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Why growth is slow in renewable energy

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) recently released to its members the quarterly renewable projects report, which showed only one renewable project, Stubbo solar farm, reached financial close in Q3 – 2022. Investment in renewables is at an all-time low where quarterly investment has dropped almost 60% to $418M. As well as project growth which has slowed by almost 30%, compared to Q2 -2022 and over 60% lower than Q3- 2021.

While politicians are talking up the prospects of a renewable energy driven industry to reduce the impact of climate change, the reality is, reaching the 44GW target outlined by the federal government may be hard to achieve at the current rate of growth.

A significant number of new wind, solar and storage projects need to come online. If these projects do not come online the retiring coal generators cannot be replaced and may be forced to remain in action.

While only one renewable project in Australia reached financial close last quarter, two projects completed commissioning and three new projects started construction during Q3- 2022. Currently there are 247 financially committed renewable projects in Australia, with 221 under construction and 169 undergoing commissioning.

The CEC notes that the desire to build new solar, wind, pumped hydro and transmission lines is meeting opposition from by local communities. Some examples being, Chalumbin wind farm in North Queensland is now reducing the number of planned wind turbines it is installing by half,due to the concerns from the local community. There are also concerns for the largest pump storage hydro project that the Queensland Government is planning to construct near Mackay, after locals have discovered the mega project has the potential to flood a local town.

With ambitious renewable targets being spruced by politicians and businesses actively seeking renewable energy to aid in the decarbonisation of their operations, the question of where and when these projects will be delivered need to be asked. The majority of people support the transition to renewables but obviously not in their own backyard.