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The future for renewables

The records set in 2019, and continued strong investment in early 2020, shows the ability of the renewables industry to mobilise, adapt and overcome market challenges. As sectors of the economy shift to electrification, including the transport sector, new opportunities to utilise low cost renewable electricity will open up. It is also expected that renewables will be the key to unlock new export industries such as clean hydrogen, ammonia or steel.

The wide-scale deployment of solar PV at the residential and commercial levels as well as the utility-scale level has exacerbated low demand in the middle of the day when solar generation is at its peak – this effect is known as the ‘duck curve’. The result leads to low wholesale electricity prices in the middle of day. Existing technologies such as storage (including pumped hydro and batteries), demand management and improved interconnection/transmission can address some of these challenges. Broader market reforms that appropriately enable and value the services provided by these technologies will be required.

At the time of writing, the world is facing a new and unprecedented challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of finalising the report, renewables at both the small and large-scale continue to perform during this very difficult period.


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