Australia is on its way to becoming a world leader in terms of renewable energy, according to recent figures.
Australia’s first ever renewable energy index, put together by Green Energy Markets, shows that renewable sources currently provide enough electricity to power 70% of Australia’s homes. This figure is expected to jump to 90% once new wind farms and solar projects come to completion.
“Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, are now beginning to emerge as a significant source of power,” Said Tristan Edis, Director of analysis at Green Energy Markets
The report, which is the first of its kind, showed that hydroelectricity remained the biggest source of renewable energy, followed by wind and then solar panels. The figures also showed that renewable energy made up 17% of the total electrical supply in Australia, with much of the country’s industry relying on more traditional means. This is still encouraging however considering renewable sources accounted for just 7% of the country’s consumption a decade ago.
“The renewable energy sector has staged a remarkable recovery, after investment completely dried-up under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott,” said Mr Edis, in an interview with the Guardian.
He went on to say that investors had “recovered their confidence under Malcolm Turnbull” and that the report indicated renewable energy sources could become a “significant source of power”.
The report went on to mention the role that the renewable energy market is playing in job creation across the country. By the end of June there were 46 renewable energy projects being undertaken and these had created 8,868 full time jobs. By the end of July this number had grown to 10,000.
Considering the country is known as one of the sunniest places on the planet it is not hard to see how solar power accounts for 20% of the total renewable electricity produced. Over 150,000 solar panels were installed on residential rooves this year alone and they provide enough electricity to power 226,000 houses. On top of this the installation and maintenance of these panels has helped in the creation of 3,769 full time jobs.
The environmental impact that this revolution is having is staggering, during the period the report has gathered data on, Australia cut out over 24 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions. To put things in perspective this is the equivalent of permanently taking 8 million cars off the roads.
Miriam Lyon’s, who is the energy campaign director for Getup, the company responsible for funding the research of the index said: “everyday Australians are voting with their rooftops.”
She went on: “Who do we have to thank for the renewables boom? Certainly not the federal government.”
Instead, she argued, the victory was down to independent efforts of “everyday Australians” clubbing together to do their bit, and “push[ing] their state governments into showing some leadership on clean energy.”
Australia is currently on target to achieve its renewable energy goal of having 20% of all of its energy supplied through renewable means.