Renewables now make up a third of Australia’s energy

Sun shines brightly on solar panels with US city in background (solar)
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Australian renewables have set records for the fifth year in a row, with more than one in four households now generating power on their roofs, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.

Renewables delivered nearly a third (32.2 per cent) of the electricity in the National Electricity Market in 2021, jumping up to 35.8 per cent in the final quarter of the year. 

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In 2021 total generation from all renewables across Australia rose 23 per cent compared to 2020, to deliver 72.5TWh. 

2021 was the fifth record-breaking year in a row for rooftop solar as Australians installed approximately 380,000 new systems with a combined capacity of 3.2GW. 

This brings the total to 17GW—a virtual power station comprising more than 3 million rooftops—as the largest generator in Australia. 

2.9GW of new large-scale wind and solar power stations were committed in 2021, including Australia’s largest wind farm, the MacIntyre Wind Farm in Queensland. This continues an upward trend in renewable energy investment over the past two years. 

The Clean Energy Regulator expects the first half of this year will also be very strong for new announcements and construction beginning on major projects.  

“Last year $7.4 billion or $284 per person was invested in renewable energy in Australia. This puts us ahead of countries including Canada, Germany, Japan, France, China and the United States on a per person basis,” Minister Taylor said.

Taylor said the government’s energy policy was focused on ensuring the grid was stable, prices remained low, and “emissions continued to come down”.

Related article: Qld set to hit 50% renewables target by 2025

“That’s why the government has taken decisive action to support the Tallawarra B gas generator and Port Kembla gas project and we are stepping up to deliver Snowy Hydro’s Hunter Power Project at Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley,” he said.

“We are also prioritising work on a new fit-for-purpose market design, including a capacity mechanism and delivering flexible backup generation and storage such as the 2000MW pumped hydro expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme, which is needed to balance and complement very high levels of intermittent renewables.”

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