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Clean Energy Australia Report

Report

Report

Posted on 31 March, 2021

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The Clean Energy Australia report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian clean energy sector.

The report covers the latest key figures and statistics on the national energy market. It is the only analysis that includes the National Electricity Market, the Western Australian electricity grid and other major regional grids across the country in areas such as the Northern Territory.

Cea report 2021 solar rainbow

2020 snapshot

The growth of Australia’s renewable energy industry showed no sign of slowing in 2020 as increased support from state and territory governments saw numerous records set across the large- and small-scale sectors.

The industry passed a significant milestone in 2020, with more than a quarter of the country’s total electricity generation coming from renewable sources for the first time. Much of this was due to the small-scale solar sector, which added more than 3 GW of new capacity in 2020 to record its fourth-straight record-breaking year. The large-scale sector also contributed almost 2 GW of new capacity in 2020 as 32 projects were completed around the country.

The Australian renewable energy industry has come a long way in the past five years Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton

At the end of 2020, 76 large-scale wind and solar projects were under construction, representing more than 8 GW of new capacity and employing over 9000 Australian workers. You can view more detail on the current projects being constructed around the country on our project tracker page.

View renewable energy projects

renewable energy projects completed in 2020

32

megawatt capacity

1990

Clean energy generation

In 2020, renewable energy was responsible for 27.7 per cent of Australia's total electricity generation, the first time that more than a quarter of the country's energy came from renewable sources. This was an increase of 3.7 percentage points compared to 2019.

The small-scale solar sector added more than 3 GW of new capacity in 2020 to record its fourth-straight record-breaking year. This brought the sector's share of Australia's renewable energy generation to 23.5 per cent, pushing it past hydro into second place for the first time. Wind continued to be Australia's leading source of clean energy in 2020, accounting for 35.9 per cent of renewable generation and almost 10 per cent of total generation.

Percentage of renewable generation by technology type

    Annual electricity generation

      Percentage contribution to total annual electricity generation

        Renewable energy generation

          Renewable energy by state

          In the continued absence of federal energy policy, the states and territories took the lead in 2020, introducing a range of ambitious policies to accelerate Australia's renewable energy transition.

          Tasmania continues to be Australia's renewable energy leader, with the state producing more renewable energy than it consumed in 2020. The Tasmanian Government's target of 200 per cent renewable energy by 2040 means that the state is now looking to become a major clean energy exporter.

          South Australia again made significant progress towards its target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, sourcing just short of 60 per cent of its total electricity generation from clean energy in 2020.

          After lagging behind many of its state and territory counterparts on renewable energy policy in recent years, New South Wales vaulted into the lead in 2020 after releasing its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap that will deliver 12 GW of new transmission capacity and attract up to $32 billion in private investment.

          See how your state is tracking below.

          Renewables by state (2020)

          Hint Hover over the map to see state data

          Penetration of renewables
          24.2%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          4643
          Penetration of renewables
          59.7%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          8523
          Penetration of renewables
          16.6%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          10888
          Penetration of renewables
          21.0%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          14312
          Penetration of renewables
          27.7%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          13685
          Penetration of renewables
          99.2%
          Renewable generation (GWh)
          10866
          Total renewable generation (GWh)
          62917
          No results for this state.

          Note: The ACT is part of the NSW region and data for the NT grid is unavailable.

          Other key findings

          • 26 corporate power purchase agreements were announced in 2020, directly contracting 1.3 GW and supporting more than 4.5 GW of renewable energy generation.
          • There were 378,451 rooftop solar installations in 2020, which was the most installs ever, overtaking the previous record set back in 2012. The average system size also passed 8 kW for the first time in 2020, while the industry's 3 GW of installed capacity easily beat the previous record of 2.2 GW set in 2019.
          • The battery storage sector rose to prominence in 2020, with 16 utility-scale batteries under construction at the end of 2020, representing more than 595 MW of new capacity. Australian households also installed 23,796 small-scale batteries with a combined capacity of 238 MWh in 2020.
          • Several noteworthy steps were taken in 2020 to develop Australia's emerging renewable hydrogen industry, all but confirming the technology as Australia's next big export opportunity. The most significant of these was hydrogen's inclusion in the Federal Government's Technology Investment Roadmap.

          Download the full Clean Energy Australia Report 2021.