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Australian Renewable Energy Market Update – February 2024

29 Feb 2024

Storms drive chaos in Victoria’s electricity system

On February 13, intense storms caused damage across Victoria’s transmission and distribution networks and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power, with some areas out for days. Whilst localised damage to the distribution network caused the majority of the outages, perhaps the most striking images from the day were the collapsed high voltage transmission lines in the state’s west. This damage triggered a chain of events, including the tripping of the Loy Yang A brown coal fired power station in Gippsland, which in turn caused forced disconnection of customers throughout the state and sent the Victorian spot price soaring. Whilst there was also significant curtailment of renewable plants, with the significant reduction in brown coal generation, the day saw renewables provide over 50% of supply in Victoria, the highest contribution for the month. Preliminary reports into the events of the day have been released by the Australian Energy Market Operator, with more detailed reports, and a Victorian Government initiated inquiry, expected in the months ahead.

Australia’s new fuel emission standards a boost for EVs and distributed energy resources

The Australian Government’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standard, which encourages car suppliers to import more fuel efficient vehicles, is expected to deliver a reduction of 369 million tonnes of CO2 by 2050. With emissions from the electricity sector quickly declining with the increase in renewable penetration, transport emissions are forecast to become the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if nothing is done. Together with the Driving the Nation Fund and National EV Charging Network, the policies are aimed at increasing Australia’s uptake of EVs to those seen globally, and aligning the Australian fleet by the end of the 2020s. EVs are expected to play an increasingly important role in the electricity system, providing a source of flexible load and acting as behind the meter batteries capable of responding to energy market signals to support the grid.

Power Purchase Agreements off to a strong start in 2024

With 2023 seeing the highest ever volume of renewable energy contracting, the market’s appetite for renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) continues to grow into 2024, with two major deals struck to start the year. Rio Tinto, one of Australia’s largest energy users, signed a 25 year wind PPA with a Queensland wind farm, and Equinix, one of the largest data centre providers in the world, signed its first Asia-Pacific PPA with a wind farm in Victoria. With resources and data centres expected to drive significant demand for green electricity in Australia, these deals highlight the growing market opportunities for renewable PPAs. Such deals are crucial to support the development and construction of the renewable capacity required to meet Australia’s ambitious 82% renewable by 2030 target and meet its emissions goals.

Meet the Manager with Zenith Investment Partners

Watch our CEO, Sam Reynolds chat to Zenith’s Head of Responsible Investment and Sustainability, Dugald Higgins, about our Octopus Australia Renewable Opportunities Fund (OREO) and find out what makes our approach to renewable energy investment unique.1

Did you know?

The global addition of renewable capacity increased by almost 50% in 2023, the fastest growth rate in the past 20 years.

1This video has been prepared for AFSL holders and wholesale clients only. By continuing to watch this video you are confirming that you either hold an AFSL or are a wholesale client. For more information regarding Zenith research please go to

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