Renewable power generation’s share of the National Energy Market is showing a sudden and rapid rise in importance with renewables now playing a bigger role in Australia’s energy mix than ever before.
The federal government’s March 2023 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory showed that renewables accounted for 39 per cent of generation across the National Energy Market in the year to March 2023.
This was a massive 18.6 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
And the rise continues, with renewables share rising further to 40 per cent in the year to June 2023.
These numbers reflect increased policy certainty, according to the government, including the establishment of a 2030 target for 82 per cent renewable energy.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said that while the increase in renewables is positive, these results reinforced the need for stronger action on decarbonisation.
Bowen said: “The…government’s legislated emissions reduction target, Rewiring the Nation plan and Capacity Investment Scheme are driving cleaner, cheaper energy but we have much more to do.
“Our reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism, which only came into effect in July and aren’t included in this inventory update, will deliver over 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to 2030 – equivalent of taking two-thirds of the nation’s cars off the road.
“We are also working with industry, the climate movement, experts, unions and the community to develop sectoral decarbonisation plans, including for electricity and transport.”
Bowen said policies in place would decrease emissions by 43 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
In the year to March 2023, emissions from the electricity sector fell by 3.9 per cent, but transport increased by 6.4 per cent, bouncing back after lower numbers were seen due to Covid-19.
The increase in transport emissions follows global trends and is comparable to many developed economies around the world including the EU and New Zealand, according to the government.
Emissions are estimated at 465.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for the year to March 2023, compared to 465.5 million tonnes for the previous 12 months.
Australia’s emissions are now 24.4 per cent below June 2005 levels.
Image: Chris Bowen