Australia should use its extensive solar and wind energy resources to tackle its energy crisis, says the chairman and chief executive of Spanish renewable energy and infrastructure group Acciona, Jose Manuel Entrecanales.
"I am absolutely convinced that the path forward in Australia is increasing the generation capacity from renewable energy sources," Mr Entrecanales told The Australian Financial Review during a visit to Australia after Acciona bought engineering group Geotech last week.
"The technology is there, the prices are there, the costs of energy in the most sophisticated renewable energy operations have come down 25-30 per cent [over the past few years] and the renewable energy industry is generating at the lowest prices of all energy sources."
The debate over security of energy supply had "already been solved" in many other countries to ensure there was sufficient generation capacity to meet demand, he said. "With a reasonable back-up base load for very extreme situations the whole system can work beautifully".
However, pumped hydro energy storage projects – in which water is pumped uphill by excess wind and solar-generated energy and released into a hydroelectric generator – are only ever likely to be "marginal" sources of energy, Mr Entrecanales said. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed the use of pumped hydro, arguing it can help create a secure and stable electricity grid.
Acciona, which generates around €6 billion in annual revenues, including €3.6 billion from its infrastructure business, owns three wind farms in Australia and is about to start building a fourth at Victoria's Mount Gellibrand. It also built the Royalla solar farm south of Canberra for Spanish renewable energy developer FRV.
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