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Objective 1: Encouraging additional generation of electricity from renewable sources

​​In 2014 the Renewable Energy Target achieved the objective of generating additional electricity from renewable sources with:
  • 46 new accredited renewable power stations
  • 18.105 million large-scale generation certificates validly created–reflecting 18.105 million megawatt hours of additional renewable electricity generated
  • 227 807 new small-scale system installations, and
  • 18.784 million small-scale technology certificates validly created for 252 843 systems–raising the capacity of small-scale systems to generate or displace around 7.6 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity annually.

 

Large-scale systems

Steady increase

46 new accredited renewable energy power stations in 2014

The number of renewable energy power stations accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target has increased each year since 2001.

In 2014 there were 46 new accredited power stations, bringing the total number of accredited power stations to 440 by 31 December 2014.

In recent years cumulative capacity has grown at a slower rate than accredited power stations, showing a trend towards a large number of smaller renewable power stations. This trend is more pronounced between 2013 and 2014.

Graph 4: Growth in the number of accredited renewable energy power stations and their capacity, 2001–2014

Growth in the number of accredited renewable energy power stations and their capacity, 2001-2014. 

Note: Total capacity excludes seven co-firing power stations (combustion of fossil and renewable fuels in the same system).

Energy sources

The Clean Energy Regulator categorises accredited power stations according to the renewable energy source used to create most of the station's large-scale generation certificates.

The 440 accredited power stations fall into 12 out of 19 eligible categories and include 107 hydro, 99 solar, 82 wind and 62 landfill gas power stations. The remaining 90 stations use other renewable energy sources. Details are in Table 4 in large-scale systems.

Large-scale capacity

In 2014 a total of 18.105 million large-scale renewable energy certificates were validly created–reflecting 18.105 million megawatt hours of additional renewable electricity generated. This is a 24 per cent increase from 2013 when 14.649 million large-scale renewable energy certificates were validly created.

At the time of writing, the capacity of accredited renewable energy power stations was approximately 13 300 megawatts.2 These power stations can generate around 16 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity in a typical year. This is enough to power more than 2.5 million average Australian households.3

The calculation of 16 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity considers variables such as rainfall in catchments for hydro power station storage dams and other weather that may affect capacity to generate electricity.

Large-scale annual targets

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 specifies the amount of renewable energy that liable entities are required to source in the form of large-scale generation certificates each year up to 2030.

This renewable power percentage changes each year as the legislated annual targets increase to reach the target of 41 000 gigawatt hours by 2020. Power percentages are explained in Liable Entities.

Graph 5: Supply of large-scale renewable electricity generation, 2001–2014

 

LGCs = Large-scale generation certificates

Note: This graph is up to 31 December 2014. Certificates can be created up to 12 months after the year the electricity was generated by the power stations, and as such the 2014 data is an estimated forecast only.

* Biomass includes food waste, food processing waste, agricultural waste, wood waste, sewage gas and biomass based components of sewage, energy crops, waste from processing of agricultural products and biomass based components of municipal solid waste, bagasse, bagasse co-generation, biomass-based components of municipal solid waste, energy crops, wood waste and black liquor.

As illustrated in Graph 5, large-scale renewable electricity generation has increased since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Target in 2001. The graph shows the amount of renewable electricity generated above accredited power stations' renewable power baselines. Baselines explained.

Small-scale systems

Steady increase

227 807 new small-scale systems installed in 2014

The number of small-scale installations under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme has increased each year since 2001.

In 2014 a total of 227 807 small-scale systems were installed, bringing the overall number of installations to 2 268 398 by 31 December 2014.4

Graph 6: Growth in the number of valid small-scale installations since 2001

Supply of large-scale renewable electricity generation, 2001-2014. 

Note: Certificates can be created up to 12 months after small-scale systems are installed, which means the complete 2014 year data will be available in next year's report.

Small-scale capacity

Over 18.7 million small-scale technology certificates created for 252 843 systems

In 2014, a total of 18 784 182 small-scale technology certificates were validly created for 252 843 small-scale installations.5

The estimated amount of renewable electricity generated or displaced by small-scale systems has increased steadily since 2001.

'Displaced' refers to the estimated reduced demand for electricity from the grid after solar water heaters are installed (that is, solar hot water systems or air source heat pumps).

Graph 7 illustrates the estimated increase in small-scale capacity from the three main contributors: generation from small-scale solar panel systems, and displacement from solar water heaters and air source heat pumps.

Graph 7: Estimated generation by small generation units and displacement by solar water heaters, 2001–2014

Estimated generation by small generation units and displacement by solar water heaters, 2001–2014. 

Note: Certificates can be created up to 12 months after small-scale systems are installed, which means the complete 2014 year data will be available in next year's report.

In total, small-scale installations have the capacity to generate or displace approximately 7.6 million megawatt hours of electricity annually. Of this, approximately 4.8 million megawatt hours are from small generation units (small-scale solar, wind or hydro installations), with solar water heaters displacing a further 2.8 million megawatt hours of otherwise-required generation. Generation and displacement for 2014 will continue to rise as certificates can be created up to 12 months after installation.

2014 review findings

The Government's 2014 review of the Renewable Energy Target by the Expert Panel, including ACIL Allen Modelling, found that:

...renewable generation accounts for an estimated 16.1 per cent of generation (at the end of calendar year 2014)... where the RET remains unchang​ed, renewable energy is projected to reach 26.3 per cent by 2020.6

The 2014 Expert Panel found that the Renewable Energy Target:

...has encouraged significant renewable electricity generation, which has almost doubled as a result of the scheme. Installations of small-scale systems have exceeded expectations, with output from these systems already exceeding levels anticipated for 2020.7

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