Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said 2014 was one of the toughest years for the renewable energy sector for more than a decade. But with a bipartisan deal on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) now agreed between the major parties and legislation being debated in Parliament, the future for the sector was looking much brighter.
“The review of the RET stalled investment in large-scale renewable energy such as wind and solar power in 2014, with investment falling by 88 per cent,” Mr Thornton said.
“Rooftop solar power continued to grow, and the commercial solar sector saw the strongest growth of any form of renewable energy in 2014, as it was less affected by the RET review,” he said.
“More than 15,000 businesses have now installed a solar power system, helping them save a collective $64 million on their power bills every years. Some major brands also saw the potential of solar power, with Mars Confectionery and IKEA both making major investments in the technology.
“A dry year for rainfall in hydro catchments meant the amount of power generated by renewable energy in 2014 actually went backwards, from 14.76 per cent of Australia’s total power in 2013 down to 13.47 per cent in 2014.
“The good news is that a deal on the RET has been agreed between the major parties and was supported by some of the country’s most influential business peak bodies and energy user groups. Once this deal is legislated, it will help return investment to the sector and build a lot more major renewable energy projects.”
The Clean Energy Australia Report 2014, produced by The Clean Energy Council, is a summary of all the major renewable trends from the previous year.
The analysis on clean energy generation is some of the most comprehensive available, going beyond the National Electricity Market and taking into account all off-grid generation, as well as regional electricity grids in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Mr Thornton said Bundaberg in Queensland was Australia’s solar capital at the end of 2014, closely followed by Mandurah in Western Australia and Hervey Bay, just over 100 km from Bundaberg.
“In large-scale renewable energy, three new wind farms completed construction during 2014, along with the Royalla Solar Farm, which was built with the help of the ACT Government,” he said.
The key findings of the Clean Energy Australia Report 2014 are:
- 13.47 per cent of Australia’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2014, enough to power 4.5 million average homes for a year. This was a fall from 14.76 per cent the year before, mainly due to lower rainfall in hydro catchment areas.
- Last year 16,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of new large-scale renewable energy generation was produced under the RET, taking us around half way toward the revised 33,000 GWh target for large-scale renewable energy generation such as solar and wind farms.
- Just over 187,000 solar power systems were installed on homes and small businesses during 2014, a drop of 8.5 per cent on the year before. This took the total installed solar power systems to 1.4 million, along with more than 900,000 solar hot water systems.
- Hydro (6.2 per cent of Australia’s total power generation) still produced the most clean energy of any source, while wind power (4.2 per cent) and solar power (2.1 per cent) continued to grow.
- Bundaberg in Queensland was Australia’s solar capital in 2014, followed by Mandurah in Western Australia and Hervey Bay, which is just over 100 km from Bundaberg.
- Approximately 40 per cent of South Australia’s power came from renewable energy during 2014, while about 95 per cent of the electricity used by Tasmanians came from renewables. The next best was Western Australia (13 per cent).
- Investment in new large-scale renewable energy fell 88 per cent in 2014 compared to the year before, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The fall was due to policy uncertainty caused by the Federal Government review of the RET.
- Just over 20,000 people were employed in the renewable energy industry in 2014. Approximately 900 jobs were lost during the year, with the review of the RET leading to redundancies in some businesses.
- Royalla Solar Farm, the largest in Australia at the end of 2014, was completed with support from the ACT Government.
- Three wind farms completed construction – Snowtown II (Trustpower, South Australia), Gullen Range (Goldwind, NSW) and Mount Mercer (Meridian, VIC).
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.
This article is sourced from the https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au