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Solar Surge Is Making Coal Plants Unprofitable in Top Exporter

July 23, 2020, 6:56 AM

Even the world’s top coal exporter is struggling to make money from burning the fuel.

Australia’s coal power plants, which make up more than half of the nation’s generation mix, are facing increased pressure as rooftop solar hollows out daytime demand. That could mean early closures among the country’s aging fleet, giving energy planners the tricky task of ensuring energy security while replacing the steady, predictable flow of power with more variable renewable generation.

“We’ve got a problem with coal closures,” Kerry Schott, chair of the Energy Security Board, told a virtual clean energy summit on Thursday. ‘We’ve got ...