Renewables provide 20 per cent of power for first time

These are boom times for investment in renewable energy with more than 2.3 GW of new renewable energy capacity entering the market in 2018, according to the Clean Energy Council.

The council’s Clean Energy Report found 38 large scale wind and solar projects were completed in the year.

Household rooftop solar also experienced its’ best ever year, with 1.55 GW of new capacity added over 2018.

The report said: “In 2018, the percentage of renewable energy passed 20 per cent for the first time, with clean energy contributing 21.3 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation.

“This was a significant increase compared to 2017, when renewables were responsible for 17 per cent of…generation.”

Hydro generation was the biggest contributor, accounting for 7.5 per cent of Australia’s total national electricity generated in 2018, followed by wind with 7.1 per cent.

And the renewables good times seem set to continue – 14.8 GW of new renewables generation is under construction or financially committed, representing $24.5 billion in investment

Tasmania was the leading state, with renewables accounting for 96 per cent of power.

But South Australia was the stand out on the mainland with 53 per cent of power coming from renewables.

The sector did suffer one blow in the new year – plans by SolarReserve to build the world’s biggest solar tower and molten salt storage plant near Port Augusta collapsed when the company could not secure finance.

The $750 million project was similar to one built in Nevada, and had attracted $110 million in government support.

The largest solar tower and molten salt storage plant is at Port Augusta where Sundrop Farms uses it to desalinate water and heat massive greenhouses which produce more than 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year.

Picture: Sundrop Farms

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