New analysis from the Clean Energy Council has found that 2017 will have the largest number of large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia since the Snowy Hydro Scheme.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said more than 2250MW of new large-scale renewable energy would be under construction in 2017, the most since the Snowy Hydro Scheme more than 50 years ago – one of the most iconic nation-building projects in Australian history.
“We are set for a huge 2017, with more than 20 projects either under construction or which have secured funding and will go to construction this year,” Mr Thornton said.
“This investment is occurring due to the extraordinary cost reductions achieved in renewable energy, underpinned by the bipartisan support for the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) as well as support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and various initiatives of state and territory governments.
“Given the nature of renewable energy projects, regional parts of the country will benefit from many of these job opportunities, while the projects will provide flow-on benefits to the many different businesses involved.
“This new wind and solar power will help our system cope during periods where everyone is using electricity. As we saw in New South Wales during the heatwaves a few days ago, every generator counts when the heat is on.”
The figures show Queensland and New South Wales will benefit strongly in 2017 from wind and large-scale solar, with projects also firing up in South Australia and Victoria. State and territory governments have been instrumental in bringing much of this investment forward and restoring confidence to the sector.
Mr Thornton said investors are flocking back to the renewable energy sector following several years of destabilisation under the Abbott Government.
“Investment confidence has rebounded and our economy is set to reap the benefits through a massive increase in activity between now and the end of the decade,” Mr Thornton said.
“Renewable energy is now the cheapest type of new energy generation that it is possible to build today, we have a strong program of works, and Australians are very much on board with the transition of our energy sector to one which is smarter and cleaner.
“However, clarity on long-term energy policy and support for renewable energy beyond 2020 will be essential to ensure these levels of investment are sustained.”