Australia Breaks Renewable Energy Record

Posted: 05/07/17 00:00

 

The Clean Energy Council have recently released a report of findings that in 2016, 17.3% of electricity in Australia was sourced from renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Council have recently released a report of findings that in 2016, 17.3% of electricity in Australia was sourced from renewable energy.

This percentage is the highest rate of renewable energy utilised for electricity this century, setting Australia on track to meet the government’s Renewable Energy Target 2020 that orders 23.5% to come from ‘clean energy sources’ (i.e. wind, solar, hydro-electric).

42.3% of this increase in renewal energy utilisation came from hydropower as a result of increased rainfall in key hydro catchment areas. This increase also owes thanks to the recent completion of 10 large-scale solar and wind power projects across the country. Just last year, 6,750 battery storage systems were installed.

CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton stated that large reductions in production costs of these renewable energy projects (commercial-scale solar power plant costs have fallen by 50%) has created a huge amount of commercial activity in the country’s solar and wind sector, setting us up for another record year of growth in 2017.

Reductions are owed largely to project support funding from ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) and CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation).

According to Mr Thornton, every month brings new project announcements. While total investment in large-scale renewable energy was $2.56 billion last year, $5.20 billion worth of projects have secured finance in just the first five months of 2017 and have either started construction or will begin this year.

The report details that rooftop solar power remained steady during 2016, however with 135,000 systems connected to the grid, the first three months of 2017 saw the industry post its best quarter since August 2012. It also details that a contraction to 11,150 direct renewable energy jobs in the 2015/16 period, but these figures covered an industry “low point” during Abbot government’s oppositional review of the RET.

Employment figures are likely to increase substantially in 2017 with over 35 large-scale projects already under construction or starting this year, adding up to more than $7.5 billion in commercial investment and more than 4,100 additional direct jobs over the next few years.

A highlight of last year was the ACT’s reverse auction for wind power. It led to the cheapest wind power ever contracted, for $73 a megawatt-hour at Neoen’s Hornsdale 3 Wind Farm.

CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton highlighted that the changes that are happening across the country right now are extraordinary. Renewable energy is now the cheapest kind of new power generation that can be built today – less than both new coal and new gas-fired power plants.

Highlights from the Clean Energy Australia Report 2016 include:

  • 17.3 per cent of Australia’s electricity came from renewable energy during 2016, the most of any year this century.
  • Hydro made the biggest contribution, providing 42.3 per cent of the total renewable energy following excellent rainfall in key hydro catchments.
  • Non-hydro renewable energy such as solar, wind and bioenergy delivered 10 per cent of Australia’s power in 2016.
  • The ACT Government’s reverse auction program led to the cheapest wind power ever contracted, for $73 a megawatt-hour at Neoen’s Hornsdale 3 Wind Farm.
  • The recent sale of the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria led to Origin Energy contracting renewable energy from the project for less than $60/MWh.
  • About half of the projects which are under construction or will start in 2017 under the RET are large-scale solar, due to a plunge in costs over the last few years. Support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and innovative finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) have pushed the price of large-scale solar down to almost half what it was just a couple of years ago.
  • Tasmania's energy crisis was resolved following the repair of the Basslink cable connecting the island with the mainland, combined with strong winter rains.
  • 10 new renewable energy projects came online in 2016 – Seven solar plants and three wind farms
  • 6750 battery systems were installed in 2016, 13 times the number that were installed in 2015.

For further information, visit the Clean Energy Council website.

There have also been a growing rate of renewable energy tender opportunities across Australia, click here to view the list of tenders, via Australian Tenders. The main tender service categories most relevant to this industry are:

  • Environmental & Heritage Services
  • Power Generation & Transmission & Distribution
  • Utilities

 

 

We do not own the copyright to the above information or images, it has been extracted from the following sources: http://www.energymatters.com.au/ & http://www.sbs.com.au/ & http://reneweconomy.com.au/.

 

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