Australia’s big clean energy build hits unprecedented record highs in 2022

Kane Thornton, Chief Executive at Clean Energy Council
Kane Thornton, Chief Executive at Clean Energy Council

The latest edition of the Clean Energy Australia Report reveals that the Australian renewable energy industry commenced construction on over 5000 MW of large-scale wind and solar farms in 2022 – the highest year for new renewable construction commitments on record.

What were the Clean Energy Australia Report findings?

Investors are also responding to the need for more energy storage, with 19 large-scale battery projects under construction, with combined capacity of those projects (1380 MW/2004 MWh) significantly higher than the previous year (921 MW/1169 MWh).

Renewable energy accounted for 35.9% of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2022, up from 32.5% in 2021. Australia has more than doubled the amount of renewable energy since 2017 when renewable energy accounted for just 16.9% of total electricity generation.

Key stats from the Clean Energy Australia 2023 Report:

  • 2257 MW of new large-scale renewable generation capacity completed construction and was added to the grid across 20 projects.

  • The rooftop solar sector added 2.7 GW of new capacity from 310,352 households and small businesses.

  • 4.6 GW of onshore wind projects either commenced construction or were financially committed.

  • 1380 MW/2004 MWh of large-scale batteries were under construction at the end of 2022, a significant increase in capacity compared to 2021: 921 MW/1169 MWh.

  • Year-to-year investment in the clean energy industry for large-scale projects rose 17% from 2021, at $6.2 billion in 2022.
  • 28 renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) were finalised in 2022, directly contracting around 1600 MW – the largest volume since the emergence of corporate PPAs in 2016.

What were the executive thoughts on the report?

“There’s significant cause for optimism at a time when ageing fossil fuel-based generators are retiring. Large-scale clean energy investment reached $6.2 billion in 2022, a 17% increase from 2021. The final quarter of 2022 saw investment in financially committed large-scale generation and storage projects reach $4.29 billion, the second-highest quarterly result since data collection began in 2017,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

“Australia’s energy mix will now be the beneficiary of greater policy clarity, with climate change and the clean energy transition areas of genuine focus federally, with sensible and ambitious policies. However, we cannot take the sustained growth of renewable energy for granted. To reach the Federal Government’s renewable energy generation target of 82% by 2030, the pace of deployment for new large-scale projects needs to at least double.”