By any measure, 2018 was a remarkable year for the Australian clean energy industry.
Investment in large-scale renewable energy projects was double that of the record-breaking 2017, increasing from $10 billion in 2017 to $20 billion in 2018. By year’s end, 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of new generation was under construction or financially committed – equivalent to more than four times the energy output of the Liddell Power Station.
New large-scale wind and solar projects are being built more efficiently than ever before, and renewable energy continues to be the lowest-cost type of new energy generation that can be built, attracting local and international capital. Incentives provided by the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) and other state policies propelled investment in 2018.
In January, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) confirmed that the large-scale Renewable Energy Target of 33,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2020 would be met1 – a significant milestone for the industry. With 87 large-scale renewable energy projects under construction or financially committed at the end of 2018, it is clear the sector will meet the RET well ahead of schedule.
Electricity generated by renewables increased to 21 per cent of total power generation in 2018 to reach its highest ever level. Clean energy now powers the equivalent of more than 10 million Australian homes, which is more than all the households currently in Australia
With high electricity prices never far from the headlines, Australian households and businesses continued to embrace rooftop solar in record numbers to help manage costs in 2018. By December, the CER confirmed that a whopping 2 million households – one in five – now host rooftop solar. On average, six solar panels were being installed per minute in Australia in 2018, with the commercial sector growing by 45 per cent and the residential sector just a whisker behind, with a 43 per cent rise.