Report shows sluggish investment in renewables projects

Wind turbines and solar panels against beautiful sky (south australian power prices)
Image: Shutterstock

A new Clean Energy Council report has revealed sluggish financial commitments in new large-scale renewable energy projects over the course of 2023 continued into the third quarter of the year.

The Clean Energy Council’s Q3 Renewable Projects Quarterly Report confirmed 2023 has been a challenging year for grid-scale renewable energy projects, reaching a total of 509MW from financially committed projects so far.

Related article: Capacity Investment Scheme supercharged to 32GW

During Q3 2023, investment in new large-scale renewable energy generation projects remained sluggish, with just two new generation projects totalling 161MW of capacity achieving financial commitment—the fourth-lowest result since the Clean Energy Council began tracking project data in 2017.

The latest report provides detailed insights into investment activity within Australia’s clean energy and storage investment pipeline, showing that:

  • Large-scale storage projects saw a decrease in financial commitments during Q3 when compared to the strong previous quarter, with just 13MW added in the most recent quarter.
  • Three generation projects commenced construction during the quarter, comprising 86MW of additional capacity, while one project reached the commissioning stage, contributing a total of 75MW.
  • Renewable energy generation and storage projects attracted a total of $150 million during Q3 2023—the fourth-lowest quarterly total for financial commitments since 2017.

“These numbers are a clarion call for strong and decisive action, and we welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to bringing forward the necessary generation in order to make sure that we can deliver the low-cost, clean electricity we need to replace ageing coal-fired generation,” Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said.

“Between now and 2030, Australia needs a substantial increase in financial commitments for large-scale renewable projects, in the order of 6.9GW per year to achieve the Federal Government’s target of 82% by 2030.

“Investment in renewable energy has been in gradual decline since the Renewable Energy Target—a policy that delivered substantial new investment—was met in 2020. The rate of investment slowed more dramatically over the past year as a result of higher project costs, complex permitting processes, a congested grid and intensifying global competition in the race to net zero.

“While renewable energy remains the lowest cost form of new generation, there is a clear role for government to facilitate the enormous levels of investment needed to transition our energy system, particularly in an era of significant global competition, due to incentive packages like the US Inflation Reduction Act.

Related article: Clean Energy Council releases strategic Power Playbook

“We can unleash the strong investor interest in Australia with the right policy settings to address the barriers to investment, and we look forward to working with the Federal Government on the implementation details of its new Capacity Investment Scheme for renewable energy generation.”

The Clean Energy Council recently released its Power Playbook, a strategic package of 45 recommendations to the Federal Government designed to ensure Australia gets back on track in meeting its targets and to provides a structure for a future Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan.

Previous articleNew report highlights potential of Aussie ‘agrisolar’
Next articleSustainable switch: Ausgrid first to install Siemens’ blue GIS