It’s a new year, and a more exciting decade for renewables industry. As a country, we are one step closer towards our renewable energy targets. As per a new research article by Stanford, the country needs another 280GW of solar power for an economy that is fueled by non-fossil power. Furthermore, technology is just one side; policies and frameworks that connect them to the society are becoming more crucial as we try to catch up to these technical advancements.
First, the Australian STCs – upfront solar rebates to homeowners – continue into this decade with their yearly deductions. They will cease to exist in 2031. However, still the rebates are generous to provide a good return on investment on your rooftop solar power system. In Victoria, under the Solar Homes scheme, the state continues to connect over 770,000 homes with solar power in the coming years. You may use the online STC calculator provided by the Clean Energy Regulator to get an idea about the exact rebates this year.
The 2020 integrated system plan (ISP) of AEMO highlights requirement of about 30-40 GW of new renewable energy systems (with battery storage) by 2040 to become fossil-fuel free. In their forecasts, an optimal scenario to achieve this would be a variable renewable energy (VRE) share of 56% solar and 44% wind energy. Despite the market slow down due to China’s green energy subsidy cut, the domestic and international disasters due to climate change continues to urge demand amongst governments and corporations to keep the investment momentum in this sector. Coco-Coal Amatil (Sydney) will completely transition to solar this year, producing about 2,400 MWh per annum. In the final days of 2019, Iberdrola, a Spanish company, announced their investment of over $500 million into the solar-wind hybrid energy park in Port Augusta (South Australia). The park will complete towards in 2021.
As of 1st Jan 2020, the Australian capital territory has become the only city outside Europe to generate all its electricity from solar power. At present, the city produces only 5% of its total energy requirement, and the remaining comes from the NEM (national electricity market). So, through additional voluntary purchasing of renewable energy from solar and wind farms, ACT makes up for the power it draws from traditional fuel sources in the national grid. Furthermore, there are numerous ongoing ARENA projects that would reach completion in this decade (read more here). Despite the various claims by critics, still solar, wind and hydrogen sources remain the only renewables that are completely Eco-friendly and scalable at present; solar being the only one that can be economically set-up by home users.