The sources used to power the grid was mostly wind and solar, surprising 50% for the first time ever. The National Electricity Market powers Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia. Rooftop solar power provided 23.7%, wind 15.7%, large scale solar 8.8% and hydro at 1.9%.
The milestone moment was spotted via an online tool called OpenNEM that is designed to monitor the grid using real-time data.
The tool also revealed the most used type of energy was coal at 35.7% and brown coal plants at 13.5%.
Dylan McConnell, of the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College and who helped develop the tool, said:
We will start to see this happening more frequently. It was just a snapshot in time, but it’s indicative of an underlying trend in the system.
McConnell noted that the spring months tend to report higher use of renewable energy as there is not a high demand due to people wanting to cool or heat homes.
This noteworthy event is a reflection of Australia’s commitment to green energy and renewable energy deployment that is gaining more and more investment.
Last year a report from Clean Energy Regulator revealed that 2m solar systems have been installed next to 3.5 gigawatts of large renewables projects accredited against Australia’s 2020 renewable energy target.
Due to this and other projects, Australia is now ahead of schedule to meet the target of 33,000-gigawatt-hours of renewables generation by 2020.
Chief executive of the renewable energy industry’s Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, comments:
It is a fantastic achievement to have more than half of the National Electricity Market powered by renewable energy, and it’s worth celebrating. A decade from now it will be completely normal as more renewable energy and storage projects are built to replace retiring coal-fired power stations…
At the beginning of the decade South Australia’s power system ran on more than 50 percent wind and solar for the first time, but today it happens all the time. Renewables and storage can do everything our old coal plants can do, just cheaper, cleaner and more reliably.
Image source by Vox