for peaking energy. We are not there yet, but we might see batteries challenge gas successfully in South Australia in less than ten years.
Preview Image:Port Augusta Solar / Wind Project