• Australia is expected to add 10.4 GW of new renewable energy capacity between 2018 and 2019 according to government projections, which will make the country exceed its renewable energy target comfortably, according to an analysis by Australian National University (ANU)
  • It will be able to achieve 100% renewable electricity by early 2030s if the current rate of installations continues into 2020 and beyond
  • Over and above CER’s construction pipeline estimates, the ANU team points at the state-specific renewable energy targets, 1 GW of renewables capacity committed by Sanjeev Gupta and growing adoption of rooftop PV by commercial and industrial segments, among other factors that will boost the growth of renewables in the country
  • The experts now call for government support for more storage and stronger interstate interconnection

Australia looks set to install about 10.4 GW of new renewable energy capacity during 2018 and 2019, comprising 7.2 GW of large-scale solar PV systems and windfarms, coupled with 3.2 GW of small-scale rooftop PV systems, according to the Clean Energy Regulator (CER). All of this represents 30% of the country’s peak electricity demand.

If this happens, Australia will ‘comfortably’ exceed its 2020 Renewable Energy Target that aims for 33,000 GWh of large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), with 29% renewable energy in its national energy mix by 2020, and 50% by 2025, according to Australian National University (ANU10.

An analysis by experts at the university claims the country can achieve 100% renewable electricity by early 2030s if the current rate installations continues into 2020 and beyond. The authors of the analysis claim Australia will be able to meet its entire 26% Paris emission reduction target for the whole economy in 2024-25.

“All the evidence points to Australia’s capacity to be a renewable energy superpower, with all the economic and environmental benefits that come with that. We need Australia’s governments to put in place the right plans for the renewable energy train to have a smooth ride,” said Energy Change Institute Director Professor Ken Baldwin.

The team points out that the CER construction pipeline doesn’t include future capacity linked to high-profile announcements of new renewable energy targets and industry trends as state specific renewable energy targets, or PPA between PV and windfarm operators, PV popularity among C&I segment, or the announcement of over 1 GW renewables program by Sanjeev Gupta (see Zen Energy Plans 1 GW RES In Australia).

Australian National University (ANU).Effective and adequate energy storage and transmission capacity is required now with government support. “The remaining piece of the puzzle is more storage and stronger interstate interconnection, which is where governments should be focussing their attention,” said Dr Matthew Stocks from ANU Research School of Engineering.

High voltage interconnectors between states and to renewable energy zones is the need of the hour from the government. ANU analysis ‘Australia’s renewable energy industry is delivering rapid and deep emission cuts’ is available on its website.

According to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator CER, between Janaury 2016 and July 2018, Australia accredited 2,804 MW of renewable energy capacity. There’s another 5,050 MW of committed capacity. PPAs have been signed for further 781 MW, with all of it adding up to 8,635 MW (see Australia Accredited 395 MW PV Plants In July 2018).