While the government continued to trash Australia’s international reputation by reaffirming allegiance to coal on the global stage, lying about progress on our climate commitments and dismissing the findings of the landmark IPCC report, the transformation in our electricity sector tells a different and hopeful story.
Attacks by the former prime minister Tony Abbott and his environment minister Greg Hunt on the renewable energy target, and the investment strike that followed, are a fading memory. Momentum is now unstoppable.
In the three years from 2018 Australia will install a little over 12 gigawatts of renewable, as much as was installed in the 30 years after the country’s first wind farm opened at Salmon Beach in Western Australia in 1987.
Since 2017, 19 new wind farms and 30 new solar farms have been registered and in early December the two millionth Australian household went solar. Once derided as insignificant, solar supplied more than 7% of Australia’s power over the past three months.
A little over a decade ago, when just 5.2% of our power was from renewable s, the Rudd government was swept into office with an aspirational pledge of “20% by 2020”. That target has been met two years early, and analysts Green Energy Markets predict one-third of our power will be from clean energy by 2021.