Renewable energy generation at record highs as gas slumps

Wind farm on grassy hills with blue sky

Renewable energy generation has surged to record highs in Australia thanks to its affordability and cleanliness compared to other power sources, while gas generation has taken another fall.

Renewables jumped up almost 20% in the National Energy Market (NEM) in the first half of 2021, with New South Wales and Western Australia taking the largest increases at 35% and 41% respectively.

With the Australian Energy Market Operator recently announcing a goal for our grids to support 100% renewables by 2025, the uptake in renewables is likely to continue in the coming years.

Gas slumps further

Between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, gas generation provided just 6 per cent of power in the NEM after a further significant drop the year before. The steady decline in gas generation follows the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s modelling which sees the role of gas continually declining over the next two decades.

Of the NEM’s 33 large gas power stations, 29 of them operated at less than 20% capacity, highlighting that while infrastructure for gas generation exists, it is fast becoming an undesirable power source for many Aussies.

Gas generation fell in every Australian state in the first half of this year, including South Australia and Western Australia (South West Interconnected System only) where it still accounts for over 30% of power generation.

Renewable energy generationGas energy generation
National Energy Market (NEM)28.8%6.1%
South Australia62.8%36.4%
Western Australia (South West Interconnected System only)30.1%31.6%
New South Wales22.8%1.3%

Data from OpenNEM, 1 Jan 2021 - 30 June 2021. Remaining generation is coal, battery or distillate.

Despite the fall in reliance on gas, the New South Wales government has released a Future of Gas statement, pledging to support gas exploration and production to provide certainty to both the gas sector as well communities and landholders across the state. The statement mentions the importance of gas in supporting regional industries in NSW but stresses a focus on a diverse energy mix.

How can I go renewable?

We’ve got a renewable energy faqs to answer the most common concerns surrounding green power, but for a quick breakdown on how you can choose green power:

  • Most providers offer green energy plans that let you buy some or all of your power from renewable sources.
  • Some providers offer the option to ‘sponsor’ a percentage from 10%-100% of your energy generation from renewable sources. This won’t be supplied directly to your home but will go to the grid.
  • Install rooftop solar and connect with a provider to help you use that energy.

Head over to our energy hub to compare energy plans of all kinds in your area, or make use of our comparison tool below to find providers.

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