The data is an encouraging sign for the Clean Energy Council (CEC), which has expressed concerns that investment in large-scale renewables in Australia was on the decline. The shifted
Last year, the peak body flagged waning investment in large-scale projects as cause for alarm – noting financial commitments in the utility segment in 2021 equated to just 2.11 GW, down from 3.16 GW in 2020.
This bearish trend shifted in 2022 however, with 4.3 GW of large-scale capacity achieving a final investment decision. That amounts to a growth of roughly 50%.
Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the “majority of this increase was after the May 2022 federal election, “which proves renewable investors are responding positively to the Albanese government’s strong emissions reduction targets and know that Australia is back open for business in clean energy.”
While Bowen is lauding the numbers as a sign of what’s to come under the new government, utility-scale forecasts from solar and storage analyst Sunwiz are more downbeat.
While founder Warwick Johnston agrees 2022 was the best year to date for Australia’s utility segment, Sunwiz is predicting 2023 to be its “probable worst.”
There is currently 2.2 GW of large-scale capacity under construction, according to Sunwiz data – less than half of the 4.9 GW recorded in January 2021. “This means 2023 is likely to be a far leaner year for solar farm completion – quite possibly its worst since the before commencement of solar farm mass rollout in 2018,” Sunwiz concluded in its 2023 Annual SunWiz Australian PV Report.
As dreary as that sounds, there is of course a lag between decisions, financial close, construction and ultimately connection in large-scale projects so while the investment boost in 2022 might not lead to a bumper 2023, it should certainly change the forecasts for 2024 and beyond.
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