SA reaches renewables target nine years early

South Australia has reached its renewable energy target nine years early, according to EnergyQuest quarterly report.

The EnergyQuarterly report estimated for the 2016 September quarter the state, which succumbed to a crippling Statewide power blackout during the period with another major Adelaide-wide interruption just last week, reached its target of 50 per cent of power generation from renewable energy sources nine years early.

“South Australia may have achieved its target of 50 per cent renewable energy, but with the closure of the State’s coal-fired generation, the Government was forced to beg Engie to bring the gas-fired Pelican Point generator back on line,” EnergyQuest CEO Dr Graeme Bethune said.

“The Government has since had to use $24m of tax payers’ money to encourage gas exploration, all to back-up renewables, and bring back stability to the SA power network.”

While South Australia was scrambling to source more gas-fired generation to back up renewables, for the east coast as a whole, generation from renewables overtook gas for the first time last quarter.

Wind, solar farm and rooftop PV combined to generate 4366 GWh over the September quarter, outperforming the 3481 GWh generated from gas. Coal-fired generation was steady at 38,988 GWh.

“Where ample coal-fired generation is available, as in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, renewable energy sources are supplying power at the expense of gas,” Dr Bethune said.

“Gas-fired electricity generation in the east coast market fell by 18 per cent quarter on quarter (qoq) in Q3 2016, which followed a 6 per cent decline in Q2 and a 14 per cent qoq decline in Q1 2016.

“Gas-fired generation as a percentage of all National Electricity Market (NEM) scheduled generation fell from 8.3 per cent in Q3 2015 to 6.8 per cent in the Q3 2016.

“However, once coal goes, gas is an essential part of the energy mix. The only increase in gas generation for the period was in SA due to that State’s closure of the coal fired Northern power station at Port Augusta.”