Renewables key to Australia’s energy future

New research shows that ongoing investment in renewable energy generation by companies and households continues to reduce Australia’s electricity sector emissions, even without adequate national climate and energy policy.

The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program has released the latest National Energy Emissions Audit for the electricity sector, analysing the electricity sector over the previous month.

Key findings:

  • Australia’s electricity sector emissions are down 21% since 2008 due to growth of renewables and declining demand.
  • Victoria is on track to meet its interim renewables target of 25% by 2020 — currently at 21%, up nearly 4% in 12 months.
  • Wind generation has overtaken hydro generation for the first time.
  • South Australia leads the country, with 50% renewables and also leads with 8.7% from rooftop solar.

“The latest National Energy Emissions Audit shows that investors and households are pushing Australia’s energy market in the right direction despite years of climate and energy policy paralysis,” says Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

“Renewable energy growth in Australia over the past twelve months has reduced electricity sector emissions, which are now 21% below 2008 levels, even lower than during the carbon price period.

“Earlier this year Victoria hit a milestone of over 20% renewable energy, which is a big achievement for a state that accounts for about one quarter of the economy, workforce and population of Australia.

“Following the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria, the state is on track to meet its interim 2020 target of 25% renewables.

“Climate change is not going away and, while it is positive to see that the energy sector is witnessing a move in the right direction, Australia needs strong climate and energy policies if it is to meet its Paris obligations and stop pouring fuel onto the fire.”

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