Solar & wind help SA ‘blow past’ renewables target ahead of schedule

South Australia has not only met its legislated target of 50 per cent renewable energy eight years ahead of schedule, it is literally blowing past it, the Australian Energy Regulator has found.

According to the AER’s state of the energy market report released last week, large scale wind power and rooftop solar PV have reached a combined 57 per cent of the state’s total generation in the first nine months of 2016/17.

Wind power, in particular, has been a major contributor to this, jumping from 38 per of the state’s demand in 2015/16 to about 43 per cent in calendar 2016, and even further in 2016/17 as new wind farms including Snowtown and Hornsdale came on line.

“In the nine months to 31 March 2017, the contribution of wind generation was even greater, supplying 50 per cent of South Australia’s electricity,” the AER says.

Meanwhile, the state’s 728MW of rooftop solar contributed 7.6 per cent of South Australia’s annual energy requirements in 2015–16, taking the state up to at least 57 per cent for the nine months to the end of March.

That figure is expected to continue to rise, as households and businesses continue to add rooftop solar, and as the third 109MW stage of the Hornsdale wind project comes on line.

Over the next year, the 220MW Bungala solar project and the 212MW Lincoln Gap wind farm, both near Port Augusta, will also come on line, taking the state up towards 65 per cent renewables, and there are numerous other projects said to be near the point of financial close.

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