Why the future looks bright for renewable energy

Ceyda Erem

Thursday 31 May 2018

According to the 2018 Clean Energy Council Australia Report, 2017 was a record year for the renewable energy industry.

Why the future looks bright for renewable energy

Almost 1.1 gigawatts of rooftop solar was installed last year which is reportedly the most in Australian history - surpassing the previous record in 2012.

Throughout 2017, around 700 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects were completed and began generation, but according to Clean Energy Council Chief, Kane Thornton, this is just the beginning.

“There are now enough projects in the system to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET). Given we were only about halfway to the large-scale target at the beginning of 2017, it shows the remarkable level of deal-making and project activity during the year,” he said.

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And for the first time ever, wind and hydro generation contributed an almost identical amount of electricity, making up 5.7% of the nation’s total generation.

“Perhaps most significantly, the large-scale renewable projects either under construction or which had attracted finance add up to more than seven times the amount of work completed in 2017. These 50 projects add up to 5300 MW of new capacity,” says Thornton.

Tasmania leading the way in renewable energy

The report also revealed that Tasmania is Australia’s renewable energy leader, thanks to the extensive hydro power networks which supply more than 90% of the state’s energy needs.

The ACT was not far behind either, with the data suggesting the territory is well on track to meet its renewable energy target - having 100% of its energy supply to come from renewable sources by 2020.

South Australia was also well ahead of the game, almost smashing their renewable target of 50% by 2025 last year. The state currently has 45% of its energy supplied through renewable sources.

When it came to Western Australia, there is still some work to be done as the state “has traditionally lagged behind” in terms of renewable energy, nor has it committed to a RET. However, during 2017, over 1,000 MW of wind and solar projects were awaiting connection approvals.

Queensland is currently working on achieving its target of 50% of renewable energy by 2030, while Victoria is on its way to 40% by 2025.

And while New South Wales does not have a RET, the government does have a long-term target of zero emissions by 2050.

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The good news

As the nation moves towards all things wind and solar, The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has predicted that electricity prices will fall by 6.2% over the next two years.

“The RET has been the key policy encouraging investment in both small and large-scale renewable energy, and the large number of projects which will come online over the next few years is predicted to reduce power prices by an average of 6.2%,” said Thornton.

“With the 2020 target now in hand, the whole energy sector is looking for policy certainty that will enable it to continue to invest far beyond 2020.”

So if you’re an Aussie thinking it’s time you joined the renewable energy team, head over to our energy comparison tool to compare green energy plans.

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