GFG Alliance boss says coal isn’t cheaper than solar

Sanjeev Gupta

UK billionaire and executive chairman of GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta has a mission to prove to Australians that solar power is cheaper than coal.

Mr Gupta is investing $2 billion in clean energy in South Australia after purchasing the struggling Whyalla steelworks plant in August 2017.

“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,” Mr Gupta told The Guardian.

“It was the case not long ago, but it’s no longer the case, and we will prove it.”

Through SIMEC Zen Energy, the Australian arm of GFG Alliance, Mr Gupta has already made quite the mark in the Australian renewable energy space, striking a deal with the South Australia Government last year to provide 80 per cent of the state’s energy requirements, with plans including including pumped hydro, large-scale solar and a 100MW battery.

“If it was cheaper to make new coal plants, I would argue you should invest in that technology,” Mr 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?”

Mr Gupta said Australia remained well behind other countries in the transition to clean energy, according to the report.

“There hasn’t been enough investment in new generation while some older generation has gone away,” he said.

“It’s mathematics – there is no rocket science in that.”