Record 5GW of new solar and wind underway – and big batteries are getting bigger

Lake bonney batteryLake bonney battery

In 2022, the Australian renewable energy industry started construction on more than 5GW of new wind and solar farms, a new report has revealed – the highest year for new renewable construction commitments on record.

The latest Clean Energy Australia report from the Clean Energy Council on Tuesday paints a picture of where Australia is at on renewable energy and associated infrastructure at the end of 2022.

In 2022, the CEC says 20 projects were completed, 11 of them solar farms and seven wind farms. The
remaining two are the Shark Lake combined solar-wind project and the McCain Ballarant hybrid solar-biomass plant.

Australia’s wind sector contributed the highest amount of new large-scale generation capacity, at around 1411MW, and large-scale solar followed with 860MW.

The report says the largest completed wind project for the year was was massive 532MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in Victoria, while the largest solar project completed was the Suntop solar farm in NSW at 150MW.

All up, the total number of large-scale renewables projects completed in 2022 was down compared to 2021, but the number of projects under construction or financially committed at the end of 2022 was up – at 72, compare to 66 at the end of 2021.

Of these projects, 48 are solar, and 21 are wind, with another three projects being bioenergy ventures.

In the wind pipeline – which is said to total 4.3GW of both under construction or financially committed projects – the report says the most significant to get underway in 2022 was Acciona’s 923MW MacIntrye facility, which combines with CleanCo’s 103MW Karara Wind Farm to make Australia’s first giga-scale wind project.

Victoria, too, gets a shout out for having several significant wind projects in development, including the 756MW stage one of the Golden Plains development in Rokewood.

Among the solar projects underway are the 400MW Western Downs Green Power Hub in Queensland which and the first stage of the New England Solar Farm, which will also have a 400MW capacity.

Australia is also gearing up in the race to build more battery energy storage to store renewable energy capacity and help balance the grid.

According to the report, a total of 19 big battery projects were under construction at the end of 2022 – which is considerably less than the 30 underway at the end of 2021, but still works out at a higher total energy storage capacity.

This confirms that Australia’s big battery projects are getting bigger, with the 19 projects underway or committed at the end of 2022 totalling 1380MW and 2004MWh of approximate combined capacity, compared to 921MW/1169MWh for 30 projects at the end of 2021.

The largest of the 19 newly underway projects are the 250MW/250MWh Torrens Island Battery in South Australia and the 200MW/400MWh Western Downs Green Power Hub in Queensland.

And on all fronts, the money is still coming in. The CEC report shows that the final quarter of 2022 saw investment
in financially committed generation and storage projects reach $4.29 billion, the second-highest quarterly result since CEC data collection began in 2017.

Year-to-year investment was also up 17 per cent on 2021, with $6.2 billion in 2022.

via RenewEconomy

Categories: Energy