Image: Clean Energy Regulator.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
A RECORD investment year for renewable energy in 2017 has Australia well-placed to meet its Renewable Energy Target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.
The target, originally set in 2008 and amended in 2015, requires Australia to have 33,000 gigawatts hours (GwH) of capacity by 2020; meaning an additional 6000 megawatts of capacity has to be added to the national energy mix between 2016 and 2019.
CER chair David Parker said the country has reached a level that he believes will be sufficient to meet the target, with 4924 megawatts (MW) of the 6532MW of new generation announced since 2016, fully financed and either under construction or already operating.
The remaining 1600 megawatts of projects have a power purchase agreement in place which the CER expects will progress to financial close.
“In 2017, more than 1000 megawatts of renewable projects were completed and began generation, the biggest year ever for new build coming online,” Mr Parker said.
“We expect 2018 and 2019 to be even bigger, with each year having more than double the new build completed compared to 2017.
“There is still a long way to go on the journey to reach the 2020 target, but we believe it will be met due to the hard work and tenacity of the electricity sector, the renewables industry and those that have financed these projects.”
Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg said construction of the “firmly announced projects” would lead to an investment of more than $12 billion.
“QLD has the largest share of this new build with more than 2000 megawatts of capacity, followed by Victoria with around 1600 megawatts and NSW with 1400 megawatts,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“One of the major shifts in the market, is the huge increase in share of large-scale solar.
“In the first 6000 megawatts committed under the scheme, solar contributed only four per cent of the total.
“In the firmly announced projects since 2016, solar now makes up 46 per cent.”