Solar PV became Australia’s number one source of renewable energy in 2014, passing 4 GW of installed capacity, overtaking wind’s 3.8 GW.
The new figures came by way of energy insight company, GlobalData, and its new report, Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2015, which details renewable energy policy measures and incentives throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
According to GlobalData’s accompanying press release, the report “states that renewables have become an integral part of the energy policy in Australia” — which could be argued, depending on GlobalData’s meaning here. While renewable energy is indeed an integral part of energy policy here in Australia, this is only the case insomuch as you consider the amount of time spent arguing about renewable’s place in energy policy here in Australia. There are any number of examples across Australia that show renewable energy is not an integral part of existing energy policy.
Nevertheless, recent leadership changes in Australia have bolstered renewable energy’s role in the future of Australia’s energy policy and energy mix, which bodes well for the future of the industry.
“The government recently announced the revised Renewable Energy Target (RET) to support emission-intensive industries and slightly reduced the RET from 41 Terawatt hours (TWh) to 33 TWh,” explained Siddhartha Raina, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering Power. “Despite this, new renewable energy capacity of 6 GW still needs to be installed by 2020.”
Despite all of the flux around Australia’s renewable energy industry over the past few years, GlobalData points to the continued growth of Australia’s solar PV industry, which in 2014 reached 4 GW of installed capacity, overtaking wind power’s 3.8 GW.
GlobalData also believes that, while solar and wind will continue their role as the two main renewable energy technologies in Australia, bioenergy is next to make a move.
“While feed-in tariffs and renewable energy target schemes, along with other subsidies and support initiatives, have had a major impact on the solar PV and wind industries, the impact of such programs on biopower and small hydro has been minimal,” Siddhartha Raina explains.
“Despite this, strong government backing is expected to promote stable growth in the bioenergy sector. Bioenergy capacity amounted to 573.9 Megawatts in 2014 and is expected to more than treble to 1.8 GW by the end of 2025.”