Renewables grow to 17% of electricity mix
Source: The Guardian
Renewable energy comprised 17% of Australia’s electricity generation in 2016, up from 14% the year before, but the industry is warning it needs policy certainty and support beyond 2020 if the growth trend is to continue.
A new report by the Clean Energy Council says 2016 was a year of recovery for the Australian renewables sector after the sustained policy uncertainty generated by the Abbott government’s review of the federal renewable energy target (RET) cost jobs and investment.
The report, to be released in Canberra on Tuesday, says the increased market share for renewables in 2016 was delivered by a 26% increase in hydro generation, which reflects improved rainfall in Tasmania and the snowy region.
While it says the current level of activity means Australia is well on track to deliver the 2020 RET, the industry needs policy certainty to go on delivering the transformation.
“Australia is realising the significant benefits of backing the renewable energy industry,” the new report says. “For these economic benefits to continue, clear policy direction and support is required beyond 2020.”
The report draws attention to the falling costs of renewable energy, noting one of the “signature” trends of recent years has been the falling cost of large-scale solar power.
It notes the ACT government’s reverse auction scheme also “led to the cheapest wind power ever contracted in Australia, for $73 a megawatt-hour (MWh) at Stage 3 of Neoen’s Hornsdale windfarm in South Australia”.
“AGL appears set to go one better, with electricity from the Silverton windfarm reported to be as low as $65/MWh.”
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