Institutions

Rooftop solar trumps all fossil fuels as renewables smash more records on main grid

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The share of renewable energy in Australia”s main grid soared to a new record of 68.7 per cent on Friday, easily beating the previous record of 64.1 per cent set on September 18.

The Australian Energy Market Operator says the new “instantaneous” renewable generation record was set 12:30pm, and was a 4.6% increase from the previous milestone set just a month earlier.

It also appears to be a new record for variable renewable energy – wind and solar – with an instantaneous share of 64 per cent, according to the table below.

On top of that, rooftop solar was producing more than all fossil fuelled generation combined, showing the power of household and business consumers. And it is also remarkable that this occurred during a weekday, as such records usually occur on weekends when there is lower demand.

The AEMO data is based on 30-minute trading period, but on a 5-minute period (within that same 30-minute period), a new peak was set at 69.61 per cent at 12.15pm (AEEDT) on Friday, according to data cruncher GPE NemLog2.That was well up from the 65 per cent share set earlier this month.

That pushed the share of coal down to a record low of 29 per cent, also well below the previous minimum of 34 per cent set in September.

At the same time, the output of wind and solar reached a peak of 18,100MW, also well ahead of the previous peak of 16,331MW set o October 15.

The new benchmarks continues a record-breaking spring for renewables in the main grid, reflecting the continuing growth of large scale wind and solar developments, and the popularity of rooftop solar.

At the time of the new benchmark on Friday coal provided just 30 per cent of generation on the main grid, and gas just 1 per cent. Five years ago, the maximum instantaneous penetration of renewables stood at 30 per cent, but it is expected to reach 100 per cent within the next three years.

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of the EV-focused The Driven. He is the co-host of the weekly Energy Insiders Podcast. Giles has been a journalist for more than 40 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review. You can find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

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