UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is laying down a challenge to the coal and gas industry by putting forward a $1 billion plus solar and storage proposal in the Australian Government’s planned tender for new 24/7 power generation.
News of Gupta’s proposal comes as the government confirms that 66 different projects were put forward in response to the government’s request for proposals, with gas plants forming the largest number, and plans for new coal plants, expansions and extensions accounting for another 10 coal investments. The biggest among these is a $6 billion proposal for two new coal plants in Victoria.
Gupta’s plans, however, emerge as a significant challenge to the push by the coal lobby to fulfil the wish by many in the Coalition and their funders to breathe new life into the coal industry, if not into the atmosphere.
Gupta said last year that the government tender had the potential of significantly reducing the cost of solar and storage, given the certainty of a government underwriting agreement would significantly lower the cost of finance.
He said then that the cost of solar could fall into the $20-$30/MWh, significantly lower than anything that could be offered by a new coal generator.