Wind and solar set new generation records across Australia grid in July

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A record July for wind power has helped the combined output of “new renewables” – wind and solar – to reach a new peak for the month.

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Wind generation set new records across Australia’s main grid in July, helping the combined output of “new renewables” – that is wind and solar – to also reach a new peak for the month.

The milestone was noted in The Australia Institute’s monthly National Energy Emissions Audit, published on Tuesday, which shows that average monthly wind generation set new record levels in both Victoria and NSW in July.

And across the entire National Electricity Market, wind power set a new peak output benchmark of 4,586MW at 9pm on July 14, when it was supplying 18 per cent of total generation.

The record wind levels also helped “new” renewable generation – that is, excluding the “traditional” renewables of hydro and biomass – achieve a record monthly share of NEM generation (Figure 8), even in a month that is typically poor for solar.

“(A) rise in renewables can be seen across Australia,” said Hugh Saddler, the author of the TAI report that also highlights the world-leading example that is being set by South Australia, on how to move ‘beyond baseload.’

“Our Audit shows that wind supplied a record 18 per cent of total NEM generation on 14 July, the equivalent output of over two Liddell power stations,” Saddler said, referring to the ageing coal clunker that is now due exit the market in April 2023, after intense pressure from the federal Coalition to keep it open passed its use-by date.

“Australia can quickly and affordably transition to renewables and storage, as demonstrated by South Australia, but investigations into so-called baseload energy, like nuclear, are a complete distraction by government.”

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