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Australia Bets on Clean Power to Avoid Another Market Failure

The country’s main grid sees a double transformation coming as it electrifies and renewables become dominant.

Transmission towers in Sydney, Australia.

Transmission towers in Sydney, Australia.

Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Australia’s biggest grid has released a multibillion-dollar plan to ease its transition away from coal and avoid pitfalls that earlier this month led to the unprecedented step of temporarily taking over the spot power market.

An A$12.7 billion ($8.7 billion) investment in transmission projects would double its value in net market benefits, the Australian Energy Market Operator said Thursday in its biennial Integrated System Plan for the National Electricity Market. The roadmap foresees a “double transformation” where electricity demand almost doubles by 2050 while the coal plants that currently form the backbone of the grid retire faster than announced, with 60% of capacity withdrawn by the end of this decade.