The State of Renewable Energy in Australia in 2017
Australia is a country with huge renewable energy resources, and luckily both companies and individuals are gladly using them to cut their costs and make their business and living more solvent. At the moment, the hydro energy is the most popular choice that takes around 42.3% of all renewable energy use. Behind it is the wind energy, which takes a little bit more than 30%, and the energy produced by the small scale solar PV, which amounts to 16% of all renewable energy produced in the country.
The 2016 report created by the Australian Clean Energy Council has also ranked the states by the percentage that the renewable energy takes within the overall energy consumption. Tasmania is by far the cleanest and the most self-sufficient state regarding energy. More than 92% of energy consumed in Tasmania is produced from the renewable energy resources. South Australia is second on the list with around 48%, while all other states are far behind these two.
Renewable energy boom
Like many other developed countries, Australia is currently experiencing a renewable energy boom. Last year, ten major renewable energy projects were finished. They were financed by the state, federal and private investors and they will produce more than 264 megawatts of energy and employ many Australians in the green sector. In addition to these projects, there were also 11 more projects that are probably already finished, but they were under construction when the Australian Clean Energy Council’s report was being printed.
Some of the biggest projects in the renewable energy sector in 2016 were:
- Moree Solar Farm in New South Wales – constructed by the Fotowatio Renewable Ventures;
- Barcaldine in Queensland – constructed by Elecnor;
- Mugga Lane Solar Farm in the Australian Capital Territory – constructed by Maoneng Australia;
More than 30 new projects are expected to be finished in 2017. They will create more than 3,000 jobs with an initial investment of $6.9 billion. These include:
- Hornsdale Stage 2 and 3 in South Australia – constructed by Neoen/Megawatt Capital;
- Ararat Wind Farm in Victoria – constructed by RES;
- White Rock Wind Farm Stage 1 in New South Wales – constructed by Goldwind Australia;
Renewable Energy Target
One of the most important factors for such a fast development of renewable energy sources across Australia is the nationwide Renewable Energy Target (RET) policy, whose purpose is to motivate both companies and individuals to invest money in renewable energy sources. This policy has created thousands of jobs in the energy sector, and it also provides small incentives for households that decide to shift to renewable energy sources and install solar panels or wind turbines. Although the price of the wind and solar energy has drastically dropped in the last couple of years, this industry in Australia is still highly profitable, and it employs thousands of people.
The nationwide Renewable Energy Target is also the basic framework for many other state and county policies across Australia. By following these policies, various federal, state and local institutions have invested large sums of money in RE projects. The estimate given by the Australian Clean Energy Council says that by 2020, commercial and state funding for large scale renewable energy projects will amount to $10 billion.
Apart from the large renewable energy projects, many individual land owners are deciding to start their own renewable energy business. They mainly choose to build smaller wind farms and solar panels on their land. Although these types of investment often require Australian business loans, they usually bring very large returns in the long run.
Apart from these small-time renewable energy entrepreneurs, many home owners decide to use the renewable energy they produce by themselves. Since Australia features many sunny days throughout the year, solar energy is the most popular option, followed by the wind and hydro energy sources.
As we can see from all that data presented in the Australian Clean Energy Council’s report, the country has a very practical approach towards the renewable energy issue, and if they continue to support commercial and individual energy producers, both production and consumption of renewable energy will continue to grow. Since Australia has huge natural resources, in the future, various companies will start to develop very lucrative business schemes that will involve the export of renewable energy to other smaller countries in South East Asia.