Australian states are powering into renewable energy

Banner: states powering into renewables
  • Australia is already using lots of renewable energy.
  • Our State & Territory governments have ambitious plans to expand renewable generation.
  • All three of the Liberal State governments have ambitious plans.

Renewable energy usage and plans

This table shows the “2019 percentages of electricity that were renewable” and the “renewable energy plans” for Australia, its states and territories.

Area% RenewablesRenewables Plans
Australia24%******None
ACT 100%*************************
Tasmania96%***********************200% by 2040
S Australia 52%*************100% by 2030, 500% by 2050
Victoria24%******50% by 2025
W Australia21%*****
NSW17%****Renewable Energy Zones
Queensland14%***50% 2030
N Territory 4%*

The above “percent renewables” are based on data from Clean Energy Council: 2019 Snapshot


Australia overall

  • Renewable energy supplied 24% of Australia’s electricity in 2019.
  • Australia is on track for 30% renewables by the end of 2020 (Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator)
  • Australians are NOT using a small amount of renewable energy.

Australia has a target of net-zero carbon by 2050, by default. It’s by default because each state & territory has this target, not the Federal government.

Australia is developing a low-cost renewable energy industry. As our renewable generation increases, our electricity-based industries will become more cost-competitive and their products more marketable in a carbon-constrained world.


South Australia under a Liberal government

South Australia (SA):

  • generated 52% of its electricity in from wind & solar in 2019,
  • is showing the world how to incorporate, into a large grid, these elevated levels of wind and solar generation. One example of this was SA installing the Tesla big battery in 2017.
  • is on track to meet its renewable energy target of 100% by 2030.

SA plans for over 500% renewables by 2050.

(South Australia names hydrogen hubs to foster epic growth in wind and solar: Renew Economy: 29 Oct 2020)
(South Australia aims for more than 500% renewables in a new climate plan: Renew Economy: 16 Dec 2020)

Wholesale electricity prices are now often cheaper in SA than in NSW and Victoria. SA previously had high electricity prices for a long time & renewables have reversed this.

(Renewables dominated South Australia delivering cheaper power than in Victoria and NSW: Renew Economy: 13 July 2020)

SA wants all new car sales in SA to be fully electric by 2035

(SA wants all new car sales to be fully electric by 2035: The Driven: 21 Dec 2020)

SA Liberal Premier Marshall sees the benefits of this transition, saying:

  • the recent fires have changed the psyche of the people of SA and Australia, and
  • recent technology creates enormous opportunities for SA to improve grid stability, lower prices and cut emissions

(South Australia to accelerate the transition and emissions cuts after bushfires: Renew Economy: 31 Jan 2020)


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • The ACT already runs on 100% renewables. They reached 100% by contracting to get all their electricity from wind and solar generators. When wholesale electricity prices surged in the first three months of 2019, these contracts saved the ACT $4 million.
  • They are on track to reach their goal of zero net emissions by 2045.

(ACT beats its 2020 emissions target with a 45% cut since 1990: Renew Economy: 4 Dec 2020)


Tasmania under a Liberal government

In Tasmania in 2019, 96% of electricity was renewable, mostly hydroelectricity. It’s now 100%.

Notably, the Tasmanian Liberals have set a target of 200% renewables by 2040. This 200% means that they will produce twice as much as they consume & export the surplus to mainland Australia & overseas. This target was world-leading until South Australia released its plans.

“Our vision is to have a renewable hydrogen generation facility & to be exporting hydrogen by 2030, creating hundreds of local jobs & injecting billions into the Tasmanian economy”.

Here the Tasmanian Liberal Premier, Peter Gutwein, is advocating for a part of the superpower vision.

(Tasmania sets a world leading target of 200% renewables by 2040: Renew Economy: 4 March 2020)


Victoria

  • Victoria generated 24% of its electricity from renewable energy in 2019
  • It has a legislated target of 50% by 2025.
  • Victoria is now producing substantially green steel as the Laverton steelworks is drawing electricity from the Numurkah solar farm.
  • Melbourne trams are now running on 100% renewable energy, also from the Numurkah solar farm.
  • SEA Electric is electrifying vehicles, e.g. rubbish trucks

New South Wales (NSW) under a Coalition government

The NSW Coalition Government has just passed legislation to set up “renewable energy zones” which could see NSW generating 70% of its electricity from renewable by 2030. Amazingly, all major NSW parties supported this: The Liberals, Nationals, Labor and Greens.

When NSW called for generation proposals, for their first renewable energy zone, they got 133 submissions, with a total generation capacity nine times more than their target. Private capital is eager to invest in renewables.

“There is only one way to go, and that is to modernise the grid, deliver cheap, reliable energy and set ourselves up to be an energy and economic superpower in a low carbon economy.”

The NSW Liberal environment minister, Matt Kean, explicitly advocates for the superpower vision

(Matt Kean says NSW can be a renewable energy superpower or stick its head in the sand: Renew Economy: 29 June 2020)
(We stared down big energy: NSW Minister Kean hails historic bill: Renew Economy: 26 Nov 2020)
(Watershed week for clean and green energy policy: Hannam: The Age: 28 Nov 2020)


All Three Liberal States are moving to renewables

There are just three Liberal state governments: NSW, Tasmania, and South Australia, and each one is planning a massive increase in renewable energy. Their actions are endorsing the superpower vision, in stark contrast to the Federal Coalition’s ongoing demonisation of renewable energy.


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Updated 16 Dec 2020