Renewable Energy Index - February 2018

27 Mar 2018

To assist the Australian community in understanding the role and contribution of renewable energy to meeting our energy needs while also providing an important source of employment and reducing pollution, Green Energy Markets produces the monthly Renewable Energy Index.

The index tracks the contribution of the renewable energy sector broken down by fuel type and state on a series of metrics that are intended to translate abstract concepts such as megawatts and tonnes of CO2 into concepts the community can understand and appreciate such as number of households powered, and number of cars’ pollution avoided.

February 2018

Over summer renewable energy generated more power than brown coal, gas or oil

  • Over summer renewables supplied more power than brown coal, gas or oil-fuelled generators and was second only to black coal across Australia’s main east and west-coast grids. The 9,880 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from renewables during the summer months (with 3,743GWh coming in February) exceeded that from brown coal by 8%, and gas by 40%. Summer generation from oil fuels such as diesel was negligible at 42GWh.
  • Renewables delivered power when it was needed most this summer
  • Renewables delivered substantial amounts of power when demand for electricity was at its highest.  In the National Electricity Market, renewables delivered an average of 5,610 megawatts over summer during the 11am to 7pm (NEM Time) peak demand period. This was 32% greater than that from brown coal and 78% higher than gas.

Over working hours solar produced substantially more power this summer than that lost from Hazelwood’s closure

  • Pivotal to renewable energy’s contribution to peak demand has been the large growth in solar PV in Australia in recent years.  From 9am until 5pm solar’s average output in the NEM exceeded the maximum output of Hazelwood over the prior summer by between 48% (at 4-5pm) up to 162% (at 12pm-1pm).  
  • Large-scale projects in construction now exceed 5000MW supporting 17,445 jobs
  • Furthermore the generation from renewables can be expected to increase substantially over the next two years, with the amount of large-scale capacity under construction passing the 5000 megawatts mark in February. The 5,056 MW under construction are estimated to support 17,445 job years worth of construction employment.

Rooftop solar installs in February close to an all-time monthly record

  • Rooftop solar PV continues to enjoy high levels of capacity installations by historical standards with February’s 117 megawatts and 17,252 of installed systems for the month closely in line with November’s all-time record.  These systems supported 5,674 full-time jobs in installation and can be expected to deliver $208m in electricity bill savings over the next ten years, while producing an amount of power equal to the electricity consumption of 33,826 households.

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