Record year for renewable energy in Australia

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A wave of large-scale renewable energy projects is resulting in record levels of investment in renewables across Australia.

According to industry peak body the Clean Energy Council (CEC), 41 renewable energy projects have been committed in 2017.

CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton said this represented an unprecedented wave of investment worth over $8 billion. In addition, this will create approximately 4,680 new direct jobs and massive economic benefits for Australian businesses.

“These 41 projects will deliver over 4,330 MW of new capacity, which is crucial to increasing supply in the energy market,” Mr Thornton said.

Unprecedented levels of private investment in solar

According to the CEC figures, private investors have committed to 26 projects currently under construction. Another 14 are expected to commence construction in 2017.

Residential solar investment

According to the CEC, investment in residential solar is booming in Australia.

“It is incredible to see the shift in conversation and action around and in the industry,” Mr Thornton said.

In addition, rooftop solar systems will deliver over 1,000 MW of capacity worth over $2 billion during 2017. Combined, this represents an unprecedented level of private investment in residential solar power generation.

Mr Thornton praised state and territory governments, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and also the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. He said that thanks to them, the 2020 Renewable Energy Target is well within reach.

Queensland and NSW are leading the solar charge

According to CEC figures, there has been six times more investment in solar in 2017 compared with 2016.

In 2016, the combined capacity from all projects completed stood at 264.1 MW. However, this year 2,210.2 MW of projects have been committed. In addition, 1,881.2 MW are now in construction with one financial quarter left.

“States like Queensland and NSW are leading the charge, with $5,403.5 million being invested in these parts of Australia alone,” Mr Thornton said.

However, he warned that a lack of a national Clean Energy Target could cool down the current investment boom.

“It’s time to lock in a long-term policy and get on with the job,” he said.

A detailed breakdown of the projects now committed can be found on the Clean Energy Council website.