Victoria led states in generation as renewables rose in 2021
Renewables continued their rise in Australia’s energy market in 2021, providing almost one-third of the nation’s power needs with Victoria leading the way in solar and wind generation.
Australia’s energy supply was met with more renewables throughout the year, with clean power accounting for 32.2% of total usage according to OpenNEM data. Solar energy grew to 13.4% of the market share, while wind power rose to 11.6%.
Hydroelectricity remained relatively stable, supplying 7% of Australia’s energy in 2021. With investments in large-scale solar and wind outnumbering those in hydro, that number could remain stable or drop in future even as Australia’s energy mix becomes more green.
Tasmania continued to lead the states in total share of renewable energy, however its solar and wind output was dwarfed by larger territories. For example, Victoria led the way with a combined generation of 9767GW; New South Wales generated the second-most solar and wind power with an output of 8,819GW; while South Australia rounded out the top three at 6396GW.
2021 saw Australia set new records for its market share of solar and wind power, with total generation growing 22% over the prior year. Coal generators also saw a fall across the Australian market, as fossil fuels began to drop in popularity compared to cleaner alternatives.
Coal still supplied 59.9% of Australia’s power throughout 2021, however its market share was below 60% for the first time on record. Gas generation fell to a 7.8% market share.
A closer look at leading renewable projects
A number of large-scale clean power projects across the country helped the sustained growth of renewables, with Western Australia’s Merredin solar farm the best performing project in the country. Merredin solar farm, operated by Sun Energy, achieved an effective capacity factor of 29.6% across the year, meaning it was operating to its full extent almost one-third of the time.
Queensland was home to the second and third best performing solar projects in Adani’s Rugby Run solar farm and Neoen’s Griffith solar farm respectively. Both projects reached greater than 27% capacity factor across the year.
Western Australia was also home to the best performing wind project in the country, with APA Group’s Badgingarra wind farm achieving a 46.7% capacity factor. The Kiata wind farm in Victoria and Granville Harbour wind farm in Tasmania rounded out the top three, with both recording over 40% capacity factor for the year.
Looking to bring more clean energy into your home? Check out our guide on how to get solar panels on your home and save money too, or head over to our energy hub to find and compare providers in your area.