In the recently released 2023-24 GenCost consultation draft, a groundbreaking collaboration between CSIRO and AEMO, it was revealed that utility-scale solar and onshore wind, combined with advanced transmission and storage, has a significant advantage over new coal and small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). This means that renewable energy is the clear winner when it comes to both affordability and sustainability.
Minister Bowen enthusiastically expressed his support for these findings, stating that GenCost's annual assessment of energy costs in our country further reinforces the government's initiatives. The expanded Capacity Investment Scheme, Rewiring the Nation, and the Gas Code are all key elements of a cost-effective and environmentally responsible path forward, especially as coal-fired power plants are retired.
One shining example of the power of solar is the remarkable 71% drop in wholesale prices within just one year. This achievement is largely driven by the increasing adoption of rooftop solar, showcasing the undeniable influence of solar power. And here's the best part: according to the report, renewable energy remains the most economical option even when factoring in storage and transmission costs.
Dr. Dietmar Tourbier, CSIRO's Director of Energy, emphasized the importance of GenCost as part of the Australian energy market's planning process. He noted that the landscape of cost drivers is continually evolving due to new technologies, rising energy consumption, and our transition to a net-zero emissions future. GenCost provides crucial economic analysis to help us make informed decisions about future electricity generation.
Let's delve into some of the specific findings from the GenCost consultation draft. Battery costs have remained steady with just a marginal 2% increase, underscoring their affordability and reliability. The cost of offshore wind decreased by an impressive 9%, making it an even more enticing option. However, it's essential to note that technologies like pumped hydro, wave, and tidal energy saw an increase in costs. This was primarily due to new information and inflationary pressures resulting from over a year without updates.
So, fellow Australians, the future of renewable energy in our country has never looked brighter. With GenCost's insights and Minister Bowen's support, we can confidently embrace a more sustainable and cost-effective energy landscape. Let's harness the power of renewables and pave the way towards a cleaner and greener Australia. Together, we can create a future we can be proud of.