South Australia champions renewables, while other states lag behind
Wind energy exceeded local demand in South Australia for over 10 consecutive hours last weekend, beginning just before 2am Sunday morning. This comes on the heels of the closure of the state’s last coal-fired power station over two weeks ago.
More than half of electricity in South Australia is sourced through either solar or wind, with the remaining portion coming from energy efficient combined cycle gas plants.
However, Australia’s use of renewables varies widely from state-to state. A report by the Climate Council recently found that only six percent of energy in New South Wales was derived from sustainable sources in 2014, while a spokesperson for state Energy Minister Anthony Roberts placed the figure at 14 percent.
The government of New South Wales once vowed to be “Australia’s answer” to US renewable leader California, though the Climate Council’s report named the state the worst in the country for renewable energy use.
Now it appears South Australia is vying for the title of ‘greenest’ state, with leading electricity provider SA Power Networks set to undertake the country’s largest trial of storage batteries in solar-enabled homes.
Australia has established national renewable energy targets, with 33,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation promised by 2020. Though recent doubts have been cast over whether or not this goal is achievable unless there is a “rapid acceleration” in the construction of renewable projects.
Read the May 2016 issue of Energy Digital magazine