Solar and Geothermal Cheaper than Coal and Nuclear - 26 May 2009

A report by DESERTEC-Australia, "Australia 2050: Clean Energy Superpower" states that the average Australian household could pay up to 30% more per year by 2025 for electricity generated from coal and nuclear power than from concentrating solar and hot dry rock geothermal power.

The price of hot dry rock and concentrating solar energy is falling rapidly due to innovation. The price of carbon capture and nuclear is not falling as rapidly, and is not expected to in the future. Over time, the impact of these compounded differentials in rates of change will be dramatic.

Large amounts of concentrating solar power capacity are being built in Spain and California. Meanwhile, geothermal plants are up and running across the world. A host of domestic companies are finding highly prospective geothermal resources in several places around Australia.

DESERTEC argues that the first step to achieving large-scale solar and geothermal energy production in Australia lies in connecting the Queensland and South Australian electricity grids. This would open up south-western Queensland and north-eastern South Australia to renewable energy development.

Such infrastructure would likely pay for itself quickly just in increased efficiencies brought to the existing grid through reducing electricity cost differentials in Queensland and SA.

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