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Australia Assesses Barriers to Renewable Energy Integration in Asia-Pacific

Australian Flag7 July 2014: The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) in Australia released an assessment of the costs of generating renewable energy in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Australia.

The report finds that, while all six countries have made substantial progress in establishing policies to promote investment in renewable energy, they now need to develop their grid infrastructure, energy institutions and markets in order to support the integration of renewables into national grid systems.

The publication, titled ‘Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Assessment,' calculates the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) in each country, which is the price at which electricity must be generated from a specific source to break even over the lifetime of the project.

The report compares the energy generation costs of onshore and offshore wind, solar PV, small and large hydropower, geothermal and biomass sources in each country, finding that India and China have the lowest generation costs for most renewable energy technologies, followed by the Republic of Korea and Australia.

The authors identify a range of issues to do with integrating renewables in the energy mix, including technical constraints such as limitations in grid capacities and connectivity, operational difficulties in management, and institutional challenges such as a lack of national and technical standards for grid connection of renewable electricity.

The authors observe that these issues have compromised the reliability of networks, delayed connections of renewable energy generators to grids, and curtailed the generation of renewable energy. They recommend that governments introduce incentives to promote investment in energy systems and infrastructure.

The authors conclude that the costs of integration will depend on various factors, including the level of market penetration of renewable energy, grid maturity and features of energy institutions and markets in each country. They recommend conducting detailed studies to provide estimates of renewable energy integration costs.

The report was prepared with input from specialists at the Clean Energy Solutions Center, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a global forum to share best practices and promote the transition to clean energy. The Center is led by the US Department of Energy and operated by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). [Publication: Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Assessment] [Solutions Center Press Release] [BREE Website] [Clean Energy Solutions Center Website]