Renewable energy contributed 5.9 terrawatt-hours more green electricity to Australia’s main grid in 2019 than it did in 2018, thanks to a massive 802MW increase in installed capacity over the course of the year.
The Australian Energy Market Operator says in its Quarterly Energy Dynamics report for the final quarter of a booming 2019 that grid-solar and wind contributed 3.2TWh and 2.6TWh respectively for the year.
During Q4, average grid-scale renewable energy generation reached 2,868MW, representing a 39 per cent increase on the same time last year, and accounting for 14 per cent of the NEM supply mix, compared to 10 per cent in Q4 2018.
The quarter also delivered the highest variable renewable energy output on record on the NEM, with 6,396MW recorded at 1330 hrs on November 12, and a new high for grid-scale renewables’ share of NEM operational demand, with big solar and wind meeting 32 per cent of NEM operational demand at 2pm on October 06.
Wind generation output for what is not normally a particularly windy time of year was up by 403MW for the quarter, a 25 per cent increase on Q4 2018.
The AEMO reports attributes this bigger-than-usual contribution from wind energy to projects that had been commissioned in the previous quarter and had begun ramping up to full output.
Victoria was a big part of this, chalking up the largest increase in wind energy generation on average (164 MW) with the Murra Warra, Yendon, and Crowlands wind farms accounting for 61 per cent of the increase in the state.
Solar was also impressive for the quarter, contributing an average of 825MW over the period – a new record and an almost doubling Q4 2018’s output.
AEMO puts this significant increase down to a combination of increased solar irradiation across all states, recently commissioned projects ramping up production, and new capacity additions in New South Wales
AEMO said record renewbles generation growth was expected to continue into 2020, with a large amount of new capacity currently being accredited likely to reach full generation by the middle of the year.