Record year for renewables

Solar panels and wind turbines (clean energy institutes)
Image: Shutterstock

A record share of the country’s electricity was sourced from renewable energy last year, according to the Clean Energy Council.

According to the council’s Clean Energy Australia Report 2016, improved rainfall in key hydro catchments and a series of new wind and solar projects saw more than 17 per cent of Australia’s electricity come from a renewable sources in 2016.

This result has put Australia well on track to deliver the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET).

CEC chief executive officer Kane Thornton said 10 large wind and solar projects had been completed last year, with continued reductions in project costs contributing to unprecedented levels of commercial activity, setting the industry up for another record year in 2017.

“While total investment in large-scale renewable energy was $2.56 billion last year, $5.20 billion worth of projects have secured finance in just the first five months of 2017, and have either started construction or will begin this year,” Mr Thornton said.

“The changes happening across the country right now are extraordinary.

“Renewable energy is now the cheapest kind of new power generation that can be built today – less than both new col and new gas-fired power plants.

“The price of gas in particular has skyrocketed.”

Mr Thornton said large-scale solar power was almost half the cost it was just a few years ago, and it is now playing a huge role in meeting the national RET.

“Innovation continues right across the renewable energy supply chain and new technologies such as energy storage are beginning to get their time in the sun,’ he said.

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