Wind and solar are delivering an energy transition at record speed

Solar panel field.

By: Giles Parkinson

As Australia’s federal Coalition and the Murdoch media intensify their calls for nuclear to replace the country’s ageing coal fired generators, thereby ensuring that the switch to renewables is halted and climate action delayed, it is worth reminding ourselves exactly how quickly wind and solar can do the job.

As RenewEconomy has noted, South Australia has shone the light for the rest of the country on the path to renewables, achieving an average 82 per cent share for wind and solar over the entire December quarter.

That’s a world record share for a grid of this size, and an achievement that proves the technology doubters wrong. If it can be done at gigawatt scale, it can be done elsewhere.

Australia has a national target of 82 per cent renewables (including hydro) by 2030, set by the federal Labor government, and backed by strong state targets.

Whether that target will be met in time will depend on a number of factors, including social license, transmission, grid connections, supply chains and a bunch of regulatory and market factors. But South Australia has already responded to the “can it be done” question.

Nat Bullard is one of the world’s leading clean energy analysts, having spent more than two decades at BNEF before going it alone late last year, and he recently released his annual presentation on the state of decarbonization around the world.

It is a fascinating and worthwhile read. And I’ve highlighted just five of his 200 graphs that caught my eye because of what they tell about the story of wind and solar and the pace – real and potential – of the green energy revolution, and why conservatives and their fossil fuel pay masters are so upset about it.

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