Australia powers ahead with coal-to-renewables transition

Solar Farm located in Port Augusta, SA, Australia

Australia is powering ahead with its strategy to phase out coal as its primary energy source and replace it with renewable energy and storage.

The latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) shows that renewable generation from all sources has reached 39.1%, with grid-scale solar up 18% against the first quarter of 2023, to 2,164 MW. Smaller scale rooftop solar was up 10%. Wind energy rose 5%.

Australia’s transition strategy is being driven by multiple factors. Climate change effects, including droughts, floods, fires are not only causing increasing devastation: they are pushing up demand for electricity.

There is also widespread recognition that harnessing Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources from solar, wind, hydro, wave and tides will result in lower long-term consumer costs.

As we have reported in previous bulletins, the cornerstone of Australia transition is the creation of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) – large areas embracing whatever renewable energy sources are available locally. They are designed to replace fossil-fuelled power stations directly and will be linked by new inter-state grids.

The plan to make energy storage an integral part of REZs is already taking effect. Output from grid-scale batteries continues to grow, up a massive 134% year-on-year to reach a quarterly average of 53 MW.

Australia’s transition strategy also recognises the significant role that consumers can play in its ‘whole energy system’ approach. The growing adoption of domestic rooftop solar and standalone batteries, together with energy stored in electric vehicles, are all seen as part of the drive towards a low carbon future.