During 2018 and 2019 Australia is likely to install about 10,400 Megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy, comprising 7,200 MW of large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and windfarms together with 3,200 MW of small-scale rooftop PV systems. Combined, this represents 30% of Australia’s peak electricity demand.
The Australian renewable energy industry is convincingly demonstrating its capacity to install large amounts of wind and PV systems. If industry is able to continue to deploy wind and PV at the current rate into 2020 and beyond then Australia will:
comfortably exceed the 2020 large scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) of 33,000 GWh
be capable of supplying up to 29% renewable electricity in 2020, 50% in 2025 and 100% in the early 2030s
achieve 26% emissions reductions in the electricity sector by 2020/21
meet its entire 26% Paris emission reduction target for the whole economy in 2024/25
The current deployment rate could well continue. Prices of wind and PV are falling rapidly, potentially opening new markets and placing downwards pressure on electricity prices. Opportunities are broadening beyond the wholesale market as companies recognise the economic and environmental credential benefits of renewable energy.
Developments in PV and wind both globally and within Australia are happening far faster than public discourse suggests. It is therefore highly desirable that national energy planning has a real-world view of the facts on the ground in order to prepare for this rapid change.