Renewable energy generated more power than brown coal, gas or oil-fuelled generators in summer, according to the latest Green Energy Markets data.
Coming in second to black coal across Australia’s main east and west-coast grids, the monthly Renewable Energy Index for February showed the 9880GWh from renewables during the summer months (with 3743GWh coming in February) exceeded that from brown coal by 8 per cent, and gas by 40 per cent.
Summer generation from oil fuels such as diesel was negligible at 42GWh.
“Renewables delivered substantial amounts of power when demand for electricity was at its highest,” the report said.
“In the National Electricity Market (NEM), renewables delivered an average of 5610MW in summer during the 11am to 7pm peak demand period.
“This was 32 per cent greater than that from brown coal and 78 per cent higher than gas.”
The Index revealed solar produced substantially more power during working hours this summer than that lost from the closure of the Hazelwood power station.
“Pivotal to renewable energy’s contribution to peak demand has been the large growth in solar PV in Australia in recent years,” the report said.
“From 9am to 5pm, solar’s average output in the NEM exceeded the maximum output of Hazelwood during the prior summer by between 48 per cent up to 162 per cent.”
Generation from renewables is expected to increase in the next two years, with the amount of large-scale capacity under construction passing the 5000MW mark in February.
The 5056MW under construction are estimated to support 17,445 job years worth of construction employment.
The Index also revealed rooftop solar installations in February were close to an all-time monthly record.
“Rooftop solar PV continues to enjoy high levels of capacity installations by historical standards with February’s 117MW and 17,252 of installed systems for the month closely in line with November’s all-time record,” the report said.
“These systems supported 5674 full-time jobs in installation and can be expected to deliver $208m in electricity bill savings in the next ten years, while producing an amount of power equal to the electricity consumption of 33,826 households.”