Solar power In Australia tripled in 2018. As the Green Energy Markets (GEM) reports for December 2018 was nothing short of monumental. It begins, “2018 will go down as the year that fossil fuels began an inexorable decline in Australia’s electricity supply.”
Tristan Edis, GEM’s director of analysis and advisory, explains, “For wind, the 26% jump in generation this year came after almost no growth in 2017. Rooftop solar has had more steady additions of generation but 2018 was exceptional, with the incremental new generation 86% greater than the average annual additions of 2015-2017. Yet it was large scale solar farms that really jumped out of the blocks in 2018, with generation leaping up by almost 300% on the prior year.”
Australia still has a ways to go. According to GEM, Western Australia trails far behind the eastern states in renewable energy growth. Also, one would expect the use of coal to be down across the board. However, while the use of soft brown coal has decreased, the amount of generation from black coal is up. In particular, thanks to the elimination of a national price on carbon.
The GEM December report also says more than 3.2 GW of large scale solar projects were under construction at the end of December. That will bring the total of close to 7.15 GW when wind is included. And this solar boom has added nearly 7,700 new jobs.
Turning to rooftops, GEM found 22,010 PV systems were installed in December. New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory led all other regions with 5,700 systems combined. Followed by Victoria (5,400), Queensland (5,300), Western Australia (3,150), South Australia (1,900), the Northern Territory (269), and Tasmania (262).
Despite the uncompromising position of its national leaders, Australia is embracing renewables faster than most other countries. As prices for wind, solar, and storage continue to fall, the current shift will continue to accelerate.
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