Lack of Government Backing Stifles Australia’s Renewables Transition

As states compete for top-place in renewable energy generation and upgrades to the National Electricity Market (NEM) reach growth rates comparable to the development of Australia’s original electricity grids, Australia’s transition to renewables needs more planning and support from Governments.

The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program has released the latest National Energy Emissions Audit, analysing the electricity sector over the previous month. The Audit is authored by renowned energy expert, Dr Hugh Saddler.

Key findings:

  • New South Wales annual output from grid scale wind and solar generators doubled over the past fourteen months.
  • Upgrades in the Australian electricity supply system (as it transitions from coal fired generation to wind and solar) are comparable to the rates of growth of the whole electricity supply system during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • A lower supply of brown coal generators in Victoria caused by breakdowns, and from a decrease in both Snowy hydro and the Tasmanian hydro system caused by low rainfall throughout eastern Australia.

“Renewables continue to surge on the eastern seaboard and New South Wales will soon overtake South Australia as the largest generator of wind and solar energy,” says Dr Hugh Saddler, author of the report.

“NSW maintains its steady growth in renewable generation and is competing with Victoria to take the mantle for highest wind and solar generation in the country.

“With NSW renewables growing at this pace, renewables could fill most of the generation gap left by Liddell’s closure in 2022.

“Queensland retains its moniker as the Sunshine State with the: largest solar generation output; largest share of solar rooftops; and most solar jobs.

“The sheer size scope of the renewable transition already taking place across the NEM is comparable to the development of Australia’s original electricity grids — new electricity generation from 1953 to 1960 is proportionate in size to new wind and solar generation from 2011 to 2019. 

“The federal government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to planning and supporting the major transition from coal fired power to renewables on the NEM, which is as large and as transformative as the original nation-building electricity grids in the 50s and 60s.”

The National Energy Emissions Audit by Dr Hugh Saddler, can be found here.

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