WA leading the way in Australia’s solar success story

Australian GovernmentAdvertiser Content
Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid, Leinster, Western Australia.
Camera IconAgnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid, Leinster, Western Australia. Credit: csfoto/EDL.

Blessed with an abundance of natural resources – more sun than anywhere else in the world and ample land – Australia’s renewable energy potential abounds.

We have the highest uptake of household solar in the world; we deploy solar PV at more than 10 times the global per capita average. With over one in four homes having solar panels and three million small-scale solar photovoltaic systems installed by households and businesses across the nation, Australia’s rooftop solar capacity is greater than the nation’s largest power station.

Solar energy has already made a major contribution to Australia’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – 20 per cent since 2005 – while the economy grew by 45 per cent. Solar and other renewable technologies are on track to provide 61 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation by 2030. But there’s more to be done for Australia to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

AUSTRALIA’S PLAN

Ultra low-cost solar generation is a priority for the Australian Government under the nation’s Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan.

The goal is to generate electricity from solar at $15 per MWh, or about one-third of current costs. This, combined with adequate, affordable storage capability, will help us to meet our 2050 targets.

If we reach our goal, ultra low-cost solar could underpin the cheapest electricity in history.

POWERING AHEAD

WA is leading the way with Australia’s largest renewable microgrid – a 56MW solar, wind and battery project developed by EDL, a leading global producer of sustainable distributed energy at Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine.

The ground-breaking microgrid combines five wind turbines, a solar farm and a battery energy storage system. The microgrid powers the mine with an average of 50–60 per cent renewable energy, achieving up to 85 per cent in favourable weather conditions. The project is supported by a $13.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

EDL Chief Executive Officer James Harman said since they completed the microgrid in May 2020, it has been powering Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine with clean, reliable renewable energy.

“As the energy transition continues at pace, our ultimate goal is 100 per cent renewables and we look forward to continuing our work to make this a reality,” Mr Harman said.

From micro to macro, solar can work on any scale. Regional and remote communities are exploring opportunities for solar to provide cheap, reliable and low emissions electricity through government funded programs. At the other end of the spectrum, we are seeing massive investment in large scale projects like Sun Cable’s proposal to build the $30 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink. The project aims to build the world’s first intercontinental power grid, connecting Australia to Singapore to supply 24/7 renewable power.

PRIORITY TECHNOLOGIES

Ultra low-cost solar is one of six technologies Australia is prioritising to help us achieve a low emissions future. The others are:

Clean hydrogen: a future low emissions fuel for homes, vehicles and industry.

Energy storage: storing large amounts of electricity in batteries so it can used when and where it is needed.

Low emissions materials: industry will reduce emissions by producing steel and aluminium with low emissions technologies.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS): a proven, safe technology that can permanently store emissions from heavy industries and can contribute to making clean hydrogen from fossil fuels.

Affordable soil carbon measurement: more farmers are taking steps to store carbon in their soil, making soils healthier and increasing productivity.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Australia’s natural resources and ingenuity are already helping to shape a prosperous, low emissions future for all Australians and there’s more to come. Learn more about how Australia is making positive energy and building our solar success story by visiting the website.

This content has been produced and supplied by the Australian Government as Advertiser Content. The West Australian’s editorial team were not involved in the creation of the content.

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