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Renewable Energy Index: How are the states are tracking on renewables?

This months Renewable Energy Index released by Green Energy Markets reveals how each of the states feeding into the National Electricity Market (NEM) is tracking for electricity production and consumption.

While the NEM is on track to achieve a 33.3 per cent contribution from renewables by 2020, almost a doubling the 17.3 per cent achieved in 2015, individual states are performing beyond that.

Victoria is undergoing a rapid transition from one dominated by brown coal to one where close to half of consumption is met by renewables.

By 2020 Victorian renewables plants will generate 39.4 per cent of the state’s power consumption, a dramatic expansion from the 17.7 per cent share in 2015. By 2030 renewable generation would grow to 45.7 per cent of consumption thanks to ongoing growth of rooftop solar alone.

Queensland has awoken from its renewable slumber and has demonstrated the fastest growth in renewables supply and development

Between 2010 and 2015 there was almost no expansion in large-scale renewables in QLD and renewables represented just 7.4 per cent of 2015 consumption.

By 2020 Queensland will meet 25 per cent of electricity consumption from renewables. Even more impressively, the projects being pursued by companies for development could generate power equal to more than 90 per cent of consumption in 2030, but most of these projects are unlikely to get off the ground given the weak targets on offer under the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee.

NSW is the laggard of the pack, falling short of 20 per cent renewables by 2020 – well behind other states. NSW is currently on track to just 19.7 per cent renewables by 2020 and 26.1 per cent by 2030.

Other states are outpacing NSW in terms of project development. The projects currently being scoped could generate more than half its expected 2030 electricity consumption if they were to be constructed, but again this is unlikely without a major change in state policy and much stronger NEG targets.

Tasmania and South Australia are moving towards a position where they could generate more renewable energy than they could consume, even with greater energy storage. Projections suggest their future is as clean power exporters.

South Australia is on track to renewables generation equal to 70 per cent of the state’s electricity consumption by 2020 and 85 per cent by 2030. Its full pipeline of projects undergoing development could generate more than twice the state’s 2030 consumption.

Thanks to two new wind farms Tasmania can continue to meet its needs entirely with renewable energy. But it could generate 20 per cent more renewable energy than it consumes if its development projects were to proceed to construction.

GetUp Campaigns Director Miriam Lyons said the REI reveals that with strong targets and the right political leadership Australia could have a clean and green future, but development will remain dormant under current federal government policies and progress will be lost.

“The rapid ramp-up in investment in the past three years have shown the kind of growth possible with strong targets and supporting policy and demonstrates we can reach for far greater targets down the track.

“The NEG does nothing to build on this progress and sends us backwards when we could be bounding forward as a world leader in clean energy, creating jobs and taking action on climate change in the process.

“What the REI demonstrates is there’s a clear option here, we kill off renewables growth and pollute the planet with a do nothing NEG, or we develop a policy that sets strong targets and continues the renewables boom and delivers a cleaner and greener Australia.”

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