SYDNEY, July 23 (Xinhua) -- British billionaire and CEO of GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta, whose company bought Whyalla steelworks in the state of South Australia, said on Monday that he will prove to Australians that solar power is cheaper than coal.
"It's still everybody's perception that it is cheaper to make power from coal than it is from renewables, and it is no longer the case," Gupta said.
"It was the case not long ago, but it's no longer the case, and we will prove it."
GFG Alliance bought the financially struggling Whyalla steelworks plant in August 2017 with plans to invest heavily in renewable energy in Australia, including hydro and solar plants as well as the development of a 100-megawatt lithium-ion battery.
"If it was cheaper to make new coal plants, I would argue you should invest in that technology," Gupta said.
"But it should just turn on what's more competitive. If you can make power from the sort of things that we're doing and it can compete against a new coal plant, then why would you not do that, right?"
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said a recent Australian Energy Market Operator report, while not precluding the building of new coal power stations, does show the declining cost of renewable energies and storage.
"It's reflecting what is a reality in the market, which is renewables coming down dramatically in price, and that's led to their increased uptake across the market, and we need to put a greater emphasis on storage and interconnection," Frydenberg said.