South Australia Reaches 30% Renewable Energy

Sky Image: BigStock

Electricity demand and emissions across the Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) have continued to fall throughout the year according to the pitt&sherry Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX).

Current to September 2013, CEDEX indicates electricity demand overall was down by nearly 7% from its maximum in the year to December 2008. Demand fell in every NEM state except Tasmania; where it increased by 0.3%.

The fall in demand coupled with wind, hydro and gas generation displacing coal fired power generation saw emissions down by 29 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent, a nearly 16% reduction over the same period.

South Australia remains the poster child for non-hydro renewables, with a steady growth in wind generation gradually displacing coal fired generation. In the year to September 2013, coal made up just 16% of power generation, gas 45%, wind 27% and net interconnector imports 12%.

The contribution of rooftop solar PV is not included in CEDEX, but more than 19 percent of households in South Australia have gone solar. According to a recent Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report; generation from rooftop solar power systems is expected to reach  1,119 gigawatt-hours by 2022–23, which is expected to be equivalent to 8.9% of South Australia’s annual energy use.

Commenting on the report on RenewEconomy; pitt&sherry principal consultant Hugh Sherry said if solar PV was factored into South Australia’s results, the shares would be: coal 15%, gas 43%, wind 26%, interconnector 12% and PV 4%; putting renewables at 30% overall.

South Australia has set a renewable energy production target of 33% by 2020 – and given the pace of uptake of solar panels and wind farm development; it should reach that goal well ahead of time.

CEDEX provides an early indication of key greenhouse gas emission trends in Australia. The full report is available here.


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