Renewables set a new benchmark as the only fuel to record an increase in demand as overall energy demand dropped because of COVID-19, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report.
The Global Energy Review 2021 found that renewable energy use increased by 3 per cent in 2020 as it increased its share in the global energy mix to 29 per cent, up 2 per cent from 2019.
The report attributed this to an almost 7 per cent growth in electricity generation from renewable sources.
It said that renewable energy generation was set to expand by more than 8 per cent in 2021.
According to IEA executive director Fatih Birol, this came at a time when global carbon emissions were set to jump in 2021 driven by the resurgence of coal use in the power sector.
“This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the COVID crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate,” Mr Birol said.
“Unless governments around the world move rapidly to start cutting emissions, we are likely to face an even worse situation in 2022.”
In Western Australia, a record 300 megawatts of small-scale solar was taken up in 2020, transforming the State’s electricity system and presenting challenges and opportunities for how it produced, managed, and consumed energy.
The Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap, released last year, outlined a five-year path to achieving a future where DER was integral to a safe, reliable and efficient electricity system.
In the past year, implementation of the Roadmap saw the installation of 10 PowerBanks, the commencement of a tariff pilot that rewarded greater consumption of solar energy, and the progression of Project Symphony, a trial to test the coordination of solar panels and batteries to act as a virtual power plant.
Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the Roadmap was a key element in the Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy to ensure WA’s power system was ready for the growing uptake of renewable energy.
“The Government is committed to progressing our State towards a cleaner, greener energy future and ensuring renewable energy sources are supported by our grid,” he said.
Energy Transformation Taskforce Chair Stephen Edwell said that while challenges presented by DER were being managed, more work was needed.
“Continued vigilance and the full implementation of the Energy Transformation Strategy is needed to ensure the safe and efficient operation of our energy system,” he said.
In addition to the Roadmap, the Government committed $218 million to provide more than 1,000 standalone power systems in regional WA and a $57.4 million investment into renewable technology as part of the WA Recovery Plan.