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How Renewable Energy is Shaping Australia’s Future

Australia holds the potential to become a prominent global player in renewable energy. It has abundant natural resources, including vast land area, high solar irradiation levels, and extensive coastlines with strong wind patterns. This gives Australia the potential to harness solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources on a large scale.

To achieve this potential, Australia needs to invest in infrastructure and technology, such as transmission lines and energy storage technologies. This will help to integrate renewable energy into the grid and ensure that it is available when needed. Switching to renewable energy will provide Australia with a number of benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy security, and economic growth.


Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is sustainable power derived from naturally replenishing sources, such as sunlight, wind, and water, offering eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels for a greener future.

In the fiscal year 2020-2021, renewable energy sources constituted 8% of Australia’s total energy consumption.

Over the past decade, renewable electricity production has surged significantly. However, nearly 38% of Australia’s renewable energy consumption still relies on the combustion of biomass, including firewood and bagasse (sugar cane pulp residue).

Renewable Energy

2020–21 PJ 2020–21 share (per cent) 2020–21 growth (per cent) 10 year average annual growth (per cent)
Biomass total 171.2 37.0 1.1 0.2
Biomass - wood and other (refer to notes below) 83.2 18.0 -2.7 -0.1
Biomass - bagasse 88.0 19.0 4.9 0.5
Municipal and industrial waste 4.6 1.0 14.8 na
Biogas total 18.0 3.9 7.9 2.5
Biogas - landfill gas 13.2 2.8 4.3 na
Biogas - other biogas 4.8 1.0 19.2 na
Biofuels total 6.2 1.3 -7.1 -6.9
Biofuels - ethanol 4.9 1.1 -9.4 na
Biofuels - biodiesel 0.1 0.0 na na
Biofuels - other liquid biofuels 1.2 0.2 1.6 na
Hydro 54.7 11.8 0.3 -1.0
Wind 88.3 19.1 20.3 15.0
Solar PV 99.8 21.6 31.8 33.6
Solar hot water 19.7 4.3 6.6 5.4
Total 462.4 100.0 10.4 4.6

Notes:  includes wood waste, charcoal, sulphite lyes and other biomass na – not available

Source: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (2022) Australian Energy Statistics, Table R

Reference: https://www.energy.gov.au/data/renewables

In 2021, Australia achieved a record-breaking 29% of its total electricity generation from renewable sources, encompassing solar (12%), wind (10%), and hydro (6%). This marked the highest-ever share of renewables in the nation’s electricity generation, surpassing the previous peak of 26% recorded in the mid-1960s.

The remarkable growth in renewable energy over the last decade can be largely attributed to solar and wind power, with small-scale solar generation experiencing a 29% surge in 2021 and an average annual growth of 28% in the past decade. Wind generation also expanded by 19% in 2021, maintaining a 15% yearly growth rate over the last ten years.

While hydro power output has remained relatively stable, large-scale solar generation has recently seen rapid expansion, growing from negligible levels before 2016 to contributing 4% of all Australian electricity generation in 2021, representing an impressive five-year growth rate of 1,747%.


Electricity Generation in Australia via Renewable Resources

renewable energy

Challenges in Attaining Leadership in Renewable Energy

  • Overcoming hurdles to lead Australia's solar sector demands a holistic strategy, given abundant sunlight and energy potential, yet persistent challenges persist.
  • These obstacles include the need for extensive infrastructure development to harness renewable resources fully, policy and regulatory complexities, and transitioning from conventional energy sources.
  • Promoting affordability, accessibility, and innovation in renewable tech is vital for Australia's energy leadership journey, fueled by its abundant resources and sustainability commitment.

Investment in Extensive Renewable Energy future

Over the past years, significant private sector-driven investments in large-scale renewable energy projects, constituting nearly 5% of non-mining business investments, have surged due to substantial initiatives, fostering electricity generation growth.

These investments have been fairly evenly distributed between wind and solar farm projects, with Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales serving as primary hubs for these endeavors within the realm of solar energy Australia.

These investments have not only bolstered economic activity and job creation, particularly in regional areas hosting large-scale renewable projects but have also spurred local contributions of around 25-40 percent of overall expenses.

renewable energy

Environmental and Economic Benefits

Australia’s future is shaped by embracing renewable energy like solar and wind power, reducing the carbon footprint, and mitigating climate change effects through sustainable practices, ensuring environmental and economic benefits.

Simultaneously, these initiatives stimulate economic growth by creating jobs, particularly in regional areas where large-scale renewable projects are prevalent.


renewable energy
renewable energy

Is Renewable Energy More Cost-Effective?

Renewable energy is now the most economical power choice globally, with technology costs plummeting. Solar power costs dropped by 85% from 2010 to 2020, while onshore and offshore wind energy costs fell by 56% and 48%, respectively.

Declining renewable energy costs are enticing, especially for low- and middle-income nations, set to lead to new electricity demand. With ongoing price drops, a considerable share of future power supply can come from low-carbon sources.

Affordable renewable electricity may constitute 65% of global electricity production by 2030, potentially resulting in a 90% reduction in power sector carbon emissions by 2050, a significant step in addressing climate change.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Australia’s shift towards renewable energy is promising, driven by abundant resources and a growing commitment. Despite challenges, investments in large-scale projects boost the economy and create jobs. Renewables offer environmental benefits, reduce emissions, and reshape the global energy landscape, with Australia setting an inspiring example for a cleaner, sustainable future.

[Disclaimer: The blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. For accurate and up-to-date information on renewable energy, refer to reputable sources and consult with experts in the field.]

Please don’t hesitate to contact Betta Value Renewable Energy if you have any questions about this topic.

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