Renewables generate enough to power 70% of the country

The new Australian Renewable Energy Index, launched on Monday, has revealed Australia produced enough renewable energy last year to power 7.1 million homes or 70 per cent of all households in the country.

The Renewable Energy Index 2016-2017 Benchmark Report was released by energy market analyst Green Energy Markets and GetUp.

Every month, an index will be published so Australians can track the state of the renewable energy industry, including the jobs it provides as well as environmental impacts.

The first report found renewable energy is on the way to producing as much power as Australian households consume.

Between July 2016 and June 2017, renewable energy made up 17.2 per cent of the electricity generated in Australia.

The amount of renewable energy used last financial year avoided an amount of carbon pollution equal to removing 8.1 million cars from the road.

The report also revealed the recent boom in construction of large-scale renewables is employing thousands of people, with 46 large-scale renewable energy projects under construction at the end of 2016-17.

“These projects are estimated to create enough jobs to employ 8868 people full-time for a year (in other words, 8868 job-years of employment),” the report said.

“NSW is in the lead, gaining the largest number at 3018, mostly from the construction of new wind farms.

“Queensland is in second place with 2625 job years, with 70 per cent flowing from solar farm construction and the remainder from wind farms. Rooftop solar is making a big impact.”

Green Energy Markets director of analysis and advisory Tristan Edis said large-scale solar was expected to grow substantially in the next year as construction costs have come down.

“The thing that’s concerning is that really, we’re in a boom right now but in 12 months time it looks like a bust,” he said.

Mr Edis said the renewable energy target, which is set to finish in 2020, had encouraged the boom.

Unless a new target is adopted, such as the clean energy target recommended by the Finkel report, Mr Edis said growth in renewable energy won’t continue.