Report highlights growth in Australian renewables in 2022

Out-Law Analysis | 25 May 2023 | 1:42 am | 2 min. read

Over 5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity was installed in Australia in 2022, according to a new report.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC), which is Australia’s renewable energy industry body, has published its annual Clean Energy Australia Report for 2023 (39-page/8.82MB PDF), providing a useful overview of the Australian renewable energy landscape in 2023. The report provides insight on generation and energy storage projects including new projects, total investment and capacity of projects.

According to the report, over 5GW of new renewable capacity was installed in 2022, made up of 2.7GW from rooftop solar and 2.3GW from large scale projects. Renewable energy provided for 35.9% of Australia's total electricity generation in 2022, up from 32.5% in 2021.

Dorgan Tim

Tim Dorgan


The report and the commentary from the CEC demonstrate a great sense of positivity and optimism within the industry’s peak body on the drive of Australia’s transition to clean energy.

Key findings

Construction began on over 5GW of wind and solar farms in Australia in 2022 according to the report – the highest year for new renewable construction commitments on record.  The majority of the 5GW growth in renewable energy capacity came from rooftop solar (2.7GW) rather than large-scale projects (2,257 megawatts).

While the rate of growth in rooftop solar slowed in 2022 from 2021, this technology now accounts for over a quarter (25.8%) of total Australian renewable generation for the first time. This is because of rising prices, unusually poor weather in a number of states and supply chain issues - however, rapidly soaring energy prices throughout the year has renewed consumer interest in solar installations as a way to offset high energy prices for households.

The large-scale renewable energy industry added 2,257 megawatts (MW) of new capacity in 2022 from a total of 20 completed projects, including 11 solar farms and seven wind farms. The wind sector contributed the highest amount of new large-scale capacity, with approximately 1,411MW, while large-scale solar contributed 860MW. The largest completed wind project in Australia was the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria, at 532MW, while the largest solar project completed was the Suntop Solar Farm in Queensland, at 150MW. By the end of 2022, a total of 72 large-scale projects were under construction, 48 of which are solar and 21 are wind.

Tim Dorgan of Pinsent Masons said: “The continued growth in installed capacity and projects reaching financial close sets a favourable tone for the future of renewable energy in Australia and our transition in pursuit of the federal government’s ambition of 82% renewables by 2030, and similar targets set by state governments. Meeting these targets will require levels of government and private investment in large-scale renewable energy projects to continue in order to meet targets by 2030.”

Other notable findings

Interest in Australia’s potential as a hydrogen powerhouse opportunity has continued and, as at the end of 2022, over 100 projects have been publicly announced as being in development. Commitment in the private sector has accelerated, with large global players buying into projects such as the proposed 26GW Australian Renewable Energy Hub, in which BP now has a 40.5% stake.

Other significant private sector announcements in 2022 include a proposed A$20 billion green hydrogen project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin and a potential A$50bn deal to produce up to 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen by Fortescue Future Industries in Gladstone, Queensland.

Generation from hydropower increased modestly from 16,128 GWh in 2021 to 16,537 GWh, representing an increase from 7% of Australia’s electricity generation in 2021 to 7.1% in 2022.

The Queensland government committed a further A$203.5 million in new funding (A$273.5mn in total) in August 2023 to Borumba Dam and a newly announced project the Pioneer-Burkedin Pumped Hydro. This project will deliver 5GW of renewable energy generation capacity, making it bigger than the Snowy 2.0 renewable energy project and the world’s largest pumped hydro scheme, intended to be delivered by 2035.

Co-written by Benjamin Mann of Pinsent Masons.

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