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Clean energy boom in Australia set to provide a third of power needs by 2021

02 Aug 11:00 by Steve Walia

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Data analysts have said that clean energy sources are set to provide a third of Australia's total needs for electricity by 2021, demonstrating how solar energy, in particular, is revolutionising the country's national electricity markets.

Energy consultancy, Green Energy Markets, looked at how new builds of commercial-scale solar farms and rooftop solar PV systems were already in a position to push clean energy to cover more than a third of Australia's total generation - breaking several records for doing so in June, in the middle of the country's winter.

In June, 22% of electricity was generated from solar, hydro and wind sources. At one point, just under 40% of the electricity being generated in the system was coming from clean energy sources.

An analyst from the consultancy said that the growth of clean power would continue over the short term, with several key projects already in development and waiting to come online. However, he added that the current boom phase might show some signs of slowing as government policy was currently doing nothing to stimulate further investment.

He said that up to 50% of energy in the coming 12 months would be generated by clean sources but that new projects would soon stop coming online. The Clean Energy Regulator has also found that Australia's 2020 renewable energy target will be met by existing projects in the pipeline, which equates to around a quarter of the country's total energy needs. Much of this recent investment has been driven by government subsidies, designed to meet the target. 

However, with solar power now at a level where wholesale prices were lowering from excess supply, further large-scale investments seem unlikely without incentives to make them financially attractive.