The latest Green Energy Markets report says renewable power levels punched through the 20 per cent market share threshold in 2018 as new wind and solar farms are built and more households install rooftop solar systems.
A boom in wind and solar power has lifted the role of renewables in Australia’s energy mix, although coal will not be displaced as the country’s main power source in the near future.
Wind, solar and hydro accounted for more than 21 per cent of all electricity generated last year. This was up from 17 per cent seen in 2017 and an enormous spike from around 8.5 per cent of all generation seen in the early 2000s.
However, coal still accounts for just over 71 per cent of Australia’s power generation.
“Snowy Hydro and Hydro Tasmania had a lot of their capacity in place by the 1970s,” Mr Edis said.
In December 2018, renewables accounted for more than 23 per cent of all electricity generated in the country that month, or enough to power 10.7 million homes. Rooftop solar alone generated around 6 per cent of Australia’s power, however, the number of new installations was down significantly compared to earlier in the year.
Renewables level of generation was also down in December compared to September 2018, when renewables accounted for 24 per cent of the grid’s power.
Year on year, wind and solar saw a large boost in generation levels.
Wind power increased by 26 per cent in 2018 after seeing very little growth in generation levels in 2017.
Rooftop solar boomed in 2018, with the number of installations nearly doubling compared to 2017.
A number of large-scale solar farms came online in 2018, generating more than 1000 megawatt hours of power for the first time, with the expectation of even more growth in 2019.