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Australian Energy Market

Renewable energy targets have become a defining aspect of the global energy environment. As of mid-2015, 164 countries had set at least one form of renewable energy target, up nearly fourfold from 43 countries in 2005. Developing and emerging economies took the lead, accounting for 131 of the 164 countries with targets in place.

Renewable energy targets can take a variety of shapes, and they're frequently incorporated into integrated sector-level resource plans, national renewable energy action plans, and broader national development plans.

Renewable energy target setting provides a global overview of many renewable energy targets and pulls together policy-design perspectives from various countries. This article will look at Australia's Renewable Energy Target and progress towards achieving it.

Modern Clean Energy And Electrical Market

The electrical market is in the middle of a major transformation. Renewable energy and clean energy technologies will play an essential role in the modern and dynamic electrical market. Clean energy technology innovation is critical for Australia's economic development and contribution to global efforts to reduce emissions. Thus, the Australian government is promoting renewable energy regulators across the board.

Overview Of Renewable Energy Target

Australia generates most of its electricity from coal and gas-fired power plants. A variety of renewable energy sources are also generating electricity and increasing day by day. These include hydroelectric facilities and wind farms, as well as solar rooftop panels to power homes and businesses.

The Renewable Energy Target is an Australian government initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the electrical sector and encouraging the use of sustainable and renewable energy sources. The renewable energy target operates by allowing both large-scale power plants and small-scale system owners to create large-scale generating certificates and small-scale technology certificates for every megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

Energy retailers then purchase certificates and submit them to the Clean Energy Regulator to fulfil their legal requirements under the Renewable Energy Target. This establishes a market that rewards both large-scale renewable energy power plants and small-scale renewable energy system owners with financial incentives.

Schemes For Renewable Energy Targets

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) program promotes renewable electricity generation. Its goal is to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. This program consists of two schemes.

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target Scheme

The LRET (Large-scale Renewable Energy Target) encourages investment in renewable energy generating plants like:

  • Solar and wind farms
  • Hydroelectric power plants

For the qualified renewable electricity they produce, these power plants can generate large-scale generating certificates (LGCs). They can sell LGCs to liable organisations (primarily electricity retailers) or businesses who seek to demonstrate renewable energy use for non-commercial purposes.

Each year, liable entities are required to purchase a specific percentage of power from renewable sources. They comply by purchasing LGCs and handing them over to the Clean Energy Regulator.

Small-Scale Renewable Energy Target Scheme

Households and companies are encouraged to construct small-scale renewable energy systems under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). These include:

  • Solar panels on the roof
  • Water heaters powered by the sun
  • Wind or hydropower systems on a small scale

When an eligible system is deployed, system owners can create small-scale technology certificates (STCs). The following may be eligible for certificates:

  • Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels
  • Turbines powered by wind
  • Hydroelectric systems
  • Solar water heaters
  • Heat pumps with an air source

Expected Renewable Energy Growth Rate

With the anticipated capacity expansions, it was believed that Australia would exceed its 33,000 GWh large-scale renewable energy target by 2020. Going forward, renewables can progressively take over the electrical sector if their growth pace is maintained:

  • By 2025, the percentage will have risen to 50%.
  • By the early 2030s, 100% will have been achieved.

Australia would install 2,000 megawatts of large-scale solar farms, 1,600 megawatts of small-scale solar systems, and 2,000 megawatts of wind turbines each year. According to the ANU study team, capacity factors are 21%, 15%, and 40%.

Paris Agreement

The rise of renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions quickly, and the Australian electricity sector might cut emissions by 26% by 2022. Australia is expected to fulfill the Paris Agreement objective of a 26% reduction in emissions for the entire economy a few years later, between 2024 and 2025.

The Paris Agreement is based on 2005 emissions of 612 Megatons per year in Australia. This figure needs to drop to 453 MT/year to achieve a 26% reduction.

Emissions had fallen to 534 MT/year by 2017. Australia can satisfy the Paris Agreement by reducing emissions by an additional 81 MT/year by 2025 if renewable energy continues to expand at its current rate.

Other Sectors

Although electricity is not Australia's only source of emissions, other sectors like transportation and heating are more complex and costly to decarbonise. As a result, the ideal plan is to concentrate on the power sector, where emission reductions may be accomplished more quickly and at a lower cost.

Energy Storage And Grid Reliability

According to the Energy Change Institute, network dependability and energy storage are critical in Australia's transition to 100% achievement of renewable energy targets. Wind turbines and solar panels can produce low-cost electricity, but they rely on changeable inputs, necessitating energy storage to meet demand.

Improved network links between Australian states are also required to ensure that electricity is delivered to the point of usage at all times. Over 97% of electricity supply interruptions in Australia are due to network issues, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

Australia's Top Three Solar Energy Projects

The Australian continent on average receives the most solar radiation per square metre of any continent, making it the world's best solar energy source. Fortunately, the country is seizing this opportunity to alter the course of history.

Over 22,000 jobs in the solar sector were available in 2020. Projects for 109 solar power stations worth $35 billion are planned over the next five years. South Australia (SA), Queensland (QLD), and New South Wales (NSW) are the states that spend the most in this industry. Here are some of Australia's top solar energy projects:


Sun Cable's main project, AAPowerLink, intends to establish the world's first transcontinental power grid, connecting Australia and Asia (Singapore) to supply renewable energy 24/7.

With a 5,000-kilometre transmission system connecting Darwin and Singapore, this project might be the world's largest solar farm, battery storage, and undersea cable facility.

The AAPowerLink project would combine a 17-20 GWp solar farm with a 30 GWh battery storage system, resulting in 1500 construction employments and 350 permanent positions. The building phase will begin in 2023.

Desailly Renewable Energy Park

Desailly Renewable Energy Park is a large combined solar and wind energy hybrid project located 75 kilometres northwest of Mareeba and 55 kilometres west of Port Douglas in North Queensland.

This park will have 250 megawatts of solar PV and 300 megawatts of wind turbines. DP Energy is working on the project, which will include battery storage. The project still needs a lot of time for its development.

Riverland Solar Farm and Storage

This project will contain more than 3 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries, having a capacity of 330MW solar power and 100MW battery storage near Morgan, South Australia.

During particularly hot periods when air conditioners are turned on, the demand for power in South Australia can more than double that of an average day. The project proposed by Lyon Group is intended to offer additional generation to satisfy peak demand. The Riverland Solar Farm and Storage project is still on hold, with a completion date of 2022.

Australia's Top Three Wind Energy Projects

Australia offers vast potential for using wind to generate energy and reduce emissions. Over 20 new wind power stations are currently under construction in Australia, providing 8000 jobs.

In addition, 68 wind projects worth $40 billion are planned over the next five years. New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Victoria (Vic), and South Australia (SA) are the states that spend the most in this area. Australia's top wind energy projects include:

MacIntyre Wind Farm

The MacIntyre Wind Farm is one of the world's largest power stations onshore, with construction set to begin in 2022 to be completed in 2024. ACCIONA and CleanCo will develop the project in Queensland, supporting the government's decarbonisation policy. With a capacity of 1,026 MW, this wind farm will provide enough energy to power 700,000 homes while avoiding 3 million tons of CO2 emissions and creating 400 new jobs.

Star of the South

Star of the South is one of Australia's first offshore wind power stations, located off the coast of Victoria's Gippsland. This would generate up to 2.2 GW, which is enough to power more than 1 million houses.  Site investigations and environmental studies continue for Star of the South, which is still in the early stages of development.

However, the project includes a cable and substation transmission network to connect the offshore wind farm to the Latrobe Valley. Around 2,000 direct jobs are expected in Victoria during its lifetime, including 760 construction jobs in Gippsland and 200 ongoing local jobs once it's up and running.

Golden Plains Wind Farm

This onshore wind project will be located within the Golden Plains Shire to the south, southeast, and west of Rokewood. It will consist of up to 228, 3-5 MW wind turbines, generating over 3500 GWh of power per year.

It generates enough electricity to power over 500,000 homes and prevents over 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. The Golden Plains Wind Farm is currently in the development stages and will be finished in 2025.

What Is ARENA?

ARENA provides grant funding for renewable energy technology research and development and early-stage commercialisation to improve their competitiveness and availability in Australia.

  • ARENA has granted $1.81 billion in grant financing to 612 projects as of November 10, 2021.
  • The government also announced an investment package in future technologies on September 17, 2020.

This package contains the following items:

  • ARENA will receive an additional $1.62 billion to invest in the next generation of energy technologies.
  • ARENA and the CEFC focus more on new technologies to reduce emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry, and transportation.

The Renewable Energy Revolution

Clearly, renewable energy is well on its way to being widely adopted across Australia, and the Renewable Energy Target is instrumental in seeing this come to pass. Renewable energy poses great benefits for the atmosphere, and if you've been thinking of transitioning to renewable energy, now is the best time to do so.

A great place to begin is with solar energy, the more commonly used renewable energy source. You can contact a solar panel installer to get started.