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Monday, January 15, 2024

Australia on track for 82 percent renewables target by 2030; IEA notes global acceleration in Renewables

Looking at 2023 renewables achieved a 38.4 percent average share of the electricity grid in Australia. This puts Australia just about on track to meet the 82 per cent renewables by 2030 target. 

Keep in mind Utility scale solar is still ramping up. New onshore wind farms are in the development pipeline. Offshore wind will only start coming into the system around 2030 but will rapidly ramp up in subsequent years. 

The IEA has also released a new report on the acceleration of renewasbles, which puts the target of tripling renewables globally by 2030 within reach if governments implement key policy measures.

Andrew Forrest's Squadron Energy’s has turned the shovel on the 414 MW 69 turbine Uungula Wind Farm near Wellington in NSW on Thursday, within the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone and has an approved connection to the existing transmission grid. Squadron Energy has a commitment to delivering 14GW of green electricity, powering the equivalent of six million homes. There is a further 6GW in Squadron’s development pipeline to follow.

Renewables in 2023 at a glance:

  • An average share of 38.4 per cent renewables  was the average share achieved across the country’s main grids for the year, from January 2023 to January 2024 (inclusive). This was small-scale solar, onshore wind and large-scale utility solar combined.
  • share of rooftop solar jumping to an annual average of 11.7%, large-scale solar to 6.6% and wind to 13.2%.
  • Rooftop solar new capacity: a record 321MW of rooftop PV installed in the fourth quarter of 2023.
  • Total new capacity installed in 2023 to about 3.17GW, just short of the record 3.23GW in 2021.
  • Victoria’s rooftop PV share hit a new high of 65.8% at 12:30pm on Sunday December 31.
  • In South Australia, the rooftop PV share soared to 101.8%, beating the previous record of 101.1% set on a Saturday afternoon in September and marking the second instance where SA’s rooftop PV met the entire region’s demand.
  • highest share of renewables across all regions of Australia in 2023 was recorded in mid-Spring in October, with a share of 46% across the month. 
  • The biggest share in a day, nationally, was recorded on October 22 at 51%.
  • In South Australia, renewables supplied the state with an average of 75.4% of its electricity needs over the year, 42.3% from wind. 
  • The rest of the major states averaged somewhere between 26.9% (Queensland), 37.8% (Victoria) and 99.3% Tasmania (thanks mainly to hydro).
  • Western Australia was powered by an average share of nearly 20% (19.8) rooftop solar, with the share of all renewables averaging at 36% over the year.

Andrew Forrest interview on the ABC 7.30 Report on: the Ungula Wind Farm, addressing cost of living, Capacity Investment Scheme, commitment to 14GW of renewables, Transmission Lines, The Federal rejection of the offshore wind terminal at Port of Hastings due to environmental considerations and need to consider climate change in every major development, hydrogen production target, Gibson Island fertiliser plant near Brisbane, 2035 emissions reduction target, the role for nuclear power in Australia.

Global acceleration in Renewables

The International Energy Agency reports that the World added 50% more renewable capacity in 2023 than in 2022 with growth projected to continue in the next five years.

The report highlights that the amount of renewable energy capacity added to energy systems around the world grew by 50% in 2023, reaching almost 510 gigawatts (GW), with solar PV accounting for three-quarters of additions worldwide, according to Renewables 2023, the latest edition of the IEA’s annual market report on the sector. 

The report notes the largest growth took place in China, which commissioned as much solar PV in 2023 as the entire world did in 2022, while China’s wind power additions rose by 66% year-on-year. The increases in renewable energy capacity in Europe, the United States and Brazil also hit all-time highs.

“The new IEA report shows that under current policies and market conditions, global renewable capacity is already on course to increase by two-and-a-half times by 2030. It’s not enough yet to reach the COP28 goal of tripling renewables, but we’re moving closer – and governments have the tools needed to close the gap,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Onshore wind and solar PV are cheaper today than new fossil fuel plants almost everywhere and cheaper than existing fossil fuel plants in most countries. There are still some big hurdles to overcome, including the difficult global macroeconomic environment. For me, the most important challenge for the international community is rapidly scaling up financing and deployment of renewables in most emerging and developing economies, many of which are being left behind in the new energy economy. Success in meeting the tripling goal will hinge on this.”

By 2028, potential renewable electricity generation is expected to reach around 14 400 TWh, an increase of almost 70% from 2022 says the report. Over the next five years, several renewable energy milestones could be achieved:

  • In 2024, variable renewable generation surpasses hydropower.
  • In 2025, renewables surpass coal-fired electricity generation.
  • In 2025, wind surpasses nuclear electricity generation.
  • In 2026, solar PV surpasses nuclear electricity generation.
  • In 2028, solar PV surpasses wind electricity generation.

The report goes into detailed analysis. Executive Summary headings include:

  • 2023 saw a step change in renewable capacity additions, driven by China’s solar PV market
  • Achieving the COP28 target of tripling global renewable capacity by 2030 hinges on policy implementation 
  • The global power mix will be transformed by 2028
  • China is the world’s renewables powerhouse
  • The US, the EU, India and Brazil remain bright spots for onshore wind and solar PV growth
  • Solar PV prices plummet amid growing supply glut
  • Onshore wind and solar PV are cheaper than both new and existing fossil fuel plants
  • The new macroeconomic environment presents further challenges that policy makers need to address 
  • The forecast for wind capacity additions is less optimistic outside China, especially for offshore
  • Faster deployment of variable renewables increases integration and infrastructure challenges
  • Current hydrogen plans and implementation don’t match
  • Biofuel deployment is accelerating and diversifying more into renewable diesel and biojet fuel
  • Aligning biofuels with a net zero pathway requires a huge increase in the pace of deployment
  • Renewable heat accelerates amid high energy prices and policy momentum – but not enough to curb emissions 


Sophie Vorrath, Renew Economy, 8 January 2024, 2023 in review: Australia nears half-way mark to 82% renewables

Squadron Energy, 11 January 2024, Squadron Energy starts work on largest NSW wind farm: commits to 14GW renewable energy pipeline, powering six million homes

IEA, 11 January 2024, Massive expansion of renewable power opens door to achieving global tripling goal set at COP28

IEA (2024), Renewables 2023, IEA, Paris, License: CC BY 4.0 

Open NEM data 9 January 2023- 14 January 2024, comparing renewables to coal and gas in electricity generation

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