Clean Energy Australia Report 2018

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The Clean Energy Australia Report 2015 includes a comprehensive round-up of renewable energy projects, investment, employment and electricity generation. It is the only analysis that includes the National Electricity Market, the Western Australian electricity grid and other major regional grids across the country in areas such as the Northern Territory.

Approximately 700 MW of renewable projects were completed and began generation in 2017. But with seven times that amount either under construction or with financial support at the end of 2017, the clean energy industry is on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Large-scale wind and solar project activity pushed investment in Australia up 150 per cent to a record US$9 billion in 2017, and early in 2018, the Clean Energy Regulator announced that there were enough projects at a sufficiently advanced stage to meet the large-scale Renewable Energy Target. This is a remarkable achievement considering that just over half of the target had been met at the beginning of 2017.

Almost 1.1 GW of solar PV was installed in the small-scale market in 2017, which was a record for the rooftop solar industry. Considerable growth also occurred in the medium-scale solar sector, with 131 projects adding 53 MW of new capacity. There is now 167 MW of cumulative capacity in the mediumscale solar sector, representing an increase of more than 500 per cent over the past five years.

The strong growth witnessed in the small- and medium-scale solar sectors has translated into increased employment opportunities, with the number of new Clean Energy Council Accredited Installers per month growing by 60 per cent in 2017.

Four new large-scale solar projects were completed in 2017, with the largest being the 50 MW plant built by Genex at Kidston in North Queensland. Total installed large-scale solar capacity reached 450 MW at the end of 2017, which is a remarkable result considering that just 34 MW was installed at the end of 2014.

There was a tremendous amount of activity in the wind sector in 2017, with 15 new wind farms either under construction or financially committed at the end of the year. The 547 MW of new capacity added in 2017 was the third highest amount added in the history of the Australian wind industry, bringing total generation capacity across the country to 4816 MW.

For the first time ever, wind and hydro generation contributed an almost identical amount of electricity – approximately 5.7 per cent each – to total national electricity generation during the year.

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