Renewable Energy Index - March 2018

18 Apr 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.

March 2018

The capacity of large-scale renewable energy projects under construction and to be delivered by contracting initiatives underway already exceeds what is required to achieve the government’s 2030 National Energy Guarantee emission targets

● According to economic modelling undertaken by Frontier Economics for the Energy Security Board, from 2017 onwards we’d need to install 9,271 megawatts of wind and solar in the NEM to achieve the government’s 2030 emission reduction target.

● Yet we already have 9,691 megawatts of projects that will be delivered in the NEM based on what has been committed to construction and what is being contracted under procurement processes currently underway.

● This suggests that the National Energy Guarantee will deliver no meaningful emission reduction benefit unless the emissions target is further tightened.

Furthermore, March rooftop solar installs were the highest monthly total ever, and installs over the first 3 months of 2018 are running at levels 50% above those anticipated in economic modelling of the National Energy Guarantee.

● Households and businesses are continuing to install solar PV on rooftops at record rates in order to reduce their electricity bills. March installs set a new monthly record of 127 megawatts which will produce power equivalent to the consumption of 36,710 homes.

● Capacity installed in the first quarter of this year is 56% higher than the same time last year, which was a record-breaking year for capacity.

● The rate of rooftop installs so far this year is about 50% higher than what had been assumed in the economic modelling of the National Energy Guarantee. On top of the underestimates of large scale renewables, it suggests that the emission reduction target could be substantially strengthened at minimal economic cost.

The amount of renewable energy to be generated in 2020 is now set to exceed the original 41,000GWh renewable energy target that was in place before cuts made under the Abbott-led Government.

● Over 2014 to 2015 the Abbott-led Government sought and legislated substantial cuts to the large-scale Renewable Energy Target on the basis we had too much electricity generating capacity and the 41,000GWh target was too difficult to achieve.

● In spite of investment collapsing over that period, the industry has staged a dramatic recovery since 2016 and Australia now appears set to build enough new projects to generate more than 41,000GWh in 2020.

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