Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Australian rooftop solar figures shine

Australia has set renewable energy records for the fifth year in a row with more than one in four households now generating power on their roofs. 

Renewable energy delivered nearly a third (32.2%) of the electricity in the National Electricity Market in 2021, jumping up to 35.8% in the final quarter of the year. 

In 2021, total generation from all renewable sources across Australia rose 23% compared to 2020, to deliver 72.5 terawatt hours. 

Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor said continuing investment in more renewable energy had cemented the nation’s place as a world leader in bringing down emissions.

“Last year $7.4 billion or $284 per person was invested in renewable energy in Australia. This puts us ahead of countries including Canada, Germany, Japan, France, China and the United States on a per person basis,” Minister Taylor said.

“As record high levels of renewable energy come online, the Morrison Government’s energy policy is focused on three things: ensuring the grid is stable; prices remain low; and emissions continue to come down. The key to this is balance between renewables and on-demand reliable power.

“That’s why the Government has taken decisive action to support the Tallawarra B gas generator and Port Kembla gas project and we are stepping up to deliver Snowy Hydro’s Hunter Power Project at Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley.

“We are also prioritising work on a new fit-for-purpose market design, including a capacity mechanism and delivering flexible backup generation and storage such as the 2000 MW pumped hydro expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme which is needed to balance and complement very high levels of intermittent renewables,” he said.

2021 was the fifth record-breaking year in a row for rooftop solar as Australians installed approximately 380,000 new systems with a combined capacity of 3.2 gigawatts. 

This brings the total to 17 gigawatts – a virtual power station comprising more than 3 million rooftops – as the largest generator in Australia. 

2.9 gigawatts of new large-scale wind and solar power stations were committed in 2021 – this includes Australia’s largest wind farm, the MacIntyre Wind Farm in Queensland. This continues an upward trend in renewable energy investment over the past two years. 

The Clean Energy Regulator expects the first half of this year will also be very strong for new announcements and construction beginning on major projects.  

“The Morrison Government has also committed more than half a billion dollars to support major transmission projects that will enable new renewable generation. These include the Marinus Link needed to turn Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation vision into reality and Project Energy Connect and VNI West that will build new interconnectors between South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria,” the Minister said.

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