In Australia, the renewable energy market has been booming; with investments, loans and government policy all driving growth in this industry. Investments in clean energy technologies increased by 147 percent in 2017, and more recently, Australia became one of the leading investment markets in this sector. In terms of government policy, the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme have both contributed to the influx of green power capacity. The former encourages investment in renewable power stations to achieve 33 thousand gigawatt-hours of additional renewable electricity generation by 2020, while the latter financially incentivizes individuals and small businesses to install small-scale renewable energy systems.
Hydropower, wind power, solar photovoltaic (PV) energy and bioenergy all lead the renewables segment of the energy generation market in Australia. The country's diverse regional landscapes and climates contribute to the varying mix of energy sources dominating each region. South Australia is suited to wind power generation, while solar is predominant in the eastern states, with the highest capacities of solar installed in Queensland and New South Wales respectively.
Consumers in particular have been receptive to greener forms of energy, with almost 50 percent of Australians stating that they would consider installing solar panels and battery storage in their households. Despite the popularity of solar power, Australian consumers overestimated the use of renewable energy sources in their country by twelve percent, indicating they have high expectations for the renewables market in their country.
The future of renewable energy in Australia is bright. If the country were to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, solar PV plants and onshore wind farms would account for the majority of energy generated. Furthermore, the forecasted size of the solar energy market is expected to contribute around 1.3 gigawatts of power to the Australian energy industry by 2020, as long as infrastructure development in this sector continues at its current pace.