There has never been a better time to transition to renewable energy and technologies like electric vehicles in Australia. Over the past two years, the country has undergone something of a renewable energy revolution, with solar power capacity growing in leaps and bounds as well as more and more people and organisations alike getting off fossil gas and reducing their carbon emissions.
As a result of the increased sense of urgency felt across the world, new and innovative sources of funding for solar panels and other types of renewable energy have become more widely available.
Let’s take a look at how the renewable energy revolution is playing out in Australia and how you can be a part of it.
The Status of the Energy Transition in Australia
Australia’s carbon target is to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), the country is set to become an energy superpower in renewable energy thanks to the significant amount of renewable resources at its disposal. These renewable power resources include solar, wind, and hydropower.
Australia possesses the second-largest potential for solar power out of all the countries in the world, with the third-lowest cost for solar power investment. Currently, 5.8 GW of solar power is generated throughout Australia, equivalent to approximately 18-million solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Plus there is significant potential for the development of large-scale solar energy projects, thanks to the wide open spaces abundant throughout the country and long periods of strong sunshine throughout the year. The country’s open coastlines also provide some of the best wind resources globally.
Between 2010 and 2020, the percentage of total electricity generation from renewables jumped from 9.3% in 2010 to 25.6% in 2020, which then rose again to 29% in 2021. Most of this renewable energy was generated by wind and solar, with a small portion attributed to bioenergy. Power generated by hydroelectric plants also played a role.
Currently, 29% of the country’s energy is produced from renewable sources, with the target being 82% by 2030. Approximately 22% of this electricity is generated through solar power and wind, making Australia the sixth most attractive country in the world for renewable energy investment. This generation didn’t just come from big solar and wind farms. The transition to renewable energy is being fast tracked by rooftop solar on homes and businesses. In 2022, rooftop solar accounted for more than a quarter, or 25.8 per cent, of total Australian renewable energy generation. In some places like South West WA, rooftop solar capacity outstrips the capacity of state-owned generator Synergy’s 854 MW coal-fired Muja Power Station and last year on the 12 November 2022 set a record for supplying 61% of underlying demand.
By installing solar on the roof of your home or organisation you are having a very real impact on the decarbonisation of the grid.
Learn more in Why Solar Panels Are A Top Renewable Energy Source
Future Potential & Innovations In Renewable Energy
Australia was the first country to export hydrogen, with more than 100 hydrogen projects currently in the pipeline and the country’s export capacity being increased. According to consultancy Wood Mackenzie, this puts Australia only behind the US in terms of hydrogen projects in the pipeline, amounting to about 12-million tonnes per year, of which 96% are for green hydrogen.
Nearly 40,000 renewable energy patents have been filed within Australia’s borders over the past 20 years, making it the seventh-highest in the world in terms of renewable energy patents filed per head. This puts the country ahead of the USA, Canada and China, among others, and behind only Korea, Japan, Denmark, San Marino, Taiwan and Germany. These patents include various technologies related to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, such as biofuels, fuel from waste, heat pumps, geothermal energy, hydropower, solar PV, thermal hybrids, wind, and much more.
Australia also possesses a substantial amount of rare earth minerals and other critical metals needed to facilitate the global energy transition.
Among these minerals are some of the largest known reserves in the world of zinc, nickel and tantalum, as well as the second-largest reserves of key minerals like cobalt and lithium. These are essential for ensuring a global transition to net-zero emissions.
Australian States Embrace Renewable Energy & Net Zero
Beyond the federal level, Australia’s states and territories are charging ahead with net zero initiatives, by offering a range of programs and grants aimed at encouraging the development of innovative renewable energy projects. Although some jurisdictions such as the ACT and SA are already predominantly powered by renewable sources, others, like Queensland and Victoria, have a lot of catching up to do.
Australian Capital Territory Renewable Energy Initiatives
The ACT Government’s Climate Choices states that since 2020, 100% of electricity in the Capital Territory has come from renewable sources. It was also announced in May 2023 that 6 local renewable energy projects will receive a funding boost in the latest round of ACT Government-funded innovation grants.
Check out CORENA’s ACT Projects
New South Wales Renewable Energy Initiatives
NSW Climate and Energy Action states that over the past 5 years the share of wind and solar in the NSW electricity generation mix has more than tripled! Additionally, Australia New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline reports that the NSW Government has committed to develop five Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) in the state.
The $75 million NSW Emerging Energy Program provides grant funding to assist with the development of innovative, large-scale electricity and storage projects in NSW.
Check out CORENA’s NSW Projects
Queensland Renewable Energy Initiatives
Check out CORENA’s QLD Projects
South Australia Renewable Energy Initiatives
Government of South Australia Energy & Mining’s aspiration is for SA to achieve 100% net renewables by 2030. The State met 100% of its operational demand from renewable resources on 180 days (49%) in 2021.
Some key projects to help meet the target include:
“The construction of a world-leading hydrogen power station, including 250 MWe of electrolysers, 200 MW of power generation and associated hydrogen storage facility; a new energy interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, will support the expansion of the renewable sector by enabling green energy produced in SA to be exported to NSW; a network of potentially 50,000 solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems across the State, all working together to form the world’s largest virtual power plant.” Source: https://www.energymining.sa.gov.au/industry/modern-energy/leading-the-green-economy
Check out CORENA’s SA Projects
Tasmania Renewable Energy Initiatives
The Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan’s goal is to increase the State’s renewable energy output by 200 per cent based on 2022’s renewable energy figures.
Check out CORENA’s TAS Projects
Victoria Renewable Energy Initiatives
Victoria has set a target for 95% of all electricity to come from renewable energy by 2035, and boosted its 2035 target from 50% to 65%. To help achieve this, Invest Victoria reports, the Victorian Government has an unprecedented A$1.6 billion energy package designed to create renewable energy hubs across the state, improve crucial grid upgrades, and support other renewable energy projects.
Check out CORENA’s VIC Projects
Western Australia Renewable Energy Initiatives
Western Australia has allocated A$3bn ($2bn) in its 2023-24 state budget to deliver cleaner, reliable and affordable energy. The Energy Transformation Strategy is the WA Government’s work program to respond to the energy transformation underway and to plan for the future of the State’s power system. Austrade reports that the Western Green Energy Hub, comprising 50 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity, would be the world’s biggest renewable energy hub and one of the largest projects ever seen in Australia. The Clean Energy Future Fund supports investment-ready innovative clean energy projects of high public value.
Check out CORENA’s WA Projects
Join The Revolution
According to the Clean Energy Council, investments in Australia in large-scale clean energy came to as much as $6.2-billion in 2022, which was a 17% increase over the previous year. It is expected that this will increase again in 2023.
In other words, there is currently plenty of money being ploughed into renewable energy projects and climate action initiatives in Australia. The confidence that donors and investors have in such initiatives is at an all-time high, so now is the best possible time to get into the game. However, most of these projects are large-scale and for many organisations it can be difficult to get their small-scale projects underway.
Here at CORENA, we provide an innovative revolving fund model that helps finance non profits and community organisations who wish to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their energy efficiency, but cannot afford the upfront expense. Our fund ensures that these kinds of climate projects get the funding that they need in order to get off the ground and become part of the renewable energy transformation.
Through offering a zero-interest loan, it becomes easy to repay through the savings made on operating costs afforded by the low running costs of a renewable energy project over the long term.
Join Australia’s renewable energy revolution and help to finance projects in your community by donating to our revolving fund. We play a role in supporting all kinds of climate projects, from getting off gas to solar power and electric vehicles.
Interest Free Renewable Energy Loans For Non Profits, Community Organisations, Charities, & Social Enterprises
CORENA, can provide free technical advice and zero interest funding to qualifying organisations looking to reduce their emissions and green their energy consumption.To learn more, check out how to apply for a loan, or register for one of our upcoming Online Q&A Information Sessions.