Renewable Energy Index Australia: 2018 will Go Down as the Year Fossil Fuels Began their Inexorable Decline

Green Energy Markets produces the monthly Renewable Energy Index to assist the Australian community in understanding the role and contribution of renewable energies

Image: WikimediaImage: Wikimedia

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

Last year, renewable energy broke through the 20% market share threshold for the first time since the 1970’s. It achieved a share of 21.3% across the combination of Australia’s main east and west-coast grids. This was significantly up on its share of 17% in 2017. Renewable energy’s growth was concentrated in Australia’s east coast grid, with limited growth in renewable generation in Western Australia, in spite of the state’s rich renewable resources.

Within the east coast National Electricity Market (NEM) both coal and gas generation fell in absolute terms in 2018 relative to the prior year. Gas suffered a particularly big fall, dropping by 26% on the prior year. Wind and solar by contrast experienced substantial growth. Wind generation was up in the NEM by 26%, while solar was up by 35%. Hydro generation was also up substantially by 29%, however this represents more of a cyclical short-term phenomenon.

Wind had a 26% jump in generation this year after a almost no growth in 2017. Rooftop solar has had more steady additions of generation, but 2018 was exceptional with the incremental new generation 86% greater than the average annual additions of 2015-2017.

Yet it was large scale solar farms that really jumped out of the blocks in 2018 with generation leaping up by almost 300% on the prior year. It passed the 1,000GWh mark over 2018, but with a far bigger impact to be seen this year and next as thousands of megawatts under construction come online.

Green Energy Markets
Press Office
Green Energy Markets, Australia, 2018, renewables, wind, solar, growth, gas, coal, decline, grid

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