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Australian Renewable Energy Market Update – March 2024

27 Mar 2024

Octopus’ Darlington Point Solar Farm welcomes 750 sheep onto site

750 sheep have been released for grazing at Octopus’ Darlington Point Solar Farm, another strong demonstration of how renewable power generation and agriculture are compatible in Australia. The livestock will be rotated through the 2,000 acre site, allowing efficient management of the grasses around the farm. Darlington Point Solar Farm becomes one of many wind and solar farms in the National Electricity Market (NEM) that maintains agriculture around generation equipment; the practice, commonly known as ‘agrisolar or ‘agrivoltaics’ when paired with solar, offers multiple benefits for both graziers and generators. The shading provided by solar panels is attractive to sheep, allowing protection from the sun and rain. In return the sheep clear vegetation from often hard to reach areas of the farm, reducing time intensive requirements for mowing and pesticide treatment. Octopus Investments Australia continues to explore opportunities to deploy agricultural practices around its portfolio.

Federal government releases Capacity Investment Scheme design paper

In early March, the Federal Government released its Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) design paper and commenced industry consultation. The scheme is the major federal policy to support achieving the government’s goal of 82% renewable electricity by 2030. It is designed to support 23GW of renewable generation and 9GW of clean dispatchable capacity – $52 billion and $15 billion of new investment respectively. The design paper sets out the plan for a series of competitive auctions, occurring every six months from the middle of 2024 to 2027, to ensure sufficient capacity is deployed by 2030. Through the ‘National Energy Transformation Partnership’, the Federal Government will work with the states and territories to identify their unique requirements and allocate the program’s capacity. Future tenders will build upon feedback from the initial CIS supported tenders. These include additional support for the NSW Long-Term Energy Service Agreement (LTESA) Firming Infrastructure tender, which supported 480MW of clean dispatchable capacity, and the pilot SA/VIC dispatchable tender, the outcome of which is expected to be known by mid-year. 

Clean Energy Council releases 2024 report

The Clean Energy Council recently released its latest annual report, which provides a summary of the clean energy sector in Australia and its progress and achievements in the preceding year. The main findings for 2023 showed a strong year for rooftop solar and utility scale storage, with some concern over a slowdown in new financial commitments for large scale generation. Pleasingly, the year saw a record 5.9GW of new renewable capacity, with 3.1GW from rooftop solar and 2.8GW of utility scale wind and solar generation. This compares to the almost 6GW per year of utility scale generation modelled to be required to meet the government’s 82% renewable electricity target by 2030. Moving forward however, the report highlights growing federal and state government action, which combined with increased industry involvement, should stimulate investment in the sector to new highs over the coming years.

Did you know?

Over 30% of Australian households now have rooftop solar, with a combined capacity exceeding 11GW.