- A report published by the CER in Australia says the country is on track to meet its large-scale renewable energy target of generating 33,000 GWh and is likely to exceed it by 2020 with 40,000 GWh
- Between 2017 and 2019, more large-scale renewable energy capacity was built in Australia compared to first 16 years of the scheme
- Around 4 GW of new large-scale capacity is likely to be accredited in 2019 taking the total to around 8.4 GW generating since 2017
- CER expects large-scale renewable energy generation to grow from around 22,000 GWh in 2018 to 30,000 GWh in 2019 and 40,000 GWh in 2020
Australia is on track to meet its large-scale renewable energy target (LRET) of generating 33,000 GWh of clean power by 2020 as enough utility-scale renewables capacity was either commissioned, generating or was under construction at the end of 2018.
According to an administrative report titled ‘The Acceleration in Renewables Investment in 2018’, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) said a record 3,455 MW of constructed projects were accredited in 2018, more than triple the 1,113 MW accredited in 2017, which was the previous record.
Higher level of large-scale renewable energy capacity was built by the industry in Australia between 2017 and 2019 than the first 16 years of the scheme.
“Since 1 January 2016, 11,611 MW of new capacity has been firmly announced. Of this, 4,474 MW has been commissioned against the 6,400 MW required to meet the 2020 target. A further 5,408 MW is under construction and an additional 1,729 MW of projects hold a power purchase agreement. We would expect these projects to reach financial close and start construction in 2019,” reads the report.
In 2019, CER expects close to 4 GW of large-scale capacity to be accredited, which means these can start generating large-scale generation certificates for power generation. This will take the total to around 8.4 GW generating since 2017. Hence, the authors of the report see large-scale renewables generation to grow from around 22,000 GWh in 2018 to 30,000 GWh in 2019 and 40,000 GWh in 2020.
The administrative report can be read on the website of CER.
110 MW project approved
Talking about large-scale projects in Australia, New South Wales has another utility-scale solar power plant on the anvil with the 110 MW Orange Grove Solar Farm having secured planning approval from the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC). To be developed for AUD 94 million ($65.5 million) the project is to come up in Gunnedah township on Orange Grove Road.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment referred the project to the commission ‘amid community opposition’ in April 2019. Now the commission has approved the project stating it is in the ‘public interest’ since it will help reduce GHG emissions, and also lead to better use of land and solar potential of the region.
The farm will be developed by Orange Grove Sun Farm Pty Ltd, a project company of Overland Sun Farming. According to the parent company, 110 MW Orange Grove Sun Farm has been classified by the state government as a ‘State Significant Development’ project.
Things are only looking brighter for the solar sector in Australia as the news of massive projects do the rounds. Sun Cable’s 10 GW solar farm with 20 to 30 GWh of storage has received major project status in Northern Territory while Asian Renewable Hub has increased the share of wind and solar from 11 GW to 15 GW though the individual share of the technologies isn’t yet known.
Small-scale solar is doing pretty well too. Australia’s installed rooftop solar power capacity crossed 8 GW in 2018 and a June 2019 study claims Australia has a potential for 179 GW of capacity for such installations (see 179 GW Rooftop Solar Potential In Australia).