The share of renewable energy broke new records for the third consecutive day on Saturday, with wind and solar providing more than 50 per cent of the demand on Australia’s main grid for the first time, and for extended periods.
The strong wind and fine solar conditions across much of the eastern states – along with relatively low demand due to mild weather and the start of the holiday weekend in some states – has contributed to the record breaking streak.
On Saturday, in the late morning, the share of renewables reached 54.5 per cent, nearly two percent above the record set a day earlier. What was even more striking was the share of wind and solar, which broke above 50 per cent for the first time on Friday, and then did so more emphatically on Saturday, breaking through 50 per cent around 9.15am and staying above 50 per cent until around 1.30pm.
The wind and solar output got to a high of about 52.3 per cent, with slightly more than half of this coming from rooftop solar. The percentage of wind and solar might have been higher, but some wind and solar farms switched off to avoid the negative pricing events which were recorded i n most states at some point in the day.
The federal government attacked Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, describing it as reckless and economy destroying, even though it now concedes that is where the grid is heading, even without a coherent energy policy.
Some analysts say the share will go well beyond that by 2030. South Australia’s Liberal government has a target of net 100 per cent renewables by 2030, and reached 73 per cent renewables in the month of September.
Labor has since abandoned its state emissions reduction target and renewable energy targets for fear that the Coalition and conservative commentators will say something nasty about them.
(Note: This story is updated to reflect fact that wind and solar reached 50% of demand on Friday, although only for a short period).