Aussie’s Transition Into Renewable Energy Age

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Adelaide Airport, where solar PVs are installed on the roof, resulting from solar feed-in-tariff introduced by Premier Mike Rann (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Due to our previous post on Darwin’s Blackout, let’s take a look at some of the recent developments of Renewable Energy policies in Australia.

Back in 2006, about 9,500 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of Australian electricity came from renewable sources, representing less than 4% of  nationally generated electricity. By 2011, that number moved up to approximately 29,302 GWh and to 29,678 GWh by 2012, representing 13.14% of the total production in Australia.

Similar to many other countries, government policy in response to concern for climate change, energy independence, and economic stimulus has been the driving force behind encouraging the development of renewable energy. A key policy that has been in place since 2001 to encourage large-scale renewable energy development is a mandatory renewable energy target (MRET), which in 2010 was increased to 41,000 GWh of renewable generation from power stations. There is also the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, an uncapped scheme to support rooftop solar power and solar hot water and several State schemes providing feed-in tariffs to encourage photovoltaics. In 2012, these policies have been supplemented by a carbon price and a 10 billion-dollar fund to finance renewable energy projects.

Based on a survey result indicated in Angus Reid Global Monitor (June 25, 2007), there is/was considerable public support for the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Australia.

It has also been suggested that with sufficient public and private sector investment and government policy certainty, Australia could switch entirely to renewable energy within a decade by building additional large-scale solar and wind power developments, upgrading to transmission infrastructure and introduction of appropriate energy efficiency measures.

The amount of installed PV capacity in Australia has increased 10-fold between 2009 and 2011. Feed-in-tariffs and mandatory renewable energy targets specifically designed to assist renewable energy commercialization in Australia have largely been responsible for the rapid increase.  In South Australia, Premier Mike Rann introduced a solar feed in tariff for households and an educational program that involved installing photovoltaics on the roofs of major public buildings such as the Adelaide Airport, State Parliament, Museum, Art Gallery and several hundred public schools. In 2008 Premier Rann announced funding for $8 million worth of solar panels on the roof of the new Goyder Pavilion at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, the largest roof top solar installation in Australia, qualifying it for official “power station” status. South Australia has the highest per capita take up of household solar power in Australia. The first commercial-scale PV power plant was opened in 2011, the Uterne Solar Power Station, a 1MW capacity grid-connected solar photovoltaic system located 5 km south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The second opened in 2012 at Greenough River Solar Farm with a capacity of 10 MW. The price of photovoltaics has been decreasing, and in January of 2013, was less than half the cost of using grid electricity in Australia.

A closer look at some of the incentive policies mentioned above will be presented in the following posts.

Related article/site below:

http://ret.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/

http://www.adelaideairport.com.au/assets/pdfs/sustainability/factsheets/AAL_Solar_display_fact_Sheet.pdf

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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