Renew­able ener­gy hit what may be a record lev­el of renew­able ener­gy on grid demand in the ear­ly after­noon on East­er Sat­ur­day, when the com­bined out­put of rooftop solar, large scale wind and solar and hydro pow­er account­ed for 50.4 per cent of net load.

The 50 per cent share of renew­ables – which even the fed­er­al Coali­tion gov­ern­ment now con­ced­ed will be an annu­al aver­age” by 2030, rather than a fig­ure reached dur­ing a point in time – was attained just after noon on East­er Sat­ur­day, tra­di­tion­al­ly a time of low demand, and per­haps more so giv­en the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mile­stone – which beats the 50.2 per cent share reached in Novem­ber last year – was flagged by one read­er in an email titled the day the sky didn’t fall and I roast­ed a chicken”.

The chart below, sourced from Open​NEM​.org​.au, shows a share of rooftop solar at 22.5 per cent, large scale solar at 9.3 per cent, large scale wind at 17.7 per cent, and hydro at 2.2 per cent, at 12.05pm. The share of renew­ables was fair­ly con­sis­tent around 50 per cent for about half an hour and half an after that time, but that appears to be the peak 5 minute interval.

Between the renew­ables and the fos­sil fuels, more than enough elec­tric­i­ty was being pro­duced to meet the cur­rent demand of Australia’s consumers’s both big and small – on the main grid (which com­pris­es only the east­ern states and South Aus­tralia, and not W.A, the NT and oth­er iso­lat­ed grid.

But stor­age was account­ing for near­ly 4 per cent of demand, par­tic­u­lar­ly pumped hydro and to a less­er extend bat­tery stor­age, so renew­ables were pro­vid­ing 50.5 per cent of net demand” at this point of time.

Of the indi­vid­ual states, South Aus­tralia was doing best with renew­ables con­tribut­ing 108 per cent of local demand and export­ing its excess to Vic­to­ria. That state in turn, was pro­duc­ing 56 per cent of local demand from renew­ables, but was export­ing a lot of excess capac­i­ty to both Tas­ma­nia and NSW.

NSW and Queens­land, tra­di­tion­al­ly the most coal depen­dent states, were both pro­duc­ing 40 per cent of local demand through renew­ables, although Queens­land was export­ing a small amount and NSW was import­ing. Tas­ma­nia was also import­ing a lot at the time, which it tends to do dur­ing the day­time hours, and exports more at night-time.

The Coali­tion gov­ern­ment had, before and dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, described the goal of 50 per cent renew­ables by 2030 (aver­aged over a whole year) as reck­less” and econ­o­my-destroy­ing, but has now qui­et­ly dialled in exact­ly that num­ber under its assump­tions for emis­sions reduc­tions to meet the country’s mod­est Paris targets.

Envi­ron­men­tal groups argue that the pace of tran­si­tion to renew­ables should be much faster.

Cli­mate­Works last week released an update of its Decar­bon­i­sa­tion Futures report which showed that a lev­el of at least 74 per cent renew­ables by 2030 was need­ed so that Aus­tralia could achieved a ful­ly decar­bonised grid, and reduc­tions in trans­port and build­ings and man­u­fac­tur­ing, as an impor­tant inter­im step to reach either a 2°C or even a 1.5°C target.

Aus­tralia has aver­aged around 24 per cent renew­ables in its main grid over the past 12 months, accord­ing to the Open­NEm data.

Full arti­cle: https://​renewe​con​o​my​.com​.au/​a​u​s​t​r​a​l​i​a​-​r​e​n​e​w​a​b​l​e​s​-​h​i​t​-​50​-​o​f​-​m​a​i​n​-​g​r​i​d​s​-​n​e​t​-​d​e​m​a​n​d​-​o​n​-​e​a​s​t​e​r​-​s​a​t​u​r​d​a​y​-​91084/