Remember just a few years ago when the then Abbott government tried to kill the renewable energy target, declaring that – horror of horrors – that Australia might over-achieve on renewable and end up with more than a 20 per cent share.
They are still complaining, along with some vested interests in the big business lobby groups. But despite their best attempts, it seems that Australia will end up with 33 per cent renewables by 2020, will likely get to 40 per cent by 2030, and has enough in the pipeline to reach 85 per cent.
These estimates were released by Green Energy Markets in their latest Renewable Energy Index, and analyst Tristan Edis points out that it means there is enough renewables being built to meet the targets of the proposed National Energy Guarantee, even before it is put in place.
“Even if contracting and construction commitments to solar farms and wind farms halted from today, ongoing installations of rooftop solar should see renewables share reaching 39% by 2030,” Edis says.
“Given a range of corporate procurement tenders are also underway it is now reasonably likely renewables will exceed 40% share by 2030.
“This substantially exceeds the emission reduction ambition within the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). Modelling for the Energy Security Board estimated the emission target would be achieved with 36% renewables’ share.”
Edis says that the expected level of 33.3 per cent in 2020 represents almost a doubling in renewables share compared to 2015, when it met 17.3 per cent of annual electricity consumption.
Queensland currently leads the country in terms of large scale installations, with more than 2GW under construction, followed by Victoria, which has around 1.75GW under construction.
The most populous state, NSW, has less than half the construction in terms of capacity of Victoria, not surprising given its lack of state-based support. Across the country, wind still outstrips solar by a ratio of around 3:2.
Just in the last month, renewables contributed 19.9 per cent of electricity in May, with about half coming fro hydro and biomass, and the other half coming from wind and large scale solar, as well as rooftop solar.