South Australia tops the list for renewable energy

Shubhda Khanna Nag

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Amongst all the Australian states, South Australia has made the most impressive shift to sustainable power while New South Wales is stuck with the lowest share of renewable energy, reveals a recent report by The Climate Council.

The study compared Australia's states based on their renewable energy policy and performance across parameters like rooftop solar penetration, large-scale capacity per capita and the percentage of electricity produced using sustainable sources.

Here’s a quick look at what the report had to say about the different states:

1. South Australia

South Australia has shown tremendous growth in the renewable energy sector, going from producing 99% fossil fuel electricity in 2003-04 to just over 40% wind and solar power in 2014-15. At 1,505MW of large-scale renewable energy capacity installed (excluding hydro), it has the highest renewable energy capacity and capacity per capita of all the states and territories.

Renewable Energy Target: To ensure 50% of electricity produced in the state comes from sustainable sources by 2025 and to have “zero net emissions” by 2050.

2. ACT

The ACT Government has been steadily investing in renewable energy sources since 2012. To achieve its renewable energy goals, ACT has increased its latest renewable energy capacity release from 109MW to 200MW.

Renewable Energy Target: To reach 100% renewable electricity by 2020, which is the highest target of any state or territory.

3. Tasmania

With a ‘renewable energy advantage’ in terms of its rich hydro-electric power sources, Tasmania already produces 95% of its electricity through sustainable sources. At 319.6MW of large-scale renewable energy capacity installed, it’s only behind South Australia with regard to per capita capacity. 12.1% of Tasmanian households have also installed solar PV.

Renewable Energy Target: Despite its commitment to renewable power, Tasmania does not have an official RET.

4. Queensland

The Sunshine State is yet to catch up with the other states in terms of its total renewable electricity supply, which sits at 7% according to the report. But it has the highest proportion of households (29.6%) with solar PV.

Renewable Energy Target: To reach 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and 1 million solar rooftops by 2020.

5. Victoria

10% of Victoria’s electricity supply comes from renewable sources. With 1377.8MW of large-scale renewable energy capacity installed (excluding hydro), it has the second highest capacity after South Australia. In addition, 14.2% of households in Victoria have solar PV.    

Renewable Energy Target: To reach “at least” 20% renewable electricity by 2020.

6. Western Australia

The Western Australian Government has contributed to various renewable energy and battery storage projects such as trialling the cost-effectiveness of “off grid” power systems and funding for solar and battery storage and energy efficiency measures for new housing developments. WA has 13% renewable electricity supply and 22.5% of households with solar PV.

Renewable Energy Target: At the moment, WA has no renewable energy target, but the state government is working on a state renewable energy policy, which should be released later this year.

7. New South Wales

NSW only has 6% renewable electricity supply, which is the lowest share among all the states. The state falls short in its overall commitment to renewable energy because of its low percentage of renewable electricity uptake, low level of large-scale capacity per capita, and low percentage of households with solar.

Renewable Energy Target: NSW does not have a specific renewable energy target.

8. Northern Territory

Despite the rich solar resource and the most generous feed-in tariff rates in the country, NT has the lowest proportion (8.7%) of households with solar PV.

Renewable Energy Target: The Northern Territory has no set goals to promote renewable energy in the state.

How does Australia fare for renewable energy overall?

At a country level, the report states that Australia’s renewable energy resources are among the best globally, and can potentially provide 500 times the amount of electricity we currently use. However, Australia’s Renewable Energy Target only aims for 23.5% of its total electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2020.

If you’re looking for more updates on energy developments across Australia, don’t forget to check out our energy news section. You can also compare electricity prices and plans in different states using our online electricity comparison tool.

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