Renewable energy is on the rise in Australia, generating more electricity than brown coal over the 2017-2018 summer period.
A report commissioned by GetUp has found that renewable energy produced 40 percent more energy than gas, outperforming the energy giant for the third year in a row.
The closure of Victorian facilities such as Hazelwood has seen the state’s reliance on sustainable energy sources put to the test as Victorians endured their first summer without the brown coal plant.
Wind, solar, hydro and biofuels are the prominent contributors to Australia’s renewable energy market, producing more electricity between 9am and 5pm than Hazelwood was ever capable of producing.
These energy sources are delivering power in the peak hours of summer when Australians need it most, between 11am and 7pm, according to Green Energy Markets’ February Renewable Energy Index.
Between these hours renewables were generating 5610 megawatts on average – 32 percent more than brown coal power output and 78 percent more than gas power.
“Solar is coming in right when we needed it and then as it tails off that hydro comes in in the late afternoon peak between 4pm and 7pm,” Tristan Edis, director of Green Energy Markets, told The Financial Review.
The green energy sector still fell short of the electricity being produced by black coal.
However, GetUp’s campaign director, Miriam Lyons, said the latest report shows that renewable energy was keeping the lights on while coal became increasingly unreliable.
“Over summer, renewables kept houses cool and lights on during peak demand times when people needed electricity most,” Lyons told The Guardian. “Meanwhile dirty old coal plants are becoming increasingly unreliable in the heat.”
“These ageing clunkers failed 36 times over summer.”
Despite these promising numbers, the pattern is unlikely to be replicated across the winter period with solar power production becoming less reliable.