A record year: In 2021, renewables delivered 5x more electricity than gas

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RENEWABLE ENERGY WILL SUPPLY FIVE times more electricity to Australia’s largest grid than gas in 2021, according to new data from the Climate Council.

Renewable energy hit record highs in all mainland states in 2021, while national gas production fell again, falling to its lowest level in more than 15 years in the National Electricity Market (NEM) despite virtually unchanged electricity demand. Tasmania matched its previous record of 99.9 percent wind, water and sun in 2021

“The growth of solar, wind and batteries in our electricity system is making electricity bills cheaper for Australian homes and businesses. electricity is now the Cheaper than it has been in almost a decade and we have the sun and wind to thank for that,” he said Climate Council Senior Researcher, Tim Baxter.

“To be clear, this record has nothing to do with the federal government, which has failed to act and has left all the heavy lifting to the states and territories.”

“Looking at the data and the impact of renewable energy on Australians’ fanny packs, the Morrison government’s push for gas seems increasingly irresponsible and economically reckless.

“This week, the federal government approved its Kurri Kurri gas-fired power plant, even though it makes no economic sense.”

In NSW, gas provided just 1.5 per cent of the state’s electricity, the lowest level in 15 years.

Greg Bourne, climate adviser, energy expert and former president of BP Australasia said: “Every taxpayer dollar spent on new gas-fired power infrastructure risks being wasted on unnecessary lost assets.”

“Gas just can’t compete with renewable energy, which lowers electricity prices for consumers and creates a cleaner, healthier energy system.”

“We’re also seeing a similar trend towards clean energy on the other side of Australia, on WA’s largest grid, where in 2021, for the first time ever, renewable energy overtook gas to become the state’s largest source of electricity. This is incredibly important given that renewable energy generation in WA has more than doubled in just three years,” said the former Western Australian.

Renewable energy generation rose nearly 20 per cent in the NEM in 2021, with a 30 per cent jump in Victoria and a 26 per cent jump in Western Australia. In South Australia, gas production plummeted to its lowest level in more than two decades, while in Victoria it plummeted a whopping 30 percent in just 12 months.

“Why is the Morrison government investing in gas-fired power plants when the need for gas in our electricity system is clearly disappearing?” said Mr. Bourne.

“Gas is expensive, polluting, and diminishing in importance and relevance as the rest of the world moves towards net zero and our own states and territories are rapidly adopting large-scale renewable energy and storage.”

Further information:

The National Electricity Market (NEM) is Australia’s largest electricity grid and supplies most of Australia’s electricity. It is an interconnected system that delivers power across Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, as well as most of the larger populated regions of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. The generation of ACT is accounted for within the NSW total.

OpenNEM is an open source platform that displays power generation data. This data covers the period from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. You can see the data here. The Climate Council has recently started working with the OpenNEM team to extend the site’s functionality, which was recently added Australianand global Greenhouse gas emissions data tools.

Status Renewable energy production in 2021 Gas power generation in 2021
National Electricity Market 31.4% 5.7%
Tasmania 99.9% 0.1%
South Australia 65.7% 33.5%
Victoria 31.6% 1.8%
NSW 24.6% 1.5%
Queensland 18.5% 8.7%
Western Australia (South West Interconnected System only) 32.2% 29.8%

For interviews please contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Hannah Izzard on 0475 247 754

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded communications organization on climate change. We provide authoritative, knowledgeable and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers and the broader Australian community.

For more information, see: klimarat.org.au

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