Australia’s Renewable Capacity Addition Fell by Nearly a Quarter in 2022
Wind sector accounted for 1.41 GW, followed by large-scale solar at 860 MW
Australia’s renewable energy industry completed 20 large-scale projects, adding 2,257 MW of new capacity in 2022, which is 23.6% lower than in 2021, according to Clean Energy Council.
The country saw 27 projects contributing 2,955 MW in 2021.
The capacity addition declined primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and regulatory uncertainties.
However, the outlook for 2023 and beyond is optimistic. The industry is expected to see a resurgence of large-scale projects supported by favorable policies at both federal and state levels.
According to Clean Energy Council, the wind sector accounted for the newest large-scale capacity, with around 1411 MW, followed by large-scale solar at 860 MW.
In addition, 310,352 rooftop solar installations were added in 2022, providing a total capacity of 2.7 GW.
Although this decreased from 2021, when 377,408 installations were made, rooftop solar systems accounted for 25.8% of renewable energy generation and 9.3% of overall energy generation in 2022, up from 8.1% the previous year.
As of 2022, over 3.4 million homes in Australia had rooftop solar systems installed.
The Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria was the largest completed wind project, while the Suntop Solar Farm in Queensland was the largest solar project.
Both projects have a capacity of 530 MW each and are expected to generate enough electricity to power around 390,000 homes annually.
Australia has 72 renewable energy projects under construction, with a combined capacity of approximately 9.5 GW. These include 48 solar, 21 wind, and three bioenergy projects.
The wind sector was the leading contributor to renewable energy generation in 2022, accounting for 35.6% of total renewable generation, followed by rooftop solar (25.8%) and hydro (19.7%).
Large-scale solar contributed 14% to the total renewable generation, but it has the highest share in renewable generation when combined with rooftop solar.
Battery storage experienced a dip in 2022, with only 19 large-scale batteries under construction at the end of the year compared to 30 in 2021.
However, the outlook for battery storage is positive, as steady uptake of solar PV and more supportive policy conditions are expected to increase demand.
In 2022, 3.8% of clean energy was generated via bioenergy, which continues to play a useful, albeit small, role in energy generation.
Many Australian territories have set ambitious targets for renewable energy generation and emissions reductions.
New South Wales aims to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Victoria aims to generate 50% renewable energy by 2030 and legislate for 95% renewable electricity generation by 2035.
Queensland targets 70% renewable energy by 2032 and 80% by 2050. Tasmania aims to generate 150% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.
The Australian Capital Territory aims to achieve net-zero emissions and move away from gas usage completely by 2045. It has already reached its target of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources since 2020.
South Australia aims for 100% renewables by 2030 and is investing in hydrogen power projects.
The Northern Territory targets 50% renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
A joint report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Australian Energy Market Operator found that a mixture of onshore wind and solar, with a variable renewable energy share of up to 90%, remains the most affordable source of power in Australia in 2022-23 after the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to another report, Australia’s National Electricity Market states could have ample clean energy in 2025 to meet the total electricity demand of consumers in specific periods.