A new Climate Council report has revealed the number of electricity price spikes in South Australia has tumbled with the increase of renewable electricity.
The report entitled Mythbusting: Electricity prices in South Australia found that electricity price spikes (periods when wholesale prices exceed $5000/MWh) have fallen significantly across the National Electricity Market with the increase of renewable energy. This trend is particularly noticeable in South Australia, which has historically had higher electricity prices due to the state’s more expensive fossil fuel options and lower electricity market competition.
In 2015, there was just one price spike compared to more than 50 in 2008.
Climate Councillor and energy expert Andrew Stock said recent short-term increases in South Australia’s wholesale power prices were driven primarily by the state’s reliance on expensive gas for power and a lack of competition amongst power generators.
“Queensland, which has less than 5 per cent renewable electricity, has until recently experienced similarly high prices to South Australia and all eastern states have experienced similar short-term price patterns even though power generation in these states is overwhelmingly coal based,” he said.
“This is further evidence that the cause of these price rises are due to a range of industry factors rather than renewable energy.”
According to Professor Tim Flannery, South Australia’s transition away from coal was consistent with the action required to avoid catastrophic climate change and ensure the survival of the Great Barrier Reef.