Australia has easily beaten its previous record for the share of renewables on its main grid, reaching 58.3 per cent just after noon on Thursday – and also setting a new record for the share of wind and solar in the grid.
The new record, according to data from OpenNEM, was set at 12.30pm, and easily beat the previous record of 57.3 per cent set just a few days earlier. More importantly, it occurred on a weekday. Such records are usually set on weekends when industrial use is lower.
The share of wind and solar alone reached 56.1 per cent at 12.30pm, also a record share of total output – although the aggregate total of around 14.5GW was not a record.
At the time of the record, rooftop solar alone contributed 32.4 per cent of the total demand of around 24GW, wind farms contributed 12.9 per cent, and utility scale solar farms 10.8 per cent.
Coal was reduced to below 40 per cent share of the output, with black coal in Queensland and NSW providing 29.4 per cent and brown coal in Victoria 10.4 per cent.
During the day, renewables accounted for more than 50 per cent of total demand between 8.35am to 3.45pm, reflecting a growing trend in the market, particularly in this time of the year. Spot wholesale electricity prices were below zero for most of the period.
The Australian Energy Market Operator believes that renewables will reach “instantaneous” levels of 100 per cent at various times of the day by 2025, and also predicts that rooftop solar alone could reach 100 per cent of demand in South Australia’s grid at times this spring, and three quarters of demand in the entire main grid within five years.