Renewable energy is going from strength to strength, both in Australia and worldwide. Locally, it’s been the state and territory governments leading the way as our country transitions from fossil fuels to more sustainable renewable energy and storage.
Each year, the Climate Council of Australia monitors the progress of our states and territories based on their performance across a range of renewable energy metrics:
- percentage of renewable electricity
- proportion of households with solar
- large-scale wind and solar capacity per capita, and
- targets or policies in place for renewable energy
In 2017, combined solar and wind generation increased by 5%. This is despite the continuing absence of credible national climate and energy policy, and thanks largely to state government renewable energy targets and policies.
Strong state and territory government policies are vital if Australia is to increase the uptake of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
After a decade of stops and starts, 2017 was the biggest year for the industry since the iconic Snowy Hydro Scheme was finished more than half a century ago. And it was a record-breaking year on many fronts.
Not only did we see records falling for both rooftop solar and large-scale renewables, but the Clean Energy Regulator also announced that there are enough projects now committed to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET).
More than 1100 MW of rooftop solar power capacity was installed during the year, eclipsing the previous best in 2012.
Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia have been leading the way in the renewable energy race, however Victoria and Queensland are now starting to catch up.
Victoria had 13.6% renewable electricity in 2017, up from 12.1% in 2016. This is likely to rise rapidly in the next few years. Renewable energy generation may provide as much as 39.4% of the state’s consumption by 2020. 15.9% of households in Victoria now have solar PV.
Victoria succeeded in legislating its two stage renewable energy target in 2017 and shortly thereafter launched its first reverse auction for 650MW of wind and solar capacity.
In September 2018, the Victorian Government announced that six renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 928 MW had been successful in the auction. This has been the largest reverse auction for renewable energy in Australia and will help the state meet targets of 25% renewable energy by 2020 and 40% renewable energy by 2025.
The Victorian Government is also building wind and solar plants to power the state’s iconic tram network with 100% renewable energy. This includes 34MW of the Numurkah solar farm (the solar farm will be 100MW in total) and the 88MW Bannerton solar park.
The Victorian Government has also supported an integrated wind farm and battery storage project. The 194MW Bulgana wind farm will be backed up by a 20MW/34MWh battery to power Nectar Farms’ greenhouses in Stawell. The project will be complete in 2019 and provide clean, affordable and reliable power 24/7.
In March 2017, Victoria’s Hazelwood coal power station was officially retired. The 1,600MW power station was 53 years old and becoming an increasingly unsafe workplace. Since the closure of the power station, much of its capacity has been replaced by wind and solar.
For more information visit the Climate Council