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Latest CSIRO report says renewables make cents, batteries included


Solar photovoltaics and wind were the cheapest sources of new electricity generation capacity in Australia, even when batteries and transmission costs were included, according to a report from the CSIRO.


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Its final 2020-21 GenCost Report used more accurate data to assess the cost of renewables and their variability.

Also included was the declining cost of batteries, which now had increased lives. 

The report also included hydrogen electrolysers for the first time and fOund that hydrogen was following a similar trajectory to more established renewables. 

“With increased interest in global deployment, and many demonstration projects worldwide, substantial cost reductions in hydrogen technologies are expected over the next decades,’’ the CSIRO said.

Although renewables have long been considered a cheaper alternative, there were added costs such as transmission from the planned renewable energy zones, the need for additional transmission to strengthen the grid, the need for synchronous condensers to support system security and the cost of battery and pumped hydro storage to meet demand during low renewable generation periods.

The report found that solar and wind continued to be the cheapest sources of new-build electricity and that battery costs fell the most in 2020-21 compared with any other generation or storage technology and are projected to continue to fall. 

Lower battery storage costs underpinned the long-term competitiveness of renewables. 

It also found that pumped hydro was important and was more competitive when longer durations of storage (above eight hours) are required.

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