Industry body Clean Energy Council has reported that 2018 was a record year for renewable energy in Australia.
According to its clean energy report 2019, investment in renewable energy doubled from $10bn in 2017 to $20bn in 2018. Renewables made up 21% of Australia’s electricity generation in 2018, generating 48,279GWh of power for the year. Hydro is the largest source of renewable power with 17,002GWh followed by wind at 16,171GWh and solar with 11,694GWh.
Small scale solar installations for housing generated 1.55GW for the year, with panels on over two million homes. On a larger scale 87 major renewable energy projects were approved in 2018, creating over 10,000 jobs in the sector.
The state of Tasmania was the largest producer use of renewable energy, generating 95.9% of its demand from renewable sources, followed by South Australia with 53%. The two lowest performing states in the country were New South Wales with 15% and Queensland at 9.5%.
Each state has its own renewable energy goal, with the most ambitious being Australian Capital Territory’s plan for 100% clean energy and zero net emissions by 2020.
The report did note that despite these advances fossil fuels still formed 79% of Australia’s electricity generation for the year, even though wind and solar are now cheaper than new coal generation. Electricity bills for the country also remain ‘stubbornly high’.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton wrote in the introduction: “The considerable amount of new wind and solar capacity that has entered the market in recent years has already begun to reduce wholesale prices.”
“While there is still much to be done, particularly in relation to improving the grid and energy market and how it integrates renewable energy and energy storage, 2018 was a phenomenal year. The vision of an Australia powered by clean energy is now well and truly in sight.”