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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has recorded record wind and solar farm investment growth in Victoria during 2020.

1,146MW of new renewable projects were registered for connection into the National Electricity Market (NEM) in 2020.

Across all states in the NEM last year, 32 projects totalling nearly 3,301MW completed registration. These projects equate to approximately 5.8 per cent of current NEM generation capacity.

AEMO’s Chief Systems Design Officer, Dr Alex Wonhas, said that AEMO sees no sign of this accelerated growth in renewables slowing to slow.

“We’ve seen registrations of new wind and solar projects in Victoria more than double from 467MW in 2019 to 1,146MW in 2020, despite the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic and the issues in the West Murray zone,” Dr Wonhas said.

“We expect registrations to further increase in 2021, with 2,000 MW of new wind, solar and battery storage projects forecast.”

AEMO recently published its State of the System newsletter, capturing new projects connected in the NEM, which has a total generation capacity of 57,499MW. A further 300 generation and storage projects, totalling 55,000MW, are currently proposed across the NEM.

Victoria has the strongest connection pipeline of any NEM state with 32,800MW across 131 projects in the connection pipeline. This is 80 per cent more capacity than the next biggest state, New South Wales, with 8,100MW across 52 projects that are in the application or completion process.

Projects due for registration in the short term include the 530MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, one of Australia’s largest wind farms.

“For some time now, AEMO has been working closely with Goldwind Australia to overcome the issues that have prevented the registration of Stockyard Hill Wind Farm,” Dr Wonhas said.

“This significant collaboration is now seeing an agreed, well-defined plan being implemented to address the specific issues and achieve registration and commissioning of this wind farm in the coming months.”

Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, like all new generation sources connecting to the NEM, will play an important role in enabling the transformation of Australia’s energy system.

“Based on the pipeline of registered and commissioned renewable projects, we’re well ahead of the 2020 Integrated System Plan’s ‘step change’ scenario which would see more than 90 per cent renewable penetration, including rooftop solar PV, by 2040,” Dr Wonhas said.

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