Renewable rise reviewed
Australia’s first Renewable Energy Index report has been released, showing the growing role of clean power across the country.
The report, funded by GetUp, reveals that renewable energy sources in Australia are producing enough electricity to power 70 per cent of households.
“Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, are now beginning to emerge as a significant source of power,” Director of analysis and advisory Tristan Edis said.
The 2016-2017 Benchmark Report, funded by GetUp, shows hydro and wind power are the leading sources, with rooftop solar the third biggest contributor.
The amount of energy produced would be enough power to power 7.1 million homes – about 70 per cent of Australian households.
Renewable sources provide 17 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply.
“This is a serious amount of power,” Mr Edis said.
“Ten years ago renewables represented about 7 per cent of our electricity supply… last financial year it was 17 per cent.”
Projects currently under construction will add enough electricity to power another 1.5 million homes, or 90 per cent of household consumption.
The carbon reduction from clean energy use is equal to removing 8.1 million cars from the road.
Jobs are being created too, with 46 major renewable energy projects in the pipeline estimated to employ 8868 full-time people for one year.
Many of these jobs will be in NSW and Queensland.
Australia continues to embrace rooftop solar, with almost 150,000 small-scale rooftop solar systems installed in the year to June 2017, enough to power 226,000 homes.
“Back in 2008, generation from solar was little more than a rounding error,” Mr Edis said.
“These solar systems will also save consumers $1.6 billion off their electricity bills over the next 10 years.”
Mr Edis said large-scale solar should grow substantially too.
“The thing that’s concerning is that really, we’re in a boom right now but in 12 months time it looks like a bust,” he said.
The Renewable Energy Target, which wraps up in 2020, encouraged much of this growth.
Mr Edis said the Clean Energy Target recommended by the Finkel report would be key to continued growth.
“The renewable energy sector has staged a remarkable recovery, after investment completely dried-up under former prime minister Tony Abbott,” Mr Edis said.
“Investors have now recovered their confidence under Malcolm Turnbull, supported by a range of state government initiatives as well.
“However the current boom in renewable energy investment and jobs could soon turn to bust unless the Federal Government moves forward on Finkel’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target.”