In 2019, a major milestone was achieved for renewable energy in Australia. There was enough capacity delivered to guarantee that the Large-scale Renewable Target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of additional renewable energy will be met.
This milestone was met ahead of schedule and represents the hard work of a growing and dynamic renewables industry.
Across Australia a total of 6.3 gigawatts of additional renewable energy capacity was delivered in 2019, up 24 per cent from 2018. Large-scale capacity1 grew by 4.1 gigawatts and small-scale solar Photovoltaics (PV) by 2.2 gigawatts. By the end of 2019, over 33 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity1 had been delivered. This additional capacity took the total share of renewables in the National Electricity Market to 25 per cent by the end of 2019.
Australians continue to invest in rooftop solar PV to reduce their electricity bills and gain the environmental benefits. Even with reducing Commonwealth incentives, rooftop solar PV remains an attractive option for consumers with short payback periods and declining costs.
A strong compliance focus is important to protect the integrity of the Renewable Energy Target, particularly during times of strong growth. As market participation has increased and diversified, the Clean Energy Regulator has continued to make a range of system and process enhancements to provide greater efficiency for both large and small-scale scheme participants. These
enhancements include the introduction of a fast-track processing pathway for small-scale technology certificate claims supported by solar panel validation, and changes to the online power station accreditation and the large-scale generation certificate claim processes making it easier and faster for new participants to participate in the scheme.
Australia is on track to increase total renewable generation to 30 per cent by the end of 2020. New renewables investment is now driven primarily by commercial factors and increasingly by corporations entering into power purchase agreements to both hedge electricity prices and meet their own emissions reduction goals.
Although the statutory large-scale target will be met in 2020, the Renewable Energy Target framework will continue to provide a transparent mechanism to demonstrate use of renewable energy and achievement of emission abatement goals to their consumers and supply chain.
The market keeps surprising on the upside, innovating with technology and business models, however current transmission constraints in Australia’s electricity grid need to be addressed with a coordinated response. The Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan, the Renewables Integration Study and government investment in transmission upgrades will enable Australia’s transition to a low emission electricity grid. The expedited progression of key transmission projects will be essential in unlocking the next wave of renewable energy investment in Australia.
The small and large-scale renewable energy schemes were not heavily impacted by the economic slowdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of writing this report. The market will continue to be closely monitored and regular updates will be provided through the Quarterly Carbon Market Reports and through the Clean Energy Regulator website.
David Parker AM Chair, Clean Energy Regulator
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