So a new report landed on our desk here at SmartNow Towers this morning… this time from the Clean Energy Council.
Renewable energy provided almost 10% of Australia’s electricity in the last 12 months, according to a report released overnight at the UN climate negotiations in Durban.
The 2011 Clean Energy Australia report, produced by the Clean Energy Council, also found that more than half a million household solar power systems were now installed on Australian rooftops – around 35 times the amount just three years ago at the end of 2008.
Key findings from the report include:
- Renewable energy produced 9.6% of Australia’s electricity in the 12 months from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2011.
- Hydro accounted for 67% of the total.
- As of August 2011, 1031 MW of solar power was installed in Australia – representing more than 500,000 household systems. More than 230,000 of these were installed between January and August this year.
- Investment figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show that the Australian clean energy market was worth $5.2 billion in the 2010-11 financial year.
- More than 8000 people are directly employed in the installation, construction and maintenance of clean energy assets, but this doesn’t include thousands more who are employed in administration, project management, sales, etc.
We think this is great news. It’s not that we think that generating 2.3% of Australia’s energy requirements by scattering solar panels on every roof top is going to be the answer to everything (indeed it isn’t because the residential solar market across the whole country is in crisis due to the ending of various Feed-In Tariff offers).
What we see here is a lot of capacity that has been installed that will directly reduce household load on the grid, particularly during times when aircon load is at it’s maximum. We consider that residential solar is a small part of the overall solution, and we are pleased to see that an estimated 680 GWh per year is generated by all forms of solar PV.
What we’d like to see next is the low-hanging fruit that is energy efficiency tackled in a co-ordinated and meaningful way at the Federal level. We believe that the most cost effective way to take Australia towards the 2020 target of 20% renewable energy is not by immediately installing more solar / wind / hydro, etc., but rather by simply increasing efficiency.
A 10% reduction in overall energy consumption would increase the total percentage of renewable energy to 10.7% – without installing a single solar panel or turbine. That’s the equivalent of installing almost 250,000 household PV systems.
Now, please don’t get us wrong – we’re strongly in favour of renewable energy. However, what’s the point in investing in renewable power generation if that power is being wasted? Energy efficiency must be included in the mix of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, etc., and indeed it will make the government’s targets considerably easier to hit.
The full report can be found here: http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/resourcecentre/reports.html