• Australian state of South Australia is the leader in terms of the progress in the clean energy transition space among all states and territories, according to a Climate Council report
  • ACT is on track to achieve its 100% renewable energy target by January 1, 2020, while Tasmania wins brownie points for working its battery storage efforts
  • NSW and Western Australia are also laggards in this transition, but Northern Territory gets ‘wooden spoon’ for finishing last on the list
  • As federal government continues to look the other way in supporting the clean energy transition for the country, the report calls on states to move on without expecting any federal support

South Australia is the leading state in the country with regard to its transition to clean energy, generating more than half of its electricity from wind and solar power, according to the Climate Council, an independent Australian climate change communications organisation. The state is on course of achieving its 100% target for renewable energy electricity mix by 2030.

In its latest report titled State of Play: Renewable Energy Leaders and Losers, Climate Council identified the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to achieve its 100% renewable energy target on January 1, 2020, followed by Tasmania as it pursues battery storage facilities.

Victoria with its ‘most substantial capacity’ of large scale solar and wind projects pipeline than any other state, and Queensland, eclipsing others in terms of increased large-scale wind and solar capacity per person over 2017, are making good progress on their renewable energy transition goals but there is scope for improvement.

It places Northern Territory (NT) at the bottom of the list awarding it the symbolic ‘wooden spoon’ for finishing last in the 2019 renewables race. Nonetheless, it might change in the future as the region aims for net zero emissions by 2050, using its ample solar resources with a 10 GW solar and storage project planned by Sun Cable. The report writers point out the expansion of the gas industry here that acts as a dampener for the renewable growth trajectory for NT.

The other laggards are identified as New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia, the only states with no concrete renewable energy target where the governments continue to support coal and gas industries.

Overall the report clarifies that states and territories are working to make their regions more renewable energy friendly; in particular companies are increasingly voluntarily procuring renewable energy (see 5.6 GW Australian RE Capacity Backed By Corp PPA). It does pin the blame on the federal government that the writers claim is going out of its way to obstruct the work states are doing in the matter in addition to the continuation of policy lacunae at the central level. This is seriously undermining investor confidence in renewable energy in Australia, it emphasized.

“States and territories are driving the transition to a renewable energy future, in the face of the Federal Government’s lack of leadership,” said Energy Expert and Climate Councillor Greg Bourne. “It is time for all states and territories to create their own forums for coordination and move on without the Federal Government.”

In Australia’s 2018 energy mix, 19% was contributed by renewable energy with wind and solar’s share being 11%.

The State of Play: Renewable Energy Leaders and Losers report can the downloaded for free on the Climate Council’s website.