July 6, 2018 Read More →

Renewables near 19 percent of Australian electricity generation

Australian Financial Review:

Renewable energy generated nearly 19 percent of national grid power in the year to June 30 and is on track to meet the Turnbull government’s emissions target without the National Energy Guarantee, a new report says.

New wind and solar generation being built or committed under the existing federal Renewable Energy Target and just one other policy—the Victorian Renewable Energy Target—would be sufficient to achieve the government’s 2030 target of a 26 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2023-24, the report published by The Australia Institute says.

Under those policies, the share of total grid generation taken by wind, solar, hydro and biomass would be about 29 percent of total National Electricity Market generation. Adding rooftop solar would lift the renewables share to just above 35 percent.

Renewables hit a record 18.8 percent of NEM energy including rooftop solar in the year just completed, or 15.7 percent without rooftop solar.

The surge of wind and solar energy into the grid would likely force EnergyAustralia’s 1480 megawatt Yallourn brown coal power station, the most carbon dioxide intensive plant in the NEM, which is due to close by 2032, out of service by around the mid-2020s, the report’s author, energy expert Hugh Saddler, said.

Dr. Saddler said the NEG’s negligible incremental impact on emissions showed that a more ambitious target was “absolutely” needed because it would be the lowest-cost way to reduce emissions nationally and avoid imposing more onerous emissions reductions on sectors such as transport, agriculture and industry that don’t have the easy abatement options of the electricity sector.

More: Renewables nearly 19 percent of the grid, set to overtake NEG

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