Australia Sets New Renewables Records In 2020

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Australia strengthened its position as a renewable energy powerhouse in 2020.

The Clean Energy Regulator estimates that a record 7.0 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable capacity was installed last year. 

This is 11 per cent higher than the previous record set in 2019 (6.3 GW) and more than the entire renewable capacity installed under the previous Labor government (5.6 GW, December 2007 to September 2013).

A solar installation boom drove the new record, despite COVID-19 restrictions impacting rooftop solar installation rates for part of the year.

Already, one in four Australian homes have solar – the highest uptake of household solar in the world. 

“This is helping to reduce household energy bills and reduce emissions,” Minister Taylor said. 

Over the last quarter of 2020, the share of renewables in the National Electricity Market exceeded 30 per cent, another first.

In 2020, a record 53.6 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity was generated from renewables (including rooftop solar) in the National Electricity Market. This is 16 per cent higher than the previous record set in 2019.

Strong investment in renewables is forecast to continue. Australia is projected to deploy an additional 24GW of rooftop solar by 2030, tripling the nation’s small-scale solar generating capacity over the decade.

In 2019, Australia deployed new renewable capacity at least 10 times faster per person than the global average and four times faster per person than China, Europe or the United States.

In 2020, Australia invested $7.7 billion or $299 per person in renewable energy. This places us ahead of countries like Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States on a per person basis.

Australia now has the highest solar capacity per person of any country in the world (644 watts per person) and the highest wind and solar capacity of any country outside of Europe (804 watts per person). 

As record levels of renewable energy come online, the Government continues to ensure Australia’s energy system remains reliable and affordable. This includes prioritising work on a new fit-for-purpose market design and delivering flexible backup generation and storage needed to balance and complement very high levels of intermittent renewables. 

This includes:

  • Delivering a 2,000 MW pumped hydro expansion to Snowy Hydro scheme;
  • Supporting the development of Marinus Link, the second interconnector needed to turn Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation vision into reality, and all other major priority transmission projects identified in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan;
  • Establishing the Underwriting New Generation Investments program to support new firm generation capacity and increased competition; and
  • Establishing a $1 billion Grid Reliability fund to be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

In 2021 and beyond, the Morrison Government will continue to take action to enable Australia’s strong growth in renewable energy while maintaining a reliable and affordable energy system. 

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