Yesterday energy consultants EnergyQuest broke the news that wind power supplied 31% of South Australia’s electricity in the last quarter.
Solar panels added another 3.5% to put renewable energy’s share in that state well above coal (26%) and getting close to gas (39.5%).
31% wind energy is up from 21% 12 months ago. Just six years ago, the contribution of wind in South Australia was close to zero.
Beyond Zero Emissions spokesperson Matthew Wright says the findings vindicate his group’s controversial Zero Carbon Australia plan, which outlines a transition to 100% renewable energy in ten years.
“The message this sends is that Australia can rapidly reduce its high fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, over ten years, not the commonly suggested 2050 date for serious emissions reduction targets.
“Our plan has wind providing 40% of the annual energy of Australia, and making that transition in ten years. Clearly, progress in South Australia shows that we aren’t being so radical after all. Maybe our 40% was conservative: SA are nearly there already, and still adding more wind capacity.
“If we combine the variable output of wind farms with a flexible, dispatchable renewable energy source we can abandon fossil fuels altogether. Modern solar thermal plants, that can run around the clock off stored heat can do this.
“We are helping to develop a plan for the first such plants to replace the coal power stations at Port Augusta.
“Wind energy has proven it is up for the task. We just need to get the right policy such as a feed-in tariff to support the newer solar thermal plants, and Australia can kick its fossil fuel habit for good.”