South Australia on target to reach 30% renewable energy

11 July 2013

LONDON: Around 29% of South Australian energy came from renewables in 2012, data from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows, and the numbers are set to continue growing.

On top of these positive figures, once Snowtown II, a 90-turbine extension of South Australia's original Snowtown wind farm, is fully operational, the state will be able to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable power sources.

The data demonstrates how quickly renewable energy can effectively contribute to a region’s power supply. Less than fifteen years ago the state relied solely on fossil fuels, yet today it is on target to reach its ambitious aim of 33% renewable energy by 2020, having already surpassed the national target of 20% renewable by 2020.


Wind energy is a major contributor to South Australia’s renewable power output; it currently supplies a quarter of the state’s electricity.

Snowtown is a prime example of this wind leadership. As Australia’s second largest wind farm it is able to generate enough electricity for 70,000 Australian homes.

When Snowtown II is opened in late 2014 the site will be capable of generating a further 270 megawatts of renewable power. Trust Power, the owner of Snowtown, says the site will supply 40% of the state’s electricity by 2020.

Solar energy is also steadily improving its share of the renewable market. In 2005, solar power was essentially non-existent, but now it accounts for 3.5% of all electricity produced in the state.


South Australia is leading the way in achieving the country’s overall Renewable Energy Target (RET). This goal is divided into two parts: The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

The Australian Government states that the two schemes:

  • Encourage the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources
  • Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector
  • Ensure that renewable energy sources are ecologically sustainable

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group said: “South Australia’s success in transforming its electricity sector over the last decade is testament to what sub-national governments can achieve with a bold vision and committed leadership.

"With climate change set to be a key point of discussion in the upcoming federal elections, South Australia’s achievements should provide inspiration for business and political leaders in the rest of the country to follow."

Read the AEMO research.

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By Alana Ryan

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