Another Milestone for Clean Energy: Australia Achieves 50% Renewables

Australia’s National Energy Market has recently announced that the country has reached 50.2 percent renewables for the first time, the latest milestone for clean energy.

Although it only lasted for about 10 minutes, it marked another milestone for the booming renewable energy sector in Australia, especially in the states where NEM supplies electricity. These states include Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania.

Experts Confident this Milestone is the Start of Even Better Renewables Output

In an interview with the The Guardian, Dylan McConnell from the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College stated, “We will start to see this happening more frequently. It was just a snapshot in time, but it’s indicative of an underlying trend in the system.”

OpenNEM, a tool developed by McConnell, was able to detect this latest breakthrough. The tool monitors the grid in real-time by utilizing data from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

During the said period, solar power provided 32.5 percent of the available electricity. Of this percentage, 2 million small rooftop solar systems in the NEM-supplied states accounted for 72 percent. Solar power plants contributed the remaining 28 percent. Wind and hydro provided 15. 7 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The Chief Executive of Australia’s Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton expressed, “It is a fantastic achievement to have more than half of the National Electricity Market powered by renewable energy, and it’s worth celebrating. A decade from now, it will be completely normal as more renewable energy and storage projects will be present to replace retiring coal-fired power stations.”

“Renewables and storage can do everything our old coal plants can do, just cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable,” Thornton added.

Battery Storage to Boost Presence in the Renewables Sector

In an interview with the The Rising, industry analyst Giles Parkinson said, “What we’ll see in Australia eventually is getting to 100 percent renewable supply at certain times, but that excess of power won’t be able to exported anywhere – it will have to be stored.”

Previously, energy company AGL made public its agreement with the Maoneng Group to provide four 50MW/100MWh batteries in New South Wales. They will start service in 2023 and store sufficient energy to approximately 30,000 households.

AGL CEO Brett Redman also gave a statement. He said, “This is the dawn of the battery age and AGL is proud to lead the way. Australia’s energy market is undergoing significant changes. And large-scale batteries like these will be pivotal in providing firming capacity in the shift between baseload power and renewables.”

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