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$5.2bn invested in clean energy during 2013: report

30 June, 2014

Findings from a report released last week (23 June) by the Clean Energy Council show that $5.2 billion was invested in clean energy during the 2013 calendar year, the third successive year that domestic investment has been more than $5 billion.

"Last year saw another year of steady growth for solar power and wind energy in Australia, despite sustained uncertainty about the key policy settings for the sector. Australia's renewable energy potential is massive, but we have so much more to do to fully unlock it," Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green said.

"The Clean Energy Australia 2013 Report shows that the industry contributed more than $5 billion of investment to the economy each year for the past three years and 21,000 jobs. Much of this economic activity was in regional areas where it is badly needed.

"This report shows that this is an industry poised to unlock tens of billions of dollars in investment, if the national Renewable Energy Target remains in place following the current review process."

Green said analysis by ROAM Consulting for the Clean Energy Council showed that power prices will actually be lower by the end of the decade if the Renewable Energy Target was left in place than under a scenario in which it was removed.

"This is because without the Renewable Energy Target we would need to get more of our electricity from gas, which the Australian Industry Group and the New South Wales government predict may as much as triple in cost this decade," he said.

"The Clean Energy Australia Report 2013 shows what the Renewable Energy Target has already achieved.

"All it needs now is to be left alone to do the rest of its job. With the right policy settings for a stable investment environment, clean energy will help Australia's economy go from strength to strength."

Key results from the Clean Energy Australia 2013 report:

  • $5.2 billion was invested in clean energy during the calendar year, the third successive year that domestic investment has been more than $5 billion.
  • Almost 1.25 million solar power systems were installed at the end of 2013, meaning more than 3.1 million Australians now live or work beneath a set of solar panels.
  • Renewable energy produced 14.76 per cent of Australia's electricity in 2013 – enough to power the equivalent of almost 5 million homes. While hydro had an extremely strong year, wind and solar power use also grew to record levels.
  • Approximately 21,000 people were employed by the renewable energy industry at the end of 2013. This is several thousand fewer than the year before, mainly due to a contraction in the market for household solar power.
  • The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere, the Macarthur Wind Farm, opened in 2013. In total, Australia's 1639 wind turbines across the country provided enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1.3 million homes.
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Marti Moran | Monday, June 30, 2014, 11:27 AM
There is no mention in the article on what percentage of the $5.2 billion invested in clean energy was funded or subsidized by the tax payers of Australia. When all the clean energy projects can stand on their own two feet and can compete with other forms of electricity generation 24 hours a day then they can pat themselves on the back and take credit for a job well done.
Klaus Zimmer | Monday, June 30, 2014, 11:52 AM
The Australian taxpayers are also subsidising the traditional oil, coal and gas fired power stations, as well as the resource extracting industries.
Martin Moran | Monday, June 30, 2014, 12:07 PM
I would like to see references to the subsidies so we can check out that claim.
LEON ERNST | Monday, June 30, 2014, 12:31 PM
There seems to be a reluctance to produce credible energy equations. for example: How many tons of coal is burnt to make a wind generator? How many days/months/years is required to recover this energy input before we are generating "Green Energy"? likewise for solar panels. This is the coal equivalent of a system. There is no mention of mirror/solar systems yet these can generate and store energy and have a low coal equivalent input and can be built close to the point of consumption. When we can address our hysterical fear of nuclear systems, both the Uranium and in particular the Thorium cycles, then we may see real progress not marginal incremental political warm and fuzzy solutions. Paying a premium on our bills for "green energy" is worse than the Carbon Dioxide tax. I have no interest in who's money is spent so long as there is a real return to society. for the first 200 years all electricity generation and distribution was public.
Goldie | Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 5:46 PM
The constant ratcheting up of power prices with no credible evidence as to why has set in motion a significant shift in how we generate energy in the future. Owners of power companies have been too greedy for too long and despite most exiting feed in tariffs there will be a continuing shift to solar by domestic, commercial and industrial users. The price of solar systems has come down by 50-75% so the payback time even without feed in are very short, in fact I would not bother with grid connect if I was doing it today. Anyone who has been shafted by a government should disconnect from the grid forthwith, don't give the bastards anything so they can on-sell it for 28c kW/hr. Not sure about all the wild claims about more jobs though as the simple fact is we are too expensive to make almost anything here that's why so many have moved off shore and most of the solar/wind components are from overseas.
Chris Buck | Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 12:04 PM
Manufacturing companies such as foundries are forced to install or hire diesel generators to power their induction furnaces due to the high maximum demands tarrifs. These furnaces many of them up to 1000 kWs. As the Australian manufacturing business declines foundries cannot afford to switch on their larger furnaces and then pay a maximum demand tarrif for the whole month even though they use the power for only 6 hours per month. These foundries now simply higher a diesel generator for the days they need and save big $. Diesel generator business is flourishing. The government and power companies do not have a clue about what is going on our side their office.
Martin Moran | Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 2:01 PM
Sadly the previous government did not want to listen to the generating industry when they were setting up the renewable power industry and made a lot of promises about green power and how it would generate lots of employment etc. Nobody in their right mind would build a power station today in Australia with all the constraints placed upon the generating industry. If anyone things that the investment of billions of dollars for a major base load station will make you a big return is deluding them selves. Better to invest the money in fixed deposit and get a bigger return. I am glad that I am totally off grid and too far away to use it anyway and use solar panels and battery banks that I paid for myself. No subsidy thank you. The cost of electricity will continue to rise as more people use subsidized power systems or as is happening in the USA now where you have to pay for the power and be connected to the grid. Read the recent court case in the USA. Pay for the grid or be evicted and your house sold up to pay for your share of the distribution grid.