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Renewables 33% share of Australia’s National Electricity Market by 2020

Renewable energy is on track to supply more than a third of the  power in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) by 2020 thanks to a combination of large-scale renewable projects and Australia’s booming rooftop solar industry.

New analysis also reveals that with higher emissions reduction targets,renewable energy  could account for up to 85% of the National Electricity Market’s consumption by 2030.

The projections come from this month’s Renewable Energy Index, compiled by Green Energy Markets.

The REI reveals that solar and wind farms contracted or being built, combined with steady rooftop solar investment will contribute 33.3% of power to the National Energy Market by 2020. This almost doubles the 2015 rate when renewables contributed just 17.3% of annual electricity consumption.

Even if contracting and construction commitments to solar farms and wind farms halted from today, ongoing installations of rooftop solar would still see the renewables share reaching 39% by 2030. This compares to around 36% under the Turnbull Government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

In other words, Australia would only hit targets as low as the National Energy Guarantee if large-scale renewables collapse for a decade, and the growth of rooftop solar slows significantly.   

GetUp Campaigns Director Miriam Lyons said with political leadership and vision, Australia could be a global leader in renewable energy and do its bit to meet Paris Climate Agreement commitments.

“The rapid ramp-up in investment in the past few years means we’re already on track to achieve massive increases in renewable energy and it demonstrates we can reach far stronger targets down the track.

“The biggest obstacle now is the Turnbull Government and its grossly inadequate National Energy Guarantee. The only thing the NEG will guarantee is more coal pollution and less renewables.

“To hit targets as low as Malcolm Turnbull’s, the coal brigade would need to police the streets to stop people putting up solar panels.

“With a little leadership we could provide 85% of the National Electricity Market’s electricity from renewables by 2030 just by unleashing the untapped potential of renewable energy projects already in the pipeline.

“Australians are worried about the effects of climate change that are already affecting us. Families are worried about heat waves putting their elderly relatives at risk. People want their kids to be able to see the Great Barrier Reef. That’s why 84% of Australians support renewables over coal.”

Key statistics for May
  • In May renewables made up 19.9% of the electricity generated in Australia’s main grids
  • Enough renewable energy was produced in May to power 9 million homes
  • Large-scale renewables created work for 19,743 people
  • Rooftop solar employed 6,280 people
  • Rooftop solar installed in May will deliver $233 million in bill savings

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