Energy generation from renewables has grown strongly over the past year, backed by an increase in gas generation and underpinned by continued essential generation from coal, according to the latest official electricity data.
The 2020 Australian Energy Statistics for electricity generation cover all electricity generation in Australia, including by power plants and by businesses and households for their own use.
The new data shows 21 per cent of Australia’s electricity came from renewable energy last year, up from 19 per cent in 2018.
The largest increase in renewable generation was in large-scale solar, up 135 per cent, followed by small-scale solar, up 25 per cent, and wind generation up 19 per cent.
Gas-fired generation also grew to account for 21 per cent of Australia’s total generation. This was driven largely by growth in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The data also demonstrates the importance of coal-fired generation, which continues to be an essential part of Australia’s energy mix, representing 56 per cent of total generation in 2019.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the increase in renewable generation was driven by record levels of new investment, with 6.3 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity delivered in 2019 and a similar level expected to be delivered in 2020.
“Australia continues to be a world-leader in renewable energy, with ongoing increases in renewable capacity and generation,” Minister Taylor said.
“This latest data also demonstrates the continuing importance of coal and the significant and growing reliance on gas to back our significant renewable capacity.
“Gas is flexible and provides the dispatchable capacity we increasingly need to balance intermittent renewables and deliver a secure, reliable and affordable electricity system to power our homes, businesses and industries.
“This has never been more important – particularly as we begin our recovery from the impact of the COVID19 pandemic.
“This is why the Australian Government believes a gas-fired recovery will drive jobs and economic growth.
“We now need state and territory governments to do their part to unlock more gas for the domestic market and encourage investment in reliable generation which will put downward pressure on wholesale prices.”
The dataset is available here.