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Ex Hazelwood boss says solar + storage already cheaper than gas

The former head of Australia’s most notorious brown coal generator – the soon-to-be-retired Hazelwood plant – says solar PV and battery storage already represent a cheaper alternative to gas-fired generation.

In yet another clear signal that Australia’s energy markets are on the cusp of a radical reshaping, Tony Concannon, the former head of GDF Suez Australia (now Engie), says solar and battery storage already beat baseload gas on price, and its costs will continue to fall rapidly.

In a submission to the Finkel review, Colcannon – now head of Reach Solar Energy – cited a recent quote given to the company for a large solar farm (100MW) with a significant amount of battery storage.

“Reach received estimates in late December 2016 for solar PV and energy storage (40MWh to 100MWh) which translated into a tariff between $110/MWh to $130/ MWh,” Concannon wrote.

“This is already competitive with gas-fired CCGT and costs are expected to reduce further.”

The opinion from one of the hardest noses in the Australian energy industry – and his real-life example – fits in with similar claims by the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Zen Energy Ross Garnaut, Carnegie’s Michael Ottaviano and numerous others.

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