The latest official estimates of Australia’s electricity generation in 2018-19 and calendar year 2019 have now been published.
The Australian Energy Statistics for electricity generation cover all electricity generation in Australia, including by power plants and by businesses and households for their own use.
The new data outlines that total electricity generation in Australia was estimated to be 265,117-gigawatt-hours (GWh) in calendar year 2019.
Renewable sources contributed 55,481 GWh (21 per cent) of total electricity generation in 2019, an increase of 12 per cent compared with 2018.
The largest source of renewable generation was wind (7 per cent of total generation) followed by solar (7 per cent) and hydro (5 per cent).
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the increase in renewable generation was driven by record levels of new investment, with 6.3 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity delivered in 2019 and a similar level expected to be delivered in 2020.
“Australia continues to be a world leader in renewable energy, with ongoing increases in renewable capacity and generation,” the Minister said.
Gas-fired generation also grew to account for 21 per cent of Australia’s total generation. This was largely driven by growth in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said the data showed the critical role natural gas plays in the electricity market by enabling more renewable power generation to be integrated into the grid and keeping it stable and reliable.
“These results underline the critical contribution of Australia’s oil and gas industry,” Mr McConville said.
“Natural gas allows for more renewables to be integrated into the grid due to its short response time. Gas-fired power generation can ramp up and down very quickly to support renewable generation and provide emissions reduction along with it,” he said.
“South Australia is a great example of an area where gas and renewables work side-by-side to deliver lower-emissions energy. The state gets about half of its power from gas and the rest from solar and wind.”
“Experts in Australia and globally have repeatedly suggested the quickest way to reduce emissions from the electricity sector is to switch traditional generation with natural gas-powered generation which has less than half the emissions associated with it.”
Mr McConville said amid the economic uncertainty arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s oil and gas industry is helping ensure the lights are kept on at home, and our businesses, hospitals and other public facilities operating, by continuing to deliver energy to the domestic market.
“With exploration at record low levels, low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic meaning both gas demand and gas supply face challenges, the statistics reinforces how vital it is for all governments to support developing new gas supplies as quickly and as cheaply as possible.”