Yet another record has been set for renewables this week, with rooftop solar, large-scale solar and wind, and a little bit of hydro combining to supply just under 53% of demand on the national grid at midday on Friday.
According to the Open NEM website, the renewables share of the National Electricity Market reached a new high of 52.9% at 12pm, the vast majority of which – 30.1% – came from the nation’s rooftops.
Large-scale solar and wind contributed 10% and 11.1%, respectively, and hydro added a modest 1.6%.
This pushed the coal power contribution down to its own new record low of 45.2%. Gas, as the Open NEM charts reveal, contributed a minuscule amount to the mix at midday, at just over 1.8 per cent.
That last bit of data didn’t distract federal energy minister Angus Taylor from his Gas is Great crusade, however, with his department releasing a statement touting a 2 per cent rise in gas consumption in… 2018-19.
Citing the “new” and yet year-old 2020 Australian Energy Statistics data, Taylor noted on Friday that natural gas had provided 26 per cent of Australia’s energy mix in 2018-19, and 20 per cent of total electricity generation.
“As Australia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable and affordable gas is more important now than ever to keep the lights on and businesses open,” he said.
“That’s why the Government is backing gas to deliver a secure, reliable and affordable electricity system to power our homes, businesses and industries while creating jobs and driving economic growth.
“The data also shows the importance of energy generation from coal. Coal will continue to play an important role for many years to come in our energy sector.”
Perhaps the minister missed the data from just last month, which – as Simon Holmes à Court noted on Thursday – revealed gas to be “the biggest loser” in the share of total NEM generation, “falling a whopping 18.7% to less than 5 per cent” over the course of September, and to just 8.6 per cent over the past 12 months. Let’s hope the minister catches up with latest data.