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Solar in 22.6% of homes in SA, as renewables hit 2020 target

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Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33 per cent in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule.

Official data released by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that the share of wind and solar generation in South Australia jumped to 32.1 per cent in 2013/14. This exceed the state’s target, but doesn’t include the 275MW Snowtown II wind farm that was brought on line in July.

As RenewEconomy has pointed out, South Australia is well on its way to 50 per cent renewable energy – practically achieved that in the month of July, and given the AEMO forecasts for the uptake of solar and energy efficiency, it could even become the first mainland state to move towards 100 per cent renewable energy – possibly within a decade.

The first graph we will show here is from Spark Infrastructure, which owns SA Power Networks, the monopoly network distributor in the state. As the graph clearly shows, the penetration of rooftop solar jumped to 22.6 per cent from 19.2 per cent. Another 27,000 homes added rooftop solar during the financial year, taking the total to 168,000.

And, according, to the network operator, the addition of rooftop solar is having clear benefits to all: “(Rooftop solar) PV is shifting the peak, but also helping reduce stress on the network during heatwave,” it said in its presentation to analysts on Monday. We have previously written about this before.

powercor solar

The AEMO report is interesting because it breaks down just how South Australia’s generation has changed over the past few years, and from a decade ago.

In 2000, more than 50 per cent of South Australian generation capacity relied on gas, with coal and interconnector flows made up most of the balance.

But, in 2014, gas makes up 44 per cent of the state’s registered generation capacity, with wind capacity (at nearly 20 per cent, or 1,200MW – before the addition of Snowtown II) providing more capacity than coal. The interconnector import capacity is 9.5 per cent, lower than the capacity of rooftop PV capacity, which is just below 10 per cent, or 565MW.

As for generation, the change is even more dramatic.

The state has gone from nearly 80 per cent local gas and coal to just over 55 per cent. Wind accounted for 27 per cent of generation in 2013/14, and solar 5.1 per cent.

aemo sa generation

 

And here’s a graph to get rid of all the nonsense you hear from the anti-renewables brigades and their mouthpieces in the Murdoch media – that wind and solar do not reduce emissions.

This shows the progress of emissions reductions over the last few years, since the boom in renewable energy began. The trend is quite clear, and even the inclusion of imported electricity (mostly from brown coal generators in Victoria) does not affect the result – electricity emissions are down by one quarter over the last five years.

aemo sa emissions

Here is a graph showing the change in registered capacity since 2000. Wind and solar coming from no-where. Coal is still registered at 770MW, but Playford is effectively closed.

AEMO SA capacity

   

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  • Peter D

    I wonder if the Palmer and Ceres wind farm projects will go ahead now with the RET uncertainty? Giles, it would be good to get a response from Trust Power and Suzlon Group

    • David K Clarke

      Peter; I suspect that TP and Suzlon/Ceres would give an optimistic statement, but what they really think may well be another matter.

      • Peter D

        You might be right David. But I think it would be beneficial for investors to comment on the matter. It adds weight as to what the real impacts are as a consequence of uncertainty.

  • Rob

    Well done South Australia! Showing the way for the rest of us.