Victoria to meet 40% renewables target five years early

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Victoria expected to reach 40% renewables five years earlier than targeted, South Australia could tip 85% by 2030, while NSW will trail other states and have less than 20% renewables by 2020.

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The state of Victoria is likely to meet its 40 per cent renewable energy goal five years early – in 2020 rather than the targeted 2025 – according to the latest analysis from Green Energy Markets.

The latest Renewable Index Report from GEM says Australia sourced 20.2 per cent of its electricity from renewables in the month of June, and is on target for 33 per cent renewables by 2030, including rooftop solar – as it forecast last month.

This report looks at the individual states in detail. And apart from the faster-than-expected deployment in Victoria, it also confirms that South Australia is heading to 70 per cent renewables by 2020, and 85 per cent by 2030.

Victoria has a 25 per cent target by 2020 and a 40 per cent target by 2025. Both will be easily met, according to this data. And just calculating rooftop solar additions alone could go to 45 per cent by 2030 – any further large scale generation of course would increase that.

Queensland has awoken from its slumber and its share of renewables will likely jump from 7.4 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent by 2020, half way to its 2030 target of 50 per cent renewables.

New South Wales, on the other hand, which has no state target or ambition, is likely to trail other states and source less than 20 per cent of its electricity from renewables in 2020 – despite the immense resources of Snowy Hydro, and may only scrape to 26 per cent by 2030.

The report also notes that two new wind farms in Tasmania that are under construction would mean the island state could meet its needs entirely with renewable energy, but it could generate 20 per cent more renewable energy than it consumes if its development projects were to proceed to construction.

“Tasmania and South Australia are moving towards a position where they could generate more renewable energy than they could consume, even with greater energy storage,” the report says.

“Their future is as clean power exporters.”

The report was prepared by GEM for campaign group GetUp. Its campaigns director Miriam Lyons said the data highlighted how with strong targets and the right policies, Australia could have a clean and green future.

“The rapid ramp-up in investment in the past three years have shown the kind of growth possible with strong targets and supporting policy and demonstrates we can reach for far greater targets down the track.

“What the REI demonstrates is there’s a clear option here, we kill off renewables growth and pollute the planet with a do nothing NEG, or we develop a policy that sets strong targets and continues the renewables boom and delivers a cleaner and greener Australia.”

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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25 Comments
  1. IT67 5 months ago

    “Victoria is on track to almost 40% renewables by 2020 and 45% by 2030” ???

    If Victoria manages to hit just under 40% by 2020 then it’s surely going to manage to beat 45% by 2030 – probably by a long chalk! S-Curves are still in their early adopters stage – that applies to wind, solar and storage – and all of them are currently on course to keep up that momentum.

    Unless the lumps of Coal getting passed from Canberra start to hit the wind turbines and solar panels of course 😛

    • Giles 5 months ago

      Well spotted. I should have said that the 2030 forecast for victoria includes additional rooftop solar only. Have now added that in.

      • IT67 5 months ago

        Thanks Giles, was trying to figure out the maths in my waaay too logical head – it didn’t work 😀

        Edit: Reads a whole lot better and a lot more optimistic – in a far shorter timescale.

        Makes the AEMO / ESB forecasts look silly (which they are…..) 😛

  2. The_Lorax 5 months ago

    Wonderful. Will either state actually reduce their emissions, or will be swamped by population growth, transport emissions, fugitive emissions etc? Because the point is to reduce emissions, not meet renewables goals.

    • Hettie 5 months ago

      Erm, the way to reduce emissions is to increase RE as the path to phasing out fossil fuels.
      When RE targets are expressed as a percentage of total generation, the increase in population is factored in. An increase in total generation increases the absolute RE target.
      The transition to EVs will deal with transport emissions, and banning CSG will stop fugitive emissions.
      Remember, a concrete target for RE is automatically a means to reduce emissions. An abstract emissions reduction target is much less likely to be realised.

      • The_Lorax 5 months ago

        There are lots of ways to reduce emissions that don’t involve increasing renewables. Improved efficiency for one, stabilisation population for another. Increasing the renewables share is no guarantee that total emissions will fall. Australia has been increasing it’s renewables share for many years now but our total emissions are rising. The UK has hard legally-enforceable 5 yearly carbon budgets and they are absolutely smashing it on carbon reductions in recent years. It’s the most effective policy model in the world at the moment.

        • Hettie 5 months ago

          The UK doesn’t have Tony Abbott and his right wing nut jobs to contend with.

          • The_Lorax 5 months ago

            They have plenty of nutrients jobs over there. Again, the point of any climate policy should be to reduce emissions. Not set targets for one technology or the other. Just reduce emissions. Mark Butler is proposing something very similar to the UK carbon budget approach.

  3. PLDD 5 months ago

    I wonder how much of this is simple economics. Victoria has half as much coal as NSW. Thus it makes a lot more sense in Vic to replace expensive gas with cheaper RE whilst in NSW the old black coal is cheaper and thus less of a business case to replace.

    • Joe 5 months ago

      And in NSW we have ‘Our Glad’ sitting in the Big Chair and she is on record as saying she ain’t in a hurry to have RE replace the little black wonder rock.

  4. Treble Sketch 5 months ago

    If South Australia really do have that much in the pipeline, I guess the State Liberal’s idea to install the Interconnector in the future to NSW isn’t such a bad idea after all.

    That is, if they don’t discourage RE during their term 😐

    • Peter F 5 months ago

      It will be cheaper for them to install more storage than build a major new transmission line

      • Treble Sketch 5 months ago

        Yeah, I would agree with this. But as South Australia’s ability to export power grows, we will need to accommodate that.

        • Hettie 5 months ago

          Indeed. If price were the only criterion for capital expenditure, we would all be riding bicycles instead of driving cars.
          Although, of course, storage and transmission are two very different beasts, and both are needed for a stable NEM.

  5. charles frogg 5 months ago

    Victoria by most days figures now of wind production will be able to shut down their dirty brown coal fired power stations in a few months time. Take today for instance coal fired power in Victoria only accounts for 4500MW and wind and solar producing the largest amount of power at 250MW. With a lot of Victoria’s power production being sent to South Australia to keep the lights on their it certainly wont be long before coal fired power disappears all together saving Victorians from hot water and electric stoves.

    • GlennM 5 months ago

      huh ?
      your post makes no sense please check and repost

      • charles frogg 5 months ago

        Makes total sense for the lack of maths and common sense shown on this forum

        • GlennM 5 months ago

          Oh I see…this is an attempt at irony or humour…I do hope that comedian is not your day job

    • Hettie 5 months ago

      Ribit, ribit, Ribit.
      Now do you understand?

    • Peter F 5 months ago

      No that’s not what the post is saying. It is saying Victoria will still get 60% of its power from Brown Coal and gas vs about 90% a few years ago. It is unclear whether brown coal or gas will suffer the most, both have fallen from their peaks. Because brown coal is cheaper and now more reliable than NSW black coal, it is likely that Victorian coal generation won’t fall significantly because Victoria will increase exports to NSW to past levels as Victoria has more renewables generation.
      The confirmed wind and solar plants + continuing rooftop solar will generate an additional 10 TWh/y of power in Victoria by 2020. Demand is not growing, SA is also increasing its renewable generation by about 4.8 TWh and Tasmania by 1.2 TWh, so the SE corner of the country which consumes 56 TWh per year will displace 16 TWh of FF generation by June 2020 if not a single new wind or solar plant is financed. Between them the states only generate about 35 TWh from fossil fuels.
      16 out of 35 is a pretty damaging reduction so Victorian brown coal plants and SA CC gas plants will be agitating for more interconnectors so they can export more power to NSW. Similar pressure will come from wind solar and higher efficiency coal plants in Queensland as will the slow build of solar and wind in NSW. In effect NSW coal will still be under threat from all sides even if NSW renewables installations are below where they should be

      • charles frogg 5 months ago

        Sorry for the uncarity of my thought bubble but lookin at the graph’s of power usage and production I would have to say that once Queensland joins the cheap abundant renewable energy bandwagon and closes down just a couple of it’s coal fired power stations it will be cold showers and cooking over the bar b Q for most of the east coast. And then cold showers will be only available to those homes who can store their own water and pump it to. Ah the intelligence of the human race and it’s endless quest for perfection is only over shadowed by it’s never ending ability to produce half wit crusaders who always bring humanity to it’s knees.

        • Rod 5 months ago

          Cold showers in QLD? They don’t even need to heat water for showers.
          Do you ever stop to think before typing?
          Solar thermal hot water systems need very little power for most of the year anywhere other than Tassie and they have lots of green energy.
          A heat pump hot water system uses about 2kW/day and can be run during solar hours.
          Here in SA, SA Water are installing lots of RE so I’m pretty sure our water supplies are assured.
          I agree, intelligence is lacking in at least 48% of Australians. I’m guessing you are one of them.

  6. Peter F 5 months ago

    I hate to sound like a broken record but if Victoria is at 20% now, it will be close to 45% by 2020/21 without Golden Plains or Star of the South.
    Up to that point brown coal is not really really threatened, it can export the surplus but if SA installs much storage and Tasmania becomes more or less self sufficient which it will be close to with the completion of current renewables projects, then brown coal will start to have to reduce output. That is not so easy with brown coal so one could expect to see some units offline for 3 months at a time in Spring and Autumn and gas providing the swing generation.
    If any of the proposed but unfinanced mega-projects go ahead then the only way to keep coal plants viable will be to build storage so they can keep their load relatively steady

  7. Jolly Roger 5 months ago

    Honestly it is a bit frustrating reading these articles Giles when there are other articles on this site saying the NEG will bring renewables to a halt in Australia. If the NEG stops investment how will these targets be exceeded ?

    • Giles 5 months ago

      may be because there is more than one opinion. It underlines the point that the NEG not taking into account what happening out in real world, so in itself will not cause any new investment.

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